Review: Military Madness (TG-16)

Strategic lunacy!

Also known as Nectaris in Japan, this game was a cult hit when it was released in the US many years ago. It wasn't a massive seller but positive reviews made sure it got a decent reception from gamers 'in the know'.

For anyone who has played Advance Wars on the GBA you will know exactly what you are getting here. It’s a turn-based game so basically you get your chance to move all your troops and artillery around the battle field and then it’s your opponent's turn (the CPU or another player). This carries on until one player captures the enemy base or destroys all the opposition.

Like chess you can only move certain ‘pieces’ in certain ways. You select what resource you wish to move with an on-screen cursor and move to a location out of the options available to you. If you are in range of an enemy then you can attack them. Carefully planned tactics are required, e.g., troops on a mountain will have the upper hand over opponents on the ground.

There are too many nuances in the gameplay to describe in detail here, but there is a lot more to this game than meets the eye. In later stages the old grey matter is really pushed to ensure victory.

Visually speaking this game isn't much to look at; the soundtrack is uninspired and sound effects quite flat also. The TurboGrafx-16 was certainly capable of much better than this, but as a game appearing quite early in the console’s lifespan it is understandable why this resembles an NES game rather than a TG-16 game. What it all goes to show is that when the gameplay is great, the graphics and sound do not matter as much. It really doesn’t spoil the overall package at all.

Conclusion

Playing it today reveals that it has lost none of the charm it had back in the day. Although the gameplay isn't for everyone, if you're willing to invest some time and effort you will be rewarded with one of the best console turn-based strategy titles ever. This is right up there with Langrisser and Shining Force as one of the premier games of its type, and is well worth a look if you're after a VC release that will keep your attention for weeks rather than days.

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