Conqueror, Archimedes

Conqueror is a 1988 release from Superior Software, designed and programmed by Jonathan Griffiths. It’s a 3D tank game that was released as a sequel to Zarch – and it uses the same game engine.

In Conqueror you are trundling around an undulating landscape in a tank, trying to blast enemy tanks, and trying to avoid getting stuck on the landscape. Trees, buildings, rivers – they will all slow you down (and even damage you) if you drive into them. Actually driving the tank is not that straightforward…

Conqueror uses a similar control system to those seen in real tanks, which is: two separate tracks that can run backwards or forwards, which when used together move and turn the vehicle. If both tracks are running forwards the tank moves forwards at full speed. If the right track is running forwards and the left track in running backwards then the tank will turn quickly anti-clockwise. It’s a control system that is subtle, and – quite frankly – hard to learn; and made even more complicated by the fact that you can also rotate the tank’s gun turret.

While the ‘tank’ control system does make Conqueror interesting, I also think it holds the game back. A simpler control system would probably have made the game much more playable…

There are three types of games in Conqueror: Arcade, Attrition, and Strategy. Arcade is a survival game, with a never-ending stream of enemies coming at you and a goal to rack up as many points as possible. Attrition gives you a small fleet of tanks and pits you against an enemy of similar power. And Strategy is the full game, where you have to buy a small fleet of tanks and gain extra funds by completing missions, therefore giving you access to more tanks to add to your fleet. In the full game you also have artillery bombardment, spotter planes, and capture the flag type scenarios.

You can play as either American, German, or Russian tanks – recognisable replicas of those seen in action in WWII – and each tank has its own information page.

Just like in Zarch (this game’s spiritual predecessor), Conqueror‘s points scoring system is also extremely unforgiving – awarding negative points for shooting the wrong stuff or even for dying! It’s borderline unfair and means that you have to be extremely careful when shooting things, which takes some of the fun away from playing the game.

Conqueror was a critical success on the Archimedes and was later ported to other home computer systems by Rainbow Arts.

More: Conqueror on Wikipedia

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