Quantum Quality Production's latest strategy software to hit the market, "The Pure Wargame", offer the same type of quality gamers have come to expect from QQP. This hex-based strategy game explores an area of World War II seldom discussed, much less simulated. The focus is on the strategic importance of airborne troops. These units often were followed by a main attacking force, so their success was vital to overall victory in the war. Five famous scenarios are available to challenge you into changing history. Play against the computer AI at various difficulty settings, or battle it out head to head with a human opponent on the same PC.
The Pure Wargame (or TPW) is very similar to many other wargames out on the market. Wargame veterans can easily jump right in and get started without even glancing at the manual. TPW was obviously not created with the intention of attracting new gamers to this type of game. The graphics are nothing to gawk at, but they look sharp and don't distract you from planning your strategy. For boardgame war fans, the traditional icons represent each unit, but can be toggled to symbols to make it easier for unseasoned players. Destroyed units are simply taken off the map, no fancy animation here. QQP chose to stick to the basics, and focused on perfecting the game engine, not covering up an inferior engine with snazzy effects. The sound effects are great, but extremely repetitive. When an airborne unit attacks, it produces the same crackle of rifle fire every time. The music, however, is the most comprehensive I have ever seen in a strategy game. On the CD-ROM version, over 60 classical music selections play in the background! The musical scores created by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and others take advantage of sound cards that use wave table synthesis and sound excellent.
Gameplay remains the popular turn-based system, which gives the player ample time to plan the next move. On a players turn, attacks, retreats, moves, etc., are performed until all units have exhausted their energy. Air strikes can be performed if the scenario permits it, and artillery can fire within their limited range. Fatigue remains a factor in all units actions during the battle, as well as morale. If this level of realism proves to be too difficult, you can start a scenario with the fatigue effects off, but bear in mind that your opponent will no longer experience fatigue effects either. Before moving a unit, it can be switched between different "modes", such as march, attack, defend, reserve, and entrenched. These modes determine the different variables for combat and movement.
The attackers units are limited due to the fact that they are from airborne squadrons. Troops are the mainstay, with a sprinkle of light artillery and the occasional recon patrol. Defenders often possess a wider range of combat types. Each unit is given a numerical strength score, that diminishes during fighting. These strength scores are generated from actual war documents, so the historical scenarios are quite realistic. Players will surely enjoy the hypothetical "Operation Sea Lion" in which Germany invades lower England.
Overall, TPW is a very strong wargame for those already interested in the strategy genre. Beginners may get frustrated too quickly to spend more than the 3 hours or so it takes for some of the scenarios. The biggest weakness is the lack of head to head competition through modem or net play. This has become a standard actually set by QQP with "The Perfect General", and I was disappointed not to see it as an option here. However, the scenarios are very entertaining and the AI is smart enough to provide many hours of play. While QQP still strives to create the "pure" wargame, they informed me they have no immediate plans for future installments to TPW. In the meantime, fill your enemies skies with thousands of small white chutes and prepare them for occupation!
The Pure Wargame is a quintessential turn-based wargame. The first one in a proposed series (and the only one released), it involves eight different airborne operations centering on tactical level operations of airborne warfare, from the scattered landings at Crete to the ill-fated bridges of Arnhem.
The first in an aborted Pure Wargame series, this late WW II game was disappointing in every respect: poor AI, confusing interface, and badly written manual. As loyal fan of the company, I can only speculate that the obviously premature release of the game was compelled in part by pressure from American Laser Games (QQP's new parent company) to quickly improve the company's shaky finances. Despite the interesting and less-known historical scenarios, the game was released way too prematurely. If you want to know what a bad QQP game is like, this is it.
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