North and South (NES)

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VideoGameCritic
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North and South (NES)

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 29th, 2020, 2:57 pm

I'm preparing this review for July 4! It really is a remarkable strategy game with arcade-style stages. The attention to detail is tremendous, not only in the graphics but the richness of gameplay.

Still, this is not a pick up and play title. I've been reviewing it for years and only recently got to a point where I can understand all the features and beat the CPU.

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velcrozombie
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Re: North and South (NES)

Postby velcrozombie » June 29th, 2020, 8:13 pm

Oh man, my cousin and I used to rent this all the time as kids. It was so much fun to blast everything on the battlefield to smithereens with your cannons, especially if you combined two or more armies together. It could be incredibly frustrating to keep your cavalry under control once you got them on the move, though. I just wanted to reek havoc when I was younger, but when we replayed the game years later found it more rewarding to gain control over the railroad and choke off your opponent's resources while your own forces grew from the surplus wealth.

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Retro STrife
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Re: North and South (NES)

Postby Retro STrife » June 30th, 2020, 9:59 am

The arcade style gameplay makes it feel more pick-up-and-play than most strategy games, but you're right that there is a lot of nuance to it. I've been playing North and South since I was a kid, so I can jump in easily and figure it out-- so it feels pick up and play to me. But even still- I was an adult before I learned a lot of the settings and features to the game. For example, it took me forever before I learned that changing the year of the war has a big impact on the gameplay. 1861 makes the game most even, 1862 is more favorable to the South, 1863 is more favorable to the North, and 1864 is very favorable to the North. In that sense, it attempts to have some historical accuracy too. You can also adjust the aggressiveness of the computer, and what effect weather, Native Americans, etc. have on the gameplay. These extra features can really swing a battle to help heighten the challenge against the computer, or to help even the playing field against a better human opponent.

For me, the star of the game will always be the direct battles. It feels like a dramatic event about to unfold when your buddy takes his North troops and moves onto your South troops.. the cannons fire and the battle is on. The battle between the infantry and horses can get really intense and strategic. The cannon feels sorta useless much of the time, but it comes in handy in some tight spots. And the fast-paced arcade stylings keep it from getting too bogged down with strategy elements, and broadens the appeal of the game to a wider audience than the usual strategy game.

The train robberies are pretty cool too, but they don't come up too often. Right place, right time to initiate those.

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Retro STrife
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Re: North and South (NES)

Postby Retro STrife » June 30th, 2020, 10:26 am

And most importantly, don't forget to click the photographer's butt during the settings screen.

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Re: North and South (NES)

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 30th, 2020, 11:33 am

The question is, why would I not click on his butt?

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Re: North and South (NES)

Postby VideoGameCritic » June 30th, 2020, 11:44 am

Anybody notice the screen that refers to Fort Sumner instead of Fort Sumter? :x

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Re: North and South (NES)

Postby Retro STrife » July 1st, 2020, 11:59 am

All this talk inspired me to hook up the NES and play a few rounds last night. First I played two games as the North, one in 1861 and one in 1862, but the games were too easy to win. They lasted only 10 minutes or so. But playing as the South in 1864 was a better challenge and a fun back-and-forth with the computer. I had the CPU on "Level 3" for all of these games. Playing last night brought up new thoughts I figured I'd share.

First off, I had forgotten how hard the Fort mini-game can be. If the CPU is raiding your fort, you can forget ever stopping them. I only remember once in my entire lifetime when I ever stopped the CPU.. it's impossible. Then when I raid the fort it's very hard to beat.. I only completed the level like once or twice in about 10 attempts last night. I initiated the train raid once too, but failed to even jump on the train in time.

As for the battles, it's a nice rock-paper-scissors dynamic. Cannons have the firepower to take out the slow Infantry. Infantry has the long-range fire to take out the Horsemen. Horsemen are fast and nimble enough to take out the Cannons. But overall, the Infantry is the best unit and it can be a tense battle when you have Infantry vs. Infantry meet up, shooting and dodging at each other.

My technique against the CPU is usually to send my Horses first, to try to take out the Cannon. While the Horses are on their way, I switch to Infantry real quick to move them away from the CPU's Cannon fire that is coming soon. After that, I usually rely on my Infantry to go after their Horses and Infantry, and adjust as needed for the situation. I don't use Cannons much unless I'm in a pinch where I can get a good shot on the CPU's Infantry.


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