Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Arnhem'

Rating:5 User: Matt_B

Based upon the Market Garden operation, a daring Allied paratrooper raid to capture a series of bridges across the Rhine towards the end of WW2, this is R. T. Smith's second game for the Spectrum.

Although there are some similarities with the earlier Confrontation, this was a huge leap forward in wargames on the Spectrum. It boasts a large scrolling map with larger, and much clearer, unit graphics. Whilst you cannot make your own scenarios there were five built in ones to play, from a short introduction to a four hour marathon that covered the whole operation.

With a vastly improved user interface, this game is one of the easiest serious wargames for the Spectrum to pick up. You simply issue movement orders to your units with the cursor keys and pick options off a menu; it doesn't really get much easier than that. On the downside, it's still a rather complex game, but at least the effort you need to invest is in things like finding the capabilities of the units you've got and how you can achieve the objectives of each scenario. In many ways the introductory Advance to Eindhoven, is one of the trickiest as you get no help from paratroopers, but have to capture a couple of well defended minor bridges in a short time.

Arnhem also features a computer opponent. It only plays the German side, and uses a fairly simple strategy, although as the battle is an uphill struggle for the Allies it offers a decent challenge. The game is still very much at its best with two players though.

Overall, Arnhem was perhaps the most innovative wargame for the Spectrum, bridging the gulf between early efforts such as Stonkers and the genre as we now know it. Although there were better efforts to come, such as Smith's later Desert Rats and Vulcan, it still remains very playable and is well worth a look both for those with a serious mind for strategic wargames and those who merely like to dabble in them a bit.