Age of Sail
Review by Al Giovetti
, 03/13/97 Price: $50 - $60
Genre: war game
Release: Fall 1996
Developer: Talon Soft
Producer: Jim Rose
Publisher: TalonSoft, PO Box 632., Forest Hill, MD 21050-0632
Phone: 410-933-9191
requirements: 486 DX 33 MHz, Windows 3.1, 2X CD ROM drive, 8 MB RAM, 5 MB hard disk space (100 MB for the custom game version).

History: Perhaps this should be called Battleseas 1: Age of Sail, because it uses the same engine that TalonSoft has used so successfully with its land battle games, to now portray sea battles. Talonsoft turned to books written in the 1870's in England and published by the British Navy which chronicles all the ships afloat during the Napoleonic era.

Company line: TalonSoft's upcoming release, Age of Sail, blends the era of Tall Ships and Erol Flynn with TalonSoft's award winning ability to bring history to life! Our new "Real-Time" combat engine provides the backdrop for exciting naval engagements on the high seas against the computer or head-to-head against your best friend! Covering the period from 1775 to 1820, Age of Sail delivers historical accuracy and loads of fun that have become the hallmark of a TalonSoft game.

Take command of the greatest sailing ships in history! Ships include the Victory, Constitution, Constellation, which still sits in Baltimore Harbor open for tours, Guerriere (No not the cheese - Ed.), Bonhomme Richard, Espanol, Vengeance, and the Saratoga.

Game play: There are 100 scenarios providing lasting play value, including Trafalger, Campertown, and Cape St. Vincent, three of the most famous sea battles of this era. You can command a fleet of more than twenty vessels with real time play and continuous action. Playing the entire campaign game could take weeks of solid game play, this is why this series of games is so successful.

Modes: Play a complete campaign game from 1775 to 1820. The campaign will cover the carreer of a lowly Cadet and his rise to Admiral of the Navy. Enlist in the navies of Britain, Spain, France, or the United States. As a Commodore you will command a squadron and as the Admiral you will command the entire fleet.

Complete Scenario Editor lets you create instant naval combat to your specifications which can be used with the other games in the the Battleground series.

Ship database: The database contains statistical details on over 2,100 ships from the era of 1775 to 1820. The combat model supports all four types of shot: grape, double, chain, and solid. Even crew ratings for individual ships affect the outcome of battles. You can manually control your guns so that you can fire repeatedly at the enemy. The lack of shorelines is a detriment to the game play.

Interface: The combat interface shows the ships in close up overhead oblique perspective. Across the bottom 14 of the screen are shown the overhead of the entire battlefield and the ships who are combatting in amall square boxes including statistics on guns, heading, ammunition, speed, and a small graphic to show damage.

Graphics: The ships are portrayed in highly detailed Super VGA at 640 x 480 pixels of resolution. Ship damage shows up on the screen and the ships become less manuverable.

Animation: Animation is fairly simple with multiple facings for the ships and full 360 degree mobility.

Voice actors: No voice actors were used in the game.

Music score: An authentic period soundtrack provides the original times feel of the Battleground series, just now its on the water.

Sound effects: Explosions and other sound effects are minimal.

Compare to: Wooden Ships & Iron Men by Avalon Hill which is not as good a game in many respects.

Multi-player: Age of Sail portrays head-to-head two-player only battles of America's Constitution vs. England's Guerriere or the huge Battle of Trafalgar between England and Spain over a modem. While you could pay another person on the same computer, the use of the mouse is so essential to play that it leaves one of the two players effectively hamstrung. The multiplayer option is limited to modem play. The game should have encorporated network and internet play to have more variety for multi-player options. Future: Age of Sail was received so well that TalonSoft intends to release Age of Ironclads for sea battles during the Civil War and Age of Oars for seabattles from 3000 B.C. to 1200 A.D. later in 1997.

Talonsoft's Age of Sail Web Site Scott Udell, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 14
Kevin J. McKann, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 10, March, 1997, pg. 76, 90%, CNP Preferred
Andrew Miller, PC Games, volume 4, number 3, March, 1997, pg. 90, 88%.