Issue 3

May/Jun 83

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Legionnaire is the latest offering from Chris Crawford, the man who designed Eastern Front which was a major step forward in microcomputer gaming. Legionnaire is better than Eastern Front. Much better. It has all of the challenge (unless you are a very experienced War-gamer), better looking graphics, multiple choices of scenario and above all, the battles happen in real time. Still no game save feature but with all the options available you can choose a fairly short campaign.

For those not familiar with the style of Eastern Front, the structure of Legionnaire is of a large map of the terrain on which your battles will take place. The map scrolls in any direction and is perhaps 12 times larger than your television screen so that battles are taking place outside your immediate vision. You command Caesar and up to 9 other Legions in battles against barbarian tribes that outnumber you two to one. By giving your troops orders of movement you can use the terrain to best advantage to attack, outflank or surround your enemy. Everything is programmed in -slower movement uphill, fatigue and morale of the troops, strength, fighting ability, losses in combat - all are taken care of by the computer and the current state of any unit can be seen by positioning the cursor over a unit and pressing the fire button. There is a 20 page manual which gives you historical background, details of the various legions at your command and details of the barbarian tribes. You need to get some idea of the capabilities of your units beforehand because as soon as you press the Start button the barbarians start advancing. Remember this is in real time and requires some quick thinking.

Legionnaire is an excellent demonstration of the capabilities of your Atari, its presentation will make owners of other computers wonder why they didn't buy the best. Atari themselves did not want this in their catalogue which shows exactly why they are not making the headway they should be with the best computer on the market. All credit to Avalon Hill, although they were not taking much of a gamble, for Legionnaire is a sure fire success. Only one criticism and that is the lack of credit to Chris Crawford in the packaging. His name appears only in small type as Game Designer and Avalon Hill ought to realise that in the Atari world the name of Chris Crawford is now synonymous with that of Scott Adams.


Software for review kindly supplied by Calisto Computers of Birmingham and Avalon Hill Games of London.