VrE Online
Battlegrounds 3: Waterloo
from Empire Interactive and Talonsoft
Tired of the same old routine? Try taking on the British and German forces.

Ratings: graphics 85, sound 80, interface 75, fun factor 98, overall 85

"Sir, Blucher's troops have not arrived yet. Sir Wellington's Forces are alone and ill prepared for your advance." This is what you hear from one of your messengers. This is good news, very good news. You decide that today, Wellington will not see his home again. And this day, at Waterloo, will be your finest hour. Welcome to Battleground 3: Waterloo.

Waterloo You are Napoleon at the historic battle of Waterloo. Your task is to change history, if you can. You are given every chance to make it heard or easy for you when playing the game. You can change the advantages to predominately French, or English. If you keep it the way its supposed to be, no advantage/disadvantage to either, then the battle will hinge on your ability to command troops and your skill at moving forces.

The AI that is used in this game is the most formidable I have come across. It took me several battles before I could even eke out a modest loss, much less a victory. As a matter of fact, my first 3 battles were such horrid losses that I thought it impossible to win and that the game was slanted, as some strategy games are. They AI in this game learns from its mistakes, so it is heard to pull the same trick twice. On the one game I did win, which in my opinion was a fluke, I sent a token force into the center of the British forces and massed most of my remaining forces to the left and right flanks. This produced the initial results I wanted, where were to bring the British AI into taking on the center thrust. However, it did counter my left and right flanks, so I had to split those forces as well into two sub forces, an outer left and outer right as well as inner left and inner right. What this allowed was a strengthening of my center forces, where were by now almost decimated, with new forcesfrom the inner right and left brigades.

Waterloo As the battle progressed, I found that the British AI had made some small errors that I was able to capitalize on and with my last skirmish unit, Cavalry, and Artillery, I was able to take Wellington's command platoon, thus ending the game. This also made me tired. I had been playing this game on and off for 2 weeks straight before I won. In the process of playing the game, I found that the detail that Talonsoft went to for this game was quite impressive.

The programmers really put a lot of effort into making this game work. I congratulate the producers, directors, and chief programmers at Talonsoft, they have done a wonderful job with this game. It was a mental breaker, almost pulled what remained of my hair out at times for what the AI did to foil my plans. For all serious strategists, this game is perfect for you. The graphics are incredible, and the detail is exquisite. The game still uses a hex grid for movement and attack purposes, but this is a tried and true method of battle gaming. It also allows you to stack forces into each hex, maximum of 5 forces, more than that and it wont let you. If you are going to do this, make the stacking a mix of rifle and heavy rifle. If you stack cavalry and infantry, then you get a very strange result, usually to your detriment.

The flow of battle is very good. This is one thing that they have outdone in other games. Even though the battle is long and will require several days to complete, the flow is impeccable. I could not ask for more from a game. Add to this the ability to zoom in and out as needed really adds to that flow. Since each step is part of a phase, it is best to understand what happens and when. Reading the manual before getting started is the biggest must in this game. I had to spend 3 days reading the manual before I understood what they were doing.

Waterloo Now, I have studied history and I have had a fascination with changing the outcome of battles and events. With Waterloo, I now have a chance to see what would happen if Napoleon had tried this tactic, or just to see exactly what he faced. Now, don't laugh, but I have found that most simulations really do give you a feel, not an insight but a feel, into what the commanders of those times had to contend with. Waterloo is another one of the simulations that I have played that has done just that. This game provides me with a look at what Napoleon could have seen. I know it certainly gave me a taste of his frustration!

Waterloo will take to challenges no other game can. It also represents a step forward for strategy games that no other strategy game has done, combined superb graphics, excellent AI, and Rich sound into one game. I look forward to trying out the other games in the Battleground series.

--- Andy Hardison
--- stilgar@eden.com

System requirements: 486/33, Windows 3.x or Windows 95, 8MB Ram, 36meg HD, SVGA capable video, 2x CD-ROM, Soundblaster compatible sound card, mouse.

Off to battle.Front Door

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