Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Theatre Europe'

Rating:5 User: Sard

A famous product of the cold war in computer gaming, this strategic war game did its best to shock the player into a realization of the consequences of a third world war. It presented a very real life scenario, with the armies of the Warsaw Pact and NATO poised face to face along the east/west German border, armed to the teeth with tanks, planes, chemical weapons and nuclear bombs...and worse than that, ready to start operations against each other.

The gameplay was simple, joystick driven (and therefore not time consuming to learn) and it subsequently attracted gamers with little normal interest in the wargame genre.
A novelty when the game was released, was that it required of the player (before being allowed to drop the bomb) the calling of a onscreen telephone number, where a recorded message would announce (above the sounds of screams and explosions in the background) " If this is really what you want, the nuclear authorization code is ...Midnight Sun " Spooky stuff.

The game is unusual in also having an "arcade" section in a war game which can (apparently) influence the directions of battles. This however is a poor addition to the game, with the sub-game itself being of little entertainment. It can at least be turned off.
Another thing of note, is that although this game was released on the C64 first, the ability to play 2 players (1v1) was new on the Spectrum, with Commodore owners having NO option to nuke their best friends clean out of existence.
Letting the computer play against itself is also an interesting option they added, and one that kept me watching for quite some time.

I loved this back in the day, and continue to enjoy this game today. A great war game for non war gamers, alongside being a real piece of gaming (and cultural) history.