THE UNIVERSAL MILITARY SIMULATOR by Richard Karsmakers
Alexander looked thoughtfully as he contemplated about his past,
the present and the future (yes, he was once a pupil of
Aristotle, so he could do that). He wondered about which tactics
he was gonna use this time, trying to defeat Darius III
Colomannos (336-330 B.C.), emperor of Persia. That darned Darius!
Several month ago, Alexander had received a peace offer of this
emperor: Darius had offered 10,000 gold talents (that's about
$300 million dollars), all of the Persian empire west of the
Euphrates and the hand of his princess royale, but great
Alexander had refused. He was, after all, a man that sought
battle and he'd rather fight for it and get it all (and even
Normally, he would have looked at his watch, but as Alexander
the Great was no imbecile he did not do so because of the simple
reason that they weren't invented yet. Anyway, he knew it was the
evening of September 30th, 331 B.C. (he could foresee things) and
he was, as I already told, phylosophizing about which tactics he
was to use.
He had seen that the Persians had meticulously leveled the
ground near Arbela (about eighteen miles northeast of present day
Mosul, Iraq), and he suspected pitfalls to entrap his cavalry.
These were no pitfalls, of course, but just a way that ensured
the Persians that their chariots would be allowed to strike out
unimpeded. Alexander was wrong (for once), and he was still
Alexander ordered his troops to cross a slight rise that had
kept the armies from having direct visual contact. After having
called a council of war, he found many of his officers to be
thinking of attacking Darius' armies by night. But Alexander
smashed his fist on the table and said with a loud voice
(overshadowed with indignance): "I will not filch a victory;
Alexander must conquer open and fairly!"
In Darius' camps, the soldiers were restless. Vision was very
bad as the clouds hid the moonlight most of the time. The guards
had heard movement on the nearby hill, and had warned the emperor
that an attack might be close at hand. So they waited under the
cloak of night, ready for a Macedonian attack. While Alexander's
army rested for the next day's fight, the Persian army remained
drawn up in line of battle under arms.
As the sun rose, it found Darius' army greatly fatigued. Darius
cursed in himself for Alexander's sheer brilliance, but he didn't
have much time to curse, as some of his officers started yelling:
"We're being attacked!"
Alexander knew that he had an advantage now. His men had rested
enough, whereas Darius' men had probably stayed up all night, in
order to strike back at an overnight assault. He grinned in
himself and thought about how stupid Darius was. Two years
earlier, he had already defeated the old man at Issus, and Darius
still hadn't learned enough of it. This time, he would make him
Rainbird's latest release, "The Universal Military Simulator"
(called "UMS" for short), is an intelligent strategics game that
allows the user to replay the here mentioned battle as well as
all other battles imaginable. Apart from the fact that five
ready-to-play scenarios are added on the disk (Arbela, Hastings,
Marston Moor, Waterloo and Gettysburg), the player can construct
his own battles, whether historical, fantastical or even pure
science finction. Featuring a unique 3D landscape with an
overview of the selected armies, the player can reconstruct
history, alter history or invoke some interesting experiments
(what would have happened if Napoleon would have had Alexander
the Great's military genius? Would he have lost? And what about
switching sides? What would have happened if King Harold had not
come down Senlac Hill?).
Replaying every battle he/she wants to replay, the player can
interact, let the computer fight the armies against each other,
or....there really are much too many options to mention here.
"UMS" is surely a distinctive piece of software, which took
seven years to design and program (done by D. Ezra Sidran of
Intergalactic Development, Inc.). The result is impressive, but
I'd personally have liked a speedier way of building up the
screen (even real-time 3D graphics...but alas!).
"UMS" is a completely new concept of strategy games, what
Rainbird calls "the most sophisticated Battle Strategy software
you'll ever have used". You know what? They're right!
The packaging is, as usual with Rainbird products, very well
taken care of. There's a scenario handbook, usermanual,
Gettysburg Map and one disk. For the strategy games addicts, this
is probably one of the best bargains possible!
Name: Universal Military Simulator
Author: D. Ezra Sidran
Value for Money: 8+
Price: £24.95/89.50 Dutch Guilders
Overall Rating: 8
Remark: Monumental release!
Many thanks have to go to Homesoft and Rainbird.
Upper St. Martins Lane
London WC2H 9DL
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.