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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Iron Storm, Daisenryaku and Nectaris
Kendrick has Posted about Iron Storm, the US-released version of one of the Sega Saturn installations of Daisenryaku.  Daisenryaku is a turn-based hexagon simulator featuring largely accurate stats for WWII-era vehicles and weaponry.  It's a loooong running series in Japan

Sadly, I couldn't comment on Kendrick's post, so I'm talking a bit about it here instead.

[Image: /grafx/throwaway/Iron%20Storm.png]

Iron Storm is a game I used to own, and wanted so very much to enjoy, but simply couldn't.  Despite Working Designs' exceptional treatment of the US translation, the game itself was aimed at an audience I didn't belong to: hard-core sim fetishists.  The game was a very dry affair, consisting solely of tedious unit movement and ugly polygon battle scenes for every clash.  It was slow and cumbersome, despite all the fixes and tweaks Working Designs applied. 

Iron Storm's ultimate failure, however, was that it wasn't Nectaris.

[Image: /grafx/throwaway/Nectaris%20Logo.png]

Nectaris offered two features that no other hex-sim did: Zone of Control (ZOC), the Surround Effect and the Support Effect. 

ZOC, put simply, allowed a unit to effect a limited amount of control over adjacent hexes, preventing an enemy unit from moving out of a hex it entered the same turn.  The Surround Effect decreased an enemy unit's defense as it was more throroughly surrounded.  By boxing in a bad guy his armour was halved.  Finally, the Support Effect would boost your offensive power by having friendly units adjacent to you during a fight.  It was the combination of these three things that provided the depth to Nectaris, and this is where other games fall flat: their strategy comes from mind-numbing stats and rock/paper/scissors-style unit superiority. 

Nectaris only had a handful of stats per unit, but even the weakest infantry unit could inflict massive damage with 100% Surround Bonus and a little Support Bonus from friendly units.  Iron Storm, sad to say, offered none of this strategy.  While there are those who like the number crunching slog through World War battles, I prefer the fantastic moon-based fights of Nectaris.

NFGgames guide to Nectaris
free Windows version of Nectaris
BLEARGH
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Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
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All the Daisenryaku games are stark and dry like that, at least the ones I've played. You do need to have a sort of obsessive curiosity to play, the kind that would sit for 72 hours and want to know what would happen if the assault on Omaha Beach had started fifteen minutes earlier. I'm still kicking myself for not knowing that Iron Storm was a Daiseryaku game, given how much I enjoy turn-based strategy.

Oh yeah, not all the Daisenryaku games are spartan affairs. There's Moe Moe 2-Ji Daisen, which I imagine would find a warm home in anybody's game library:

[Image: http://www.prismnet.com/~kkc/img/moedaisen.jpg]

Sorry about not having blog commenting turned on. I run Blosxom on my own, and I didn't feel like having to implement a database on my ISP's server.
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Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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OK now, see, the kind of game you linked a screenshot for is the kind of game I want to play lots and lots of.  =D
BLEARGH
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I forgot to mention in my previous post that Daisenryaku VII does feature support bonuses and field effects. Two slightly different versions of this game were released in the west, one on the original Xbox, the other on PS2. But if you didn't like the graphics in Iron Storm, you'll hate D7, which didn't even bother with simulating combat and just displayed a bunch of static units on screen (sitting on an isometric hexagon, of all things) launching tiny pixels at each other. No rolling tanks, no kneeling infantry, no swooping airplanes. D7 does allow you to set both sides of a campaign to CPU control, which is nice if you just want to sit and watch a battle unfold. I do that with American football games a lot.
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