PSS/Mirrorsoft, Amiga £29.99
This novel game attempts to combine tactical and arcade elements, thus crossing gaming boundaries and pleasing everyone. Arriving on one disk along with a 24-page manual and a glossy, well produced map, Battlemaster asks 'a hero' to settle the lands and end the chaos. You have to conquer one small piece of the game-world before moving onto the next piece.
You do this by controlling a central character in a top-down view. Other men of a similar race/type can be bought and added to your personal army. These men fellow you around like sheep (although they can be ordered into different tactical formations: wedge, line etc). Weapons can be toggled from range (bow and arrow) to melee (sword). A variety of other weapons and armour are available.
Apart from killing all and sundry, you'll encounter very simple 'puzzles' (find the key for a locked door, throw switches to open secret passages, etc.). The game is biased towards action giving it a Gauntlet feel. This arcade action is fast and furious, providing no real tactical options even though the game suggests this. In fact, the formation is largely dormant as a result.
I am rather disappointed in the program's design from the user's point of view. The game takes no heed of extra memory (which is increasingly common these days), makes some horrible loading noises that furrowed the brow and must reload from scratch every time you get killed (groan).
Battlemaster has too little depth with too little tactical meat to be considered by anyone but Gauntlet fanatics, who would, in turn, be disappointed with it as a true arcade game.
Zzap! Issue 68, December 1990, p.45