Third World War

Strategy 1996 Sega Extreme Entertainment Group Alternate History

Full of good ideas but poorly implemented

Alternate history games aren't exactly thin on the ground, with the likes of Enigma and Cuban Missile Crisis on the market, and while this addition to the genre is far from perfect, it's a reasonable effort at mixing history with gaming. It originated on consoles where this kind of thing is quite rare so taken in that context, it makes for an intriguing experience, but computer users have been spoilt with far better games so they may want to skip this. The game takes the premise that WWIII has erupted in the late 20th century and places players in the shoes of the leader of one of 16 nations. You are charged simply with achieving world domination but the way in which this is done, is largely up to you. You can use a combination of all-out military force, cunning diplomacy, foreign investment, manipulating the media or even by supporting terrorists and revolutionaries to undermine your rivals. While all this sounds promising enough, with a handful of scenarios included to test your skills against, in practice, much of it falls flat. First impressions aren't great, thanks to the dull visuals and while there is a decent amount of depth in the strategy sections, the action-oriented combat looks and plays more like a kids game of toy soldiers and proves more tedious than exciting. The difficulty level is also frustratingly high so when combined with the poor graphics and uninteresting gameplay, Third World War is likely to have most gamers switching off pretty quickly. This is a shame, as there are some good ideas here but which have simply been badly implemented so you are better off with pretty much any other strategy game.

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