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Game #777
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Nuclear War    View all Top Dogs in this genreCollection: Indie Underdogs
War   Strategic scope

Rating: 8.45 (474 votes)

Nuclear War box cover

Nuclear War screenshot
One of the better games in the niche sub-genre of tongue-in-cheek strategy, Nuclear Warlets you unleash a nation's nuclear might at other nations headed by equally sadistic leaders, all witty caricatures of real-life world leaders. The big stars in this game are Infidel Castro, Jimi Farmer, Tricky Dick, Mao the Pun, P. M. Satcher, Ronnie Raygun, Ghanji, Gorbatchef, Col. Khadaffy, Kookamamie and you, Hans Meier. You compete against 4 opponents, any of which can be computer- or human-controlled. Play options in each turn is mostly limited to three choices: using "propaganda" on an opponent to try to get his or her opponent to defect into your own country, nuking someone, or setting up some nuke-protection facilities if you fear you are the next target. Since you can only do one action per round, you must choose carefully. From time to time you will be given the option to produce some weapons, but what your people produce is more or less random.

The limited gameplay options in Nuclear War reduce the game to a boring guessing game, especially after you notice that each enemy has a favorite strategy he or she always uses. For instance, Ghanji and Farmer always use Propaganda, while Ronnie, Kookamamie and Khadaffy love nuking. If you are very unlucky, all four enemies can choose to attack you first, thereby ending the game right after the first turn. Definitely not a good game design. What saves the game, to some, are the jokes that your enemies crack during the game, and various random events that look like cheap gags but are fun to watch nonetheless. You might see a town suddenly lift off into space, or UFOs land on your terrotory. If you don't appreciate this kind of dead-pan or political humor, however, you will find Nuclear War just another badly executed "light" game that is full of good ideas, but lacking in gameplay.

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Eric Hyman & Jon Van Caneghem
Developer: New World Computing
Publisher: New World Computing
Year: 1991
Software Copyright: New World Computing
Theme: Apocalypse Now, Humorous
System Requirements: DOS
Where to get it:   Flying Buffalo
Related Links:  
If you like this game, try: Mega Lo Mania, Nuclear War 3: Ground Zero, Proliferation

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