Iron Storm
Sega/Shin Force
Iron Storm

Sega/Shin Force > Systems > Sega Saturn > Games > Iron Storm

Shin Force ~ Saturn ~ Iron Storm / World Advanced Daisenryaku: Koutetsu no Senpuu :: Reviews
Sega (JPN)
Working Designs
1x CD
Import / Domestic
Sep 22, 1995
  ¥7,800 (Japan)
May 8, 1996 
  $59.95 (USA)
Not released
  £ (EUR)
Top Down
War / Strategy
     > The Daisenryaku series was licensed by SystemSoft for play on all major Sega consoles, starting in 1989 with Super Daisenryaku for the Mega Drive. Iron Storm (known as World Advanced Daisenryaku: Koutetsu no Senpuu in Japan) is an addition to the long running Sega series of war/strategy games, Advanced Daisenryaku. Thanks to the localization and tweaking efforts of Working Designs, this is the first iteration to be released in America. It's a hexagon map, turn-based affair that's reminiscent of a board game. Another way to describe it is 'advanced world war chess'.

     > This game is right up my alley; I love strategy, tactics, war, history, and simulation. One can learn a little about World War II, while passing many hours fighting for the Allies or Axis. To some degree, the player can change history in Iron Storm by changing the user's country and winning certain battles. I'm not an expert on this series (since it's the first one I've fully enjoyed), but it's pretty obvious that this game was the first in integrate real-time 3D rendered battles. It simply wasn't possible on Mega Drive. Among war games I've played, this one surely has top notch depth, and a reasonable learning curve.

     > It's a fairly difficult game to fully comprehend if one is interested in playing the import version. I don't recommend it without the ability to read Japanese. So the importability is very low: 25%.

     > I'd say the graphic representation of the maps, military units, and charts is just right. Let's not lose sight of the fact, this is essentially a board game. The feature that shines, though, is when one watches the animated battle scenes. Wow! The 3D rendered battles were way cool in 1996. Thankfully, one can opt out of viewing these, as it would take an eternity to watch an entire war's worth for animations. Another feature that's notable is the 3D rendered view of individual units, which are x/y axis rotatable, while accessing their info page. Overall, nicely done -- it will impress!
     > Each mission has specific losing, succeeding and complete winning parameters. For the most part, the player simply moves units, goes into battle, and takes over cities and ports. Tactical maps can be accessed, as well as complete unit statistics. Hint: always know the attack and move distance of the enemy.

     > The player has complete control over an army of land, sea, and air units. A turn essentially consists of strategically manipulating units: (optionally) selecting armament, moving and battling, then removing and allocating/buying new ones. Iron Storm also has great gameplay options: like a weather toggle (can't bomb when it's cloudy); sight distance toggle (see everything or limit to unit sight distance); supply toggle (automatically or manually re-supply units - costs money), and animation toggle (view 3D battle animations). Lastly, the obligatory save feature is welcomed, since a mission can take in excess of 12 hours to complete. 

     > When it comes to tactics and strategy, Iron Storm reigns supreme. When moving units, the player must consider weather, fuel, unit strength (1-10), terrain, relative position, plus unit experience and training. It sounds more complicated than it is. All this information and complete stat sheets are at the player's fingertips, and are cleanly displayed for ease of use. A large portion of winning fights can be boiled down to the unit's training and experience stats. To gain the highest ranked training and experience, the unit must consistently win without losing too much strength. Healing a unit will water down its train/exp stats. Once the unit gets to a certain point, in can be upgraded (Campaign Mode only). Altogether: expertly devised battle system.

     > Since Iron Storm is somewhat of a war simulation, I had low expectations for the music. Well, I was pleasantly surprised by the themes (which are selectable) in this game. They all seem to capture the spirit of the country they're asociated with. I like the German and American themes the best. Nicely done.

     > The sound effects are good; they include explosions, battleship guns firing, soldiers marching, liberated city cheers, various propeller engine sounds, tank tracks, and ships gliding across water. The one odd aspect is the fact that jet and rocket powered aircraft use a propeller effect. Doh! Anyway, a job well done.

     > There's many hours of concentrated thought, planning, and execution to enjoy. Iron Storm has two modes: Standard and Campaign. There's no difficulty setting (which is fine), and the computer doesn't appear to "cheat". The player's CPU controlled allies, on the other hand, do sometimes seem to be really dumb. The good news is, one can take control of allied forces, as well as the enemy (in Standard Mode only). As time goes on, naturally, the equipment available gets more high tech and lethal.

     > The Standard Mode presents an array of missions to choose from, which take place throughout WWII (and a little beyond). Each mission is independant with differing countries and parameters, and can be repeated as one would like. Units gain experince and training, but do not carry over between missions in this mode. This is great if one just wants to play a simple scenario. If D-Day is enticing, then just play that mission -- and so on.

     > The Campaign Mode is a set of related missions, depending on which of three countries one decides to control: America, Germany, or Japan. Victory in each mission brings the player closer to winning the war. This time, units carry over training and experience between missions, and can thus be allocated at no cost (as long as they're not defeated in battle). The player can simulate an entire WWII career in this mode. The best war game I've fully experienced so far.

Bottom Line
     > Iron Storm made one of my gaming dreams come true in 1996: to play a strategic war simulation on a console that has depth, while maintaining accessibility. I just spent the last week playing the heck out of this game (again), and it's surely timeless fun. That's really all you need to know. If one doesn't appreciate war, strategy, and turn-based combat, then go play [insert generic FPS game] and get out of my face. At any rate, it's time to "Commence Operations".
Overall: 9.1 | Graphics: 8.5 | Control: 9.5 | Sound: 8.5 | Fun: 10
~ Shinobi ~

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