Release Date: February 1990
Developer: Hudson Soft
You know, I’m not going to lie, I’m starting to feel a bit spoiled when I get to play a game like Military Madness. I love a good turn based strategy game. The setting for this one is the late 21st century on the moon. You command the Allied Forces against the Axis Empire. The Axis has launched a surprise attack and now occupy most of the moon, its resources, and have imprisoned many Allied commanders. It’s up to you to conquer 16 stages in the normal campaign, and then 16 more in the advanced campaign.
Before you begin, you can check out the in-game manual to learn the rules of engagement. When you’re satisfied that you won’t get immediately wiped off the map, you can begin. The entire map is available to you at mission start. The placement of the Allied and Axis troops, as well as special buildings, are visible at all times. The goal of each stage is to either capture the enemy prison camp, or wipe all the enemy units out.
The name of this game is map control. Terrain gives bonus modifiers to both attack and defense, so holding mountainous ground is incredibly important for overpowering victories. Coordinating your units to gain proper support bonuses for flanking is smart play, as well. I didn’t catch the zone of control bonuses right away, but realized if you surround your enemies so you are touching all six hexes around them, they receive a huge penalty. All battles are shown on a horizontal plane with units simultaneously shooting each other. As they survive, they gain experience, which makes them hardier in battle.
There are plenty of units that appear throughout the missions. Infantry are weak and slow, but they are the only units that can capture factories or the prison camp. Tank units are strong on offense and defense, and become the main force of your army. Artillery are used to launch long range, indirect attacks, helpful for softening up strong Axis units. Aircraft are incredibly strong and mobile, though they are specialized for either air combat or bombing ground units. Anti-aircraft weapons are pretty self-explanatory. Lightweight vehicles allow you to move, attack, and continue to use the rest of your movement points. Transport units allow you to move infantry and special weapons more quickly around the map.
Factories allow you to add to your army and repair damaged units. These become very important early targets that I found myself rushing toward when feasible. Infantry units are able to scale mountain ranges, which is helpful if you find yourself in trouble, as you can try a last ditch effort to capture the prison camp. I would have loved to keep playing Military Madness if I had more time to devote to it. You can continue from any mission you know the name of, as that is the password.
Everything looks decent. Units and terrain are easy to distinguish among, the battle screen looks alright.
Music and sound effects are serviceable and not overpowering.
I really can’t find too many flaws in the game. Would I have liked some more options on customizing my army in factories and such? Sure.
I found the first several levels pretty easy with the units given. I expect difficulty would have ramped up in the advanced missions.
Fun Factor: 3.5
I enjoyed every minute of play. The only knock I can throw at it is that the pace is a little slow.
Overall Grade: 3.1
Military Madness earns a B. I definitely recommend giving this one a try. It’s like Desert Commander, which I enjoyed, but way better.