Carrier Strike is probably as close to a being a text game as any graphics game released. There are graphics but nothing more than basic icon-on-map bare essentials. That may sound like a bad thing but in reality it's not since Carrier Strike more than makes up for that shortcoming by offering intense and detailed game play. The game is based on a fairly simple premise: have your carriers kick the stuffing out of their carriers. But the rub here is that in order to do that, you've got to find their carriers first. In a decidedly cat-and-mouse fashion, each day that dawns on the high seas of the South Pacific will find you desperately searching through bad weather, rough conditions or simply the enormous body of water to just locate the enemy before any sort of military action can take place. If you're an expert who knows the historically correct Japanese hiding spots, the designer has seen you coming and offers a random enemy placement option to keep you guessing.
What makes Carrier Strike a challenging game, though, is the balancing act you'll be required to perform as the area commander over all the actions a carrier is capable of during war. Eventually, once you've found your targets, you'll quickly find yourself hip deep in the dizzying tasks of assigning combat air patrols for defense of your task force, managing weapons load-outs and fueling of various types of aircraft, giving orders for searches or air attacks, monitoring other ships and generally just holding the whole ball of wax together. All of this is accomplished through a turn-based system where each turn equals twenty minutes of real time. This becomes a factor in some operations and can lead to confusion or wasted blocks of time if your coordination skills are lacking. The hardware in Carrier Strike mirrors the actual weaponry, ships and planes that were used in the South Pacific during WWII. Outside influences such as the introduction of better radar and the slow decline of the enemy's pilot efficiency are realistically phased in during the game. Fortunately, the interface is fairly simple and easy to use since you'll need all your time coordinating events.
Ultimately, Carrier Strike will appeal to those war gamers who bask in statistics and a realistically based war machine. Those looking for flashy graphics and killer cut scenes won't find them here. Be prepared for a logistical and strategic exercise when in command of your Carrier Strike. Fast thinking and calm nerves will be a plus when faced with operating elevators bringing aircraft up to the deck while under heavy enemy fire and at the same time coordinating their missile and bomb loads, take off and mission orders. Selecting the appropriate aircraft and weapons based on what your search planes find requires precise scheduling and prompt decision making. Carrier Strike offers an accurate, enjoyable simulation of carrier warfare in the South Pacific.
Graphics: Bare essentials.
Sound: Fortunately it's not a requirement for decision making.
Enjoyment: If you can get involved with the tough coordination requirements and enjoy controlling nearly 100 factually based aircraft, you'll like Carrier Strike's attention to detail along with the ships, weapons and mapping. Some may think it's too detail oriented.
Replay Value: Once you nail down the game play, the option to change strategies or tactics along with the randomly placed enemy forces keeps the game fresh.
Carrier Strike simulates naval-air battles in the South Pacific during WWII. Carrier Strike can be used to recreate historical battles or random-historical battles (battles that could have happened at a particular time). The Campaign Game allows you to complete one battle and jump immediately into a new battle. Ships sunk or badly damaged in one battle will be unavailable for the next battle. The Campaign Game allows one battle per month from May 1942 to June 1944. In Carrier Strike you issue movement orders to friendly task forces (TF's) and direct the Flight Operations on your carriers. Flight operations consist of selecting ordance for bombers; moving aircraft from the hangar to the flight deck; launching aircraft on CAP, search and strike missions; and selecting or changing strike targets.
Gary Grigsby's updated version of Carrier Force, it did not have the graphic capabilities of [SSG's] Carriers at War II, but it did have a campaign option. While I considered this to be a worthwhile option, I do have to admit that my then-fifteen year old son would not even bother booting this up, although he was fascinated with Carriers at War. In summary, I would recommend this to the grognard, while Carriers at War has more appeal to the MTV generation.
People who downloaded Carrier Strike: South Pacific have also downloaded:
Gary Grigsby's Pacific War (2000), Carriers at War 2, Allied General, Pacific General, Civil War Generals 2, Close Combat, Gary Grigsby's World At War, Harpoon II: Admiral's Edition
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