Over the Reich
Preview by Al Giovetti, 10/01/96
Genre: war game
Release: October 15, 1996
Developer: Big Time, http://www. Producer: Charles Moylan
Publisher: Avalon Hill
Phone: 800-999-3222, 410-254-9200
History: Avalon Hill has had a good reputation with computer strategy games with military simulations, selling over 50,000 units with some titles, like King Maker and Flight Commander II also by Charles Moylan. Some of the games produced have had a great impact upon the computer game industry, but few have sold in large numbers. Avalon Hill has been around for forty years, it is owned by the Dott family of Baltimore Maryland and known best for its war games, such as Squad Leader, and 3M Bookshelf games which Avalon Hill bought out, when the 3M bookshelf line was divested. The company was started in 1952 and incorporated in 1958.
Plot: The time is World War II between 1943 and 1945 and you have the choice of joining up with the British Royal Air Corps, The U.S. Army Air Corps, or the German Luftwaffe. The place is Western Europe after the Battle of Britain, which will be the subject of the sequel to Over the Reich (OTR) called Spitfire! planned for a 1997 release date. Rather than taking the stick of an individual plane, the gameplayer takes the role of the squadron leader and commands units of planes in a tactical war.
The interface: The planes are shown in an overhead oblique perspective, while the terrain forms the background to their maneuvers. The top down map perspective will take up the top two thirds of the screen while the control panel the bottom one third. Like most strategy games the bottom panel shows the unit selected and provides for movement and firing at the enemy as well as a display for vital statistics on the plane.
Gameplay: You actually order planes to dive, roll, climb, fire, and other acrobatics. The planes perform the same as any unit in a war simulation.
Difficulty: Five difficulty levels from student to ace should make the game accessible to most players.
Missions and scenarios: There will be 55 single missions in the game that require planning or multiple battles. While others may op to go on full tours of duty which string the missions together. Missions involve bomber escort, fighter sweeps, interception, interdiction, naval strikes, and others. Missions can vary from simple base defense to escorting a squadron of bombers deep into enemy territory.
A full tour of duty requires the squadron commander to command 16 fighters. Pilots will have different personalities which make them suitable for some missions but not for others. It is a good commander who knows what his men will do when he gives the orders. Pilots gain experience and skill levels. If a pilot it lost he is replaced by a green recruit that you have to train.
Aircraft: Nineteen aircraft types include B-17s, Me 190s, Spitfire, and other classic planes.
Editor: Mission editor
Multiplayer: Two player hotseat, network and email play is supported.
Scott Udell, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 64.