Quantum Quality Productions has launched yet another combat simulator on the high seas of computer naval warfare with their release of The Grandest Fleet. The game is detail intensive as many of their titles are and rewards the war gamer who can weather the indoctrination period and graduate to comfortable game play status. The learning curve, if you're not familiar with earlier games from the developers, can be daunting and appear at times to require too much of a time investment to absorb the complex rules and hefty database of the program. Unfortunately, the slightly less than chaotic arrangement of the manual, although chock full of helpful information, can make finding answers to specific questions difficult. In this case, however, a deal of patience will be worthwhile for the player interested in simulating World War II style combat.
The Grandest Fleet contains an enormous amount of historically accurate information and manages to impart the feeling of naval command to the player, along with all the associated headaches and excitement that accompany it. There are nine major scenarios with the option to tie some together as part of a full campaign. Additionally, the inclusion of a random map generator goes a long way towards ensuring replay value as does the modem support for a two player game. The premise of the game is a bit different from many of the naval war games on the market in that the underlying victory conditions revolve around the capture and maintenance of cities and the construction of new ones. Features in the The Grandest Fleet have been spruced up somewhat from QQP's earlier efforts and include many new and interesting aspects of waging war. For example, air support is now an option for carriers, city defenses are beefed up and there is a more realistic approach to the resource support factor dealing with outfitting task forces. A significant economic model is built into the game that creates a great grass roots feeling of support by the cities with attention given to hospitals, shipyards, airports and so forth.
All the normal items associated with naval warfare are included in The Grandest Fleet, ranging from multiple ship types to realistic support and communications. There is even a logical hierarchical system in place that impacts the acquisition of new equipment gained through construction (e.g., need money to pay shipyard to build a ship). The interface in the game is extremely easy to use with support for both mouse and keyboard shortcuts for the many menus that pop up during game play. Of particular note, is the better than average graphics (especially SVGA resolutions) that present tables, graphs, maps, icons and short animations of war-like reactions such as explosions or flying aircraft. Tie in a mood-setting musical background and terrific sound effects and you've got a real winner, namely The Grandest Fleet.
Graphics: Beautifully rendered SVGA shots of mission maps, smooth and realistic animations of weapons and equipment, and easy to read charts, graphs, tables, etc.
Sound: Definitely mood-enhancing and properly atmospheric for a war game. Sound effects and music score fit nicely with the on-screen action.
Enjoyment: Terrific game play, precise and extremely detailed. An unbelievable number of settings for customizing computer controlled opponents' strength and reactions. Challenging, rewarding and tough.
Replay Value: Random scenario generation assures high replay marks.
Spiritual successor to The Lost Admiral, this game has VGA graphics, more extensive resources, a "research" element to get the more powerful ships, and an extra-powerful flagship with cruise missiles.
As Lost Admiral II was never released, The Grandest Fleet should be considered the sequel to The Lost Admiral. It is essentially The Lost Admiral dressed up in whiz-bang VGA graphics with many improvements in the AI. In true QQP fashion, the player's record is meticulously kept as he/she advances in rank, and the player's flagship in each scenario also become more powerful. Sadly the AI doesn't live up to the its predecessor's excellent AI, and at higher difficulty levels the AI's weakness is compensated by "cheating": it gets higher production capacity and resources.
People who downloaded Grandest Fleet, The have also downloaded:
Grandest Fleet 2, The, Gary Grigsby's Pacific War (2000), Lost Admiral, The, Gary Grigsby's War in Russia, Gary Grigsby's World At War, History of The World, Perfect General 2, Great Battles: Collector's Edition, The
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