#165 North & South

Posted: 3rd January 2021 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

920th played so far

Genre: Action/Strategy
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 1989
Developer: Infogrames
Publisher: Infogrames

I remember reading quite a bit of Belgian comic Blauwbloezen (Les Tuniques Bleues, more recently published as Bluecoats in English) when I was younger. I remember really enjoying them then, and while I’m sure there are a number of things in them that don’t hold up now, at least they were going for an army that ended up on the right side of history… I have also seen parts of the 1980s adaptation of the book North & South… but that doesn’t have anything to do with this game beyond having the same name.

With that said, we’re getting a French company using a Franco-Belgian comic (that I know from its translation) making a strategy game about the American Civil War, with a clear wink already included there. Will that feel right thirty years on, though?

Our Thoughts

The initial way North & South plays is quite familiar to me, and the most interesting. You have a Risk-style tactical map that lets you move armies around between the different states. Depending on your settings, you can be in control of a station, which gives you extra gold, and you might get regularly reinforced with new armies to bulk up your forces. It’s fun this way, a pretty quick playing strategy game because of the limited area that’s involved, but quite playable. I really enjoyed it and you could see how it could just as much work as a five minute phone game where you set things up and deal with the different strategic options.

Just as Total War games ended up doing about a decade later, though, once two opposing armies meet you go into battle. While there is an option to set these to auto resolve at the start of the game, part of the game is that you are meant to go in and fight these battles yourself, switching between a few different unit types as you attack them. This isn’t as deep as the Total War series does it, but there’s some control for you here. Sadly – or, considering my dislike of them in Total War, happily – the keyboard controls seemed to be broken for me when I played them, so I stuck to resolving these battles automatically. Based on other examples, it looked like these weren’t as interesting anyway, so in the end it worked out for me – I got to play some other variants of the game instead.

Final Thoughts

North and South‘s graphics appropriately invoke the graphical style of the comic it is inspired by, and while it can’t carry through fully in the pixel art of the time it feels like the spirit is still there. Beyond that this game offers a fun strategy game, not one that’s incredibly deep, but it’s surprisingly accessible and fun to play instead.