EASTERN FRONT by Chris Crawford Distributed by the ATARI Program Exchange

Review by Jerry White

Do you like WAR games? Do you like games that pit your mind against a computer program opponent? If your answer is "Yes" to these two questions, treat yourself to Eastern Front.

Chris Crawford put eight months into this World War II simulation and the results are truly magnificent. The program uses a technique called fine scrolling to display the battle fields. Fine scrolling permits the viewer to scan an area as if he or she were in an airplane, looking down through binoculars. A joystick is used not only to direct the battle, but to scroll the screen in all directions. At any given time, you are viewing one-ninth of the battlefield.

The map is detailed and colorful. Mountains, trees, rivers, and seas are accurately placed throughout the terrain. The game begins in the summer of 1941. The trees are green and the rivers and seas are blue. As the seasons change, the ground gets muddy brown then turns white with the snows of winter. Rivers freeze early in the far north and later in the south. The game board is truly a sight to behold.

The game itself is easy to play but very difficult to master. The day it arrived in my mailbox, I spent many hours getting my tail whipped by the Russian Army. It is truly a game of strategy and skill. This is not an arcade shoot 'em up game although the sound of machine guns and graphics are present. This is a game of skill.

It comes with 13 pages of well written documentation including a map. Without the map I would never have found Moscow. Now if only my troops could get there. They will if I have to stay up all night. It's a bit frustrating but downright addictive. The documentation also provides insight to the actual war as Germany invaded Russia and the program does a nice job of emulating history.

Somehow this machine language program is supposed to fit into 16K in the cassette version but requires 32K on disk. I bought the disk version which is used to boot-up and automatically runs as an AUTORUN.SYS file. The game takes about two hours to play rushing it or around three hours if you give it proper thought. I never really like any game that took this long to complete but Easter Front 1941 is an exception.

You may have noticed that I don't write bad reviews. I refuse to take the time to review average or bad software. I do feel that is worthwhile to inform the public about software that is worth its price. I paid $29.95 plus shipping for this package and I certainly got my money's worth. On a scale of 1 to

10, this is 9.3. Sorry Chris, I think there should have been something added at "The End". No program is perfect, but this one is about as close as you can get.

Eastern Front: Rating

1 - 10 (Unsatisfactory - Ideal)
Concept 10
Originality 10
Challenge 10
Skill 7
Graphics 10
Sound 9
Overall Rating 9.3