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Eastern Front (1941)

Developer: Chris Crawford Publisher: Atari Program Exchange
September 1981
Glitchwave rating
3.75 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
#30 for 1981
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Releases 4
Filter by: All 4 Atari 8-bit 4
1983 Chris Crawford Atari  
Cartridge
US 07700088039
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1988 Chris Crawford Atari  
Cartridge
XNA 0 77000 88039 0
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Eastern Front is the kind of strategy game I can get behind. You play Nazi Germany during the 1941 Operation Barbarossa, when the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in the middle of winter. You start in August 1941, and your units are organised into two blocks of infantry and panzers respectively, and you spend your turns by moving them a single step in a grid-based battleground with rivers, hills, swamps, and of course, cities. Very soon they will collide with Russian units, and here is where the major battles take place, taking many actual wargaming rules for reference(where units perishing were not as commonplace as retreating). After you have determined where you want to send your units, you can hit the start button, after which the battles will magically flash out before your eyes, with memorable pounding of bullet fire, all while you can scroll around the battlefield in a smooth-scrolling birds' eye view! As December rolls by, the palette of the landscape will change, signifying winter, and the climate changes accordingly take effect on your units' movement rates.

An important thing to note is that there are two versions of this software. The original 1981 indie release by Chris Crawford features only one game mode, and has no set objective or end goal. The game simply ends once you reach March 1942 and giving you an ending score. The maximum score you can attain is 255, and(according to the author at least) it is much easier to get the maximum score in the middle of the game, where after which starting to keep it becomes the real challenge bearing in mind that your forces would be very far from their supply lines by this point, and also that the Soviets would be getting reinforcements.

The 1982 republished version by Atari is greatly expansive, but also features more clear-cut goals. There are five difficulty modes(the 4th of which emulates Chris Crawford's original game), but they also provide unavoidable city-domination objectives: The goals in these games is not to attain a high score after a set period of time, but to conquer and occupy Moscow. Also in this version, if you are careless, you can get a game over if even just a single enemy sneaks up behind your lines and occupies Warsaw(your home base). The 5th and final difficulty mode is particularly ambitious, not only offering an air force, but also giving your units the possibility of being issued a particular attack/defend command, and continuing your campaign well past March 1942.

The first game is more sandboxy, and the second game has objectives and clear losing states, so you may pick your version according to what best suits your gaming philosophy. I do see a particular kind of genius with the first version, since, as you are the designated villain in this game, a lack of a clear winnable state accurately reflects the historic accuracy of the Nazi campaign. Thus the futility and thus the inevitable doom Operation Barbarossa would have come to grips with, where the only realistic way of showing your strategic capabilities boils down to how well you can handle logistical problems during a long and harsh winter. You can do a better job at leading the army than the historical commanders might have, sure, but if Crawford wanted to make a point, it is that your war was already lost.
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Clownboss 2017-10-03T17:40:15Z
2017-10-03T17:40:15Z
3.5
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Gem Best of: A800
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Catalog

JupiterDjinn Eastern Front (1941) 2018-01-26T03:01:21Z
Atari 8-bit • US
2018-01-26T03:01:21Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
8.0
Clownboss Eastern Front (1941) 2017-10-03T17:40:15Z
Atari 8-bit • US
2017-10-03T17:40:15Z
3.5
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Gem Best of: A800
jazzbo Eastern Front (1941) 2016-06-16T22:43:41Z
Atari 8-bit • US
2016-06-16T22:43:41Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Player modes
Single-player
Media
1x Cassette

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