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Reviewed: Sid Meier's Antietam!
Author: Chris Kim       Date: December 22nd 1999
Page: 3

Multiplayer support and gameplay in Antietam! is excellent. Up to eight players can compete in the battle either on a LAN or Internet through the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone. Each of the players gets to control one of the larger brigades in the warfare. Team play or head to head competition can be done as well. One of the larger pluses of Antietam!, is the inclusion of ability to play over a modem and head to head direct link, as these features have been missing from a lot of games recently.

One of the largest improvements in Antietam! has been the very improved in the AI department, on both the computer side and player side. For the computer improvements, the troops now have a better realization of what is going around in the war, they will send backups and reinforcements and work together as a team. This makes for a more realistic gaming experience on both sides of the war. For the player improvements, added messages and popup tips of what to do and what not to do help the player out. The player's regiments can move in and out of the war and retreat with intelligent knowledge of what is happening without the player telling them what to do.

One slight smudge of Antietam! might be how difficult the game is, it is one of the harder games to come in a while, but a nice set of training missions are included to teach the player the basics of the game.

Initial Fire
Surrounded
Lots of Fire Power

The interface was brilliantly put together for both Gettysburg! veterans and new comers into the war genre to easily get into the game and start playing. Movement of trips is easily accomplish by simply clicking on the unit and then dragging an arrow to the desired location, each of the commands has a keyboard hotkey equivalent. Commanders of regiments are easily called through the keyboard numbers 0-9 and accessible through an easy pull down menu at the top of the screen. All of the maneuvers are listed at the bottom bar with only one click needed for each of the maneuvers to be executed. Controlling such units in the heat of battle can be a bit difficult, but it should be easy to command them, as controlling the units only requires the commander of each regiment needed to be commanded, the rest of the troops will follow the orders of the commander, unless a wiser decision is already made by the computer.

All the movements and controls of the game can be controlled using the mouse, but with combination of the keyboard, action can be made much faster and quicker depending on the actions needed to be performed.

Fast Movement
Camera Work
Huge Movement

With the original game being developed more than two years ago, the game is prone to have a dated look, which it does. Antietam! has a few improved animations, slicker textures, and other slight improvements, but for the most part the graphics still have that two-year-old look. By today's standards, these graphics are less than mediocre. The battlefield is rendered decently, but pixelation is a huge issue. Many of the landforms like trees and bushes could use some major work. The landscape looks decent, but it doesn't compete with anything that is rendered by today's standards. The units look decent, but they could use some shadowing and shading work while the units move would have been nice. One of the major downfalls of the graphics engine is the extreme slow down that are incurred when lots of units are on screen at once performing actions. One of the very nice improvements to the game, however, have been to the uniforms and color schemes used in the game, receiving a much more uniform and organized look.

Boom, Boom, Boom!
Line of Sight in Work
Backup is Nice

Sounds are an important part of the game. The game takes great usage of the sound during the war and almost exactly replicates the sound perfectly in this game. From the gun-shots to the charging leads of the commanders, the atmosphere created with the sounds effects are excellent. The standards provided by today's standards, Antietam doesn't stand much of a chance, but it does offer some great sound effects, even for a game with such dated technology.

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Added:  Wednesday, December 22, 1999
Reviewer:  Chris Kim
Score:
Page: 3/5

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