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WarGames Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 71%
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  • Review Score:

  • B
Strategy is a genre I tend to neglect for both playing and reviewing. It's not that I have anything against the genre; I've played plenty of chess and Shining Force in my day. I just generally suck at it, especially when it comes to real-time strategy; I can make a decent showing for turn-based strategy. You'll never see me kicking ass in Starcraft or anything like that. So, if I manage to hold my own in an RTS, it's a miracle worth a few extra plus points from me. Now, who would've thought those plus points would go to a movie-licensed game on the ColecoVision?

WarGames is based on the 1983 movie of the same name. In true second gen fashion, the game is based on one element of the movie: playing a game of Global Thermonuclear War against the WOPR. However, the premise is the same as the movie. The player knows it's a game, but the WOPR thinks it's real. If you lose, the world gets nuked. No, you can't get the WOPR to play tic-tac-toe with itself to learn futility.

WarGames (Colecovision)Click For the Full Picture Archive

You control the United States' defenses against attacks from the USSR. At no point do you launch an attack against the Russians yourself; the game is defensive only. Your goal is to successfully defend against the incoming missiles, jets, and subs until the time runs out. You do that by flipping among the six sectors, choosing the right defensive strike to match the aggressor, targeting, and firing. It's very much like a more complicated take on Missile Command. Almost every button on the ColecoVision controller is required to play the game; so, make sure you have the overlay or instruction manual handy.

Even on the easiest setting, so many attacks target so many areas at once that it is impossible to avoid cities and defenses being destroyed. Whenever a certain percentage of targets are destroyed, the sector's DEFCON level is lowered. If a sector is lowered to DEFCON 1 and stays there for a minute, the nukes are launched and you lose. If you manage to keep the defenses afloat until the game time runs out, you win.

WarGames (Colecovision)Click For the Full Picture Archive

From an aesthetic standpoint, the game is very simple. The maps are well-drawn, and there's no confusion which sector is being hit with what. The audio is also simple, but it works in context of the game. Nothing is overblown or unnecessary.

WarGames is a very complicated take on a simple premise, kind of like 3D Tic-Tac-Toe. (By sheer coincidence, I brought up the movie in that review, too.) However, everything works, and WarGames stands as a great entry for people like me who aren't too adept at RTS games to get our feet wet.

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