Dragon 32 Universe
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EMPIRE

Billed as a colourful game of warlike strategy, Empire is a classy version of a well-known board game.

The cassette comes in the standard plastic case with a cover depicting model soldiers at war. Inside is a detailed double-sided instruction sheet.

Objectives ---------- The aim is to "save mankind from the evil red menace". This is, of course, the ruthless Dragon Empire, which is intent on world domination. Your brief is to counteract its aggressive policies with those of your own.

In Play

You and the Dragon Empire start out by selecting the countries you are to occupy. A well drawn map of the world is presented.

The next phase is allocating your armies to your chosen areas. You can view the world map by pressing W or browse through continental maps.

To select a country for deployment of your army you again press space and indicate the number of armies you want there. When you've done this, the Dragon Empire makes its allocations, then gets first go at attacking. If you've unwisely chosen level 8 of difficulty, it's probably endgame for you.

When attacking the cursor moves around the areas from which you could attack, and you select by using the Space bar. It then moves around the areas you could attack and your victim is selected the same way. It is only now that you see how many armies you actually have there and how many you're up against!

Winning a battle allows you to place armies in your newly acquired land, and conquering a continent gives you extra combat forces.

The graphics - lines linking the two areas involved in the conflict and spreading circles of the colour of the winning army, etc - are neatly done.

It's vital to keep an eye on the status lines at the foot of the screen. It's here that such information as number of victories to date, armies owned, and how the current battle is progressing are displayed.

My only complaint is that in the higher levels the Dragon Empire gets the benefit of the doubt most of the time.

Verdict

An extremely good game. I have to confess to sitting up very late several nights, determined to beat it at level 8 - I didn't, but will do next time. Highly recommended.