North & South is a very curious game. Based on the Belgium comics 'Les Tuniques Bleues' (The Blue Jackets), which portraits the American Civil War, this game was developed by the French company Infogrames for several systems (MSX, NES, Spectrum, Amiga, CPC, DOS and others).
The game is a very light strategic game - escaping from the usual 'serious' themes, all characters, and the hole game are filled with humour and cartoony graphics, making it a very pleasant game, even for those who doesn't like this game style.
Also, taking into account it's background and origins, it's not strange that this game supports multiple languages. On the MSX/Spectrum version, the game supports English, French and Spanish!
In the game, the player chooses one of the sides of the war - North or South - and on which year the battle starts: from 1861 to 1864, which means different difficult levels on each year.
You can play in Arcade mode (with real time battles, and the fort invasions), or on Strategic mode (without the controlled battles, or invasions), and you can also have other features, such as rain (which stops the army below from moving) or even reinforcements from Europe, or Indian attacks!
After starting the game, the player sees itself on a simplified map of USA, and must ensure the victory by conquering states, making money (securing the train lines) to buy more soldiers, battling the enemy and eventually ending the war by eliminating all enemies armies.
Once you engage in Battle, you be able to control three types of squads: the infantry, cavalry and cannons.
While cannons have a somewhat slow attack, their range goes all the way to the other side of the screen; the cavalry is really fast moving, but with lower accuracy on attacks, and the infantry while moving slowly, has a pretty accurate line of fire.
But not sticking only to the strategic-war game genre, this game has some unique features: once you invade a fort, the game turns into a platform game - and you must hurry against time to get the enemy flag to consolidate your conquest!
But don't think it will be easy: there are plenty of soldiers and guard dogs along the way to stop you! And even more: there are some traps scattered around to make your job even more difficult!
|The MSX Version has the same features as the one on ZX Spectrum cassette. It lacks some features from other versions, like the train assault, other maps (river and canyon) and some animations. Those features are only implemented on the Spectrum disk version. But nonetheless, the MSX version is really good!|
This game is just amazing! Unfortunately, it was released on two tapes, and that implies on 'tape swapping' which is rather frequent during the game: tape 2 has the battle maps and the platform level, so everytime you battle another army, you must swap tape 1 by tape 2, play the level, then rewind and swap back to tape 1... not a lot of fun, even on today emulators.
Once decided to do the adaptation (mainly to remove the annoyance of the tape swapping), things started really well - I had the whole game loading up to the game selection screen! But then the problems started...
The game loads lots of stuff into memory! Sometimes the game loaded up to 60k of data, starting from 0000h - completely destroying both DOS area and MSX Bios! Of course, in tape version this is not a problem - the game left the upper memory intact, used the routines to read from the tape there, and everything just worked great.
But to adapt this to disk, and even more, make it run on DOS1 and DOS2, even from HD - that wasn't feasable. At least some extra memory was needed to backup DOS memory area.
That's why I took the decision to add the requirement for mapper for this version. DOS2 already requires 64k of mapper - and this enabled not only to properly store all DOS data, but to even backup some game data on mapper reducing the game loading (no re-loading of the main map after the battles, of after invading a fort!)
One of the drawbacks, it's that in some MSX computers, this convertion doesn't work - mainly due to direct mapper access routines used. Sometimes running the game from DOS1, or with a external mapper works on those cases.
Some things being considered on future versions:
Just don't expect those to be implemented any time soon...
- Fix mapper problems
- Speed up the game
- Add stuff from Spectrum disk version
|Download & requirements|
This game needs at least a MSX1 with disk drive and 128kb of Mapper. The game is still in beta stage, and although fully playable, may not work on some MSX models.
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