Gamezilla! February 22, 1999
Overall Score: *65* People's General
by SSI  Reviewed by: William Brandt

Overview:
Screenshot     The unthinkable has happened. The two mightiest nations in the modern world have come to grips in a contest that will decide the fate of Asia and possibly the world. Can you finish what Genghis Khan and his sons began? Or are you the NATO general who must recover the world from the forces of the People's Republic of China? In this game, set in the not-too-distant future, you can take command of the forces of either of these nations to alter the balance of world power forever. No matter what path you choose, you will need all your skills to triumph. The successful modern general devises sound strategies and carries them out with unswerving commitment. Generals who are indecisive inevitably fail. Can you forge a battle-winning command and conquer your foes? Isn't it time to find out? People's General is Volume Two in SSI's "Living Battlefield" series, the next generation of the critically acclaimed mega-hit Panzer General II.
      People's General presents a disturbingly plausible, near-future Asian conflict that escalates to involve virtually the entire world. Gameplay covers large areas of the Korean Peninsula, Southeast Asia, Siberia, the Ural Mountains and the Ukraine. Choose from over 200 task forces from 19 nations. Deploy a dizzying array of modern and prototype weaponry and crush your opponents in this strategy epic of global meltdown. Fight as either Chinese or Western Alliances in 2+ campaigns totaling 36+ scenarios, or try your hand at single missions. You can also play four-player multi-play via LAN, Internet and PBEM.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface:
      For those of you who have purchased Panzer General II, there won't be a whole lot of new surprises. SSI does include new 16-bit color, plus hand-rendered maps and photo-realistic 3D combat units. The developers have also improved the spotting systems with new "hide and seek" elements and a new Air Mission System; other than that, it's the same old game with different countries and more modern weapons. The first thing that comes to my mind when I play this game is that I am playing a computer-generated board game, and if I move the pieces in the right areas I will win the battle. If you're looking for action you might as well look for something else, because once you find the right method of moving and attacking with your troops, it just becomes a matter of beating the other guy to the best spots on the map. One thing that I do not care for in the "Living Battlefield" series is that in campaign mode you receive victory ratings on how quickly you complete the scenario. Why should I risk my troops' lives on pushing forward just so I can have a brilliant career?

ScreenshotGraphics:
      Once again, if you have played PGII, there will be nothing new in the graphics department. SSI says that it used new 16-bit colored maps, but I couldn't tell the difference between these maps and the ones in PGII. I'm sure that we are all familiar with the hexagon maps that SSI uses in its Military Strategy games, and this game is no different. I don't want to seem redundant, but this game just reminds me of a board game with 3D pieces.

Audio:
      SSI gets a B+ for effort on the audio. They incorporate the sounds of the tanks, airplanes, helicopters, artillery guns, and the screams of dying men into gameplay when you either move or attack. Throw in some tense military music in the background, and you got yourself a classic military strategy game. Enough said!

System Requirements:
      Windows 95/98, 8X CD-ROM, Pentium 166MHZ, 32MB RAM, 2 MB SVGA card with Direct X 5.2 or better, 28.8 Kbps modem for Internet play, Windows 95/98 compatible sound cards.

ScreenshotDocumentation:
      Okay, boys and girls, here's the part where I tell you that this is an average user's manual and that you can learn the entire game by using the in-game tutorial. I do recommend reading the section on building scenarios if you wish to create your own games, but otherwise point, click, and kill. Simple, huh?

Bottom Line:
      Attention SSI! Attention SSI! Quit beating a dead horse and show us something new. You guys were going in the right direction when you put out the awesome game Panzer Commander, which was a tank simulation and strategy game all rolled into one. If you're a person who likes the previous releases like Panzer General II, then you will definitely like this game. Even if you're new to strategy games, you might enjoy it, but for me it was a case of been there, done that, and really don't want to go back type of thing. So there you are, gentle reader, once more I have filled your mind with my gaming thoughts. Take it with a grain of salt and use your best judgement. (Pssssst. Wait until it goes on sale in six months!) I therefore give the game a score of 65 out of 100.

Review Posted On 16 November 1998.

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