Joan of Arc: The Siege And The Sword

Strategy 1989 Dos Dosbox Chip Historical Empire management

Interesting but not entirely successfull historical sim

While the idea behind the Siege and the Sword is intriguing, combining as it does historical strategy with arcade-style action, it is something of a mixed bag, and lacks the depth that fans of such games typically demand. It is however worth a look if you are after something a little different. As the name suggests, the game is set during the 15th century, when England and France were at war and where a 17 year old girl was in charge of the French armies, as it was believed that was an instrument from God. The game is a fairly familiar mix of strategy, combat and resource management, with players needing to fund their armies, recruit soldiers and engage in such diplomatic activities as bribery and assassination. The combat sequences here are a little unusual in that they are more action-oriented than is often the case, with players required to control the movement of their, largely infantry-based, armies, manipulating their firing angles and other such activities. While certainly not for everyone, The Siege and the Sword is an intriguing excursion into history and provides a fair amount of challenge and intrigue for those of the right disposition. While highly dated in terms of presentation and visuals, the game retains a sort of old-school charm that means it is still playable today and while it is fairly complicated to get to grips with, if you stick with it there is some entertainment to be had. The differing elements, action and strategy, are combined reasonably successfully and manage to make the game stand out a little, so if you want something unusual, then this is worth a play.

Dated TBS with mini games spiked in

The game is your average TBS, RISK like and quite bland, but what makes it rather hard to swallow is the fact that there is no real depth to the simulation. Though the producers tried to make it a more complex game, by adding diplomatic elements, they feel more like a menial try to fight the general lack of scope of the game. The TBS also offers you some rather strange mini games instead of a classical tactical RTS encounters, which, again, are dated, both graphically as well as too shallow in their portrayal. There are other Joan of Arc games out there, if you're looking to experience her trials and tribulations in a strategy/action setting. This game is simply too old and too contrived to make it worth the time. Sure, for the end of the 80s it must have been quite daring to try such a combination, but I feel that the producers kind of didn't manage to capture the idea behind a TBS – which is that of immersion and a good deal of realism. That lacks in this rather shallow and dated game.

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