Review: North & South (Amiga 500) (1989)

North & South Title (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
North & South Title (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

Review of North & South for the Amiga 500

Introduction

North & South is a strategy game that takes place during the American Civil War (1861 to 1865). It was both developed and published by a company called Infogrames in the year of 1989. The game was ported to several platforms, like the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and the ZX Spectrum. We’re going to have a look at the Amiga 500 version in this review.

Infogrames (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Infogrames (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

If you are interested in comics, you might be thrilled to learn that North & South is loosely based on a comic series called The Bluecoats (Les Tuniques Bleues is the original Belgian title). You can find more information about The Bluecoats at Wikipedia by clicking here.

Setting up the game

When you start North & South, you’ll reach a selection screen where you can choose your language. You can choose between French, English, German, Spanish and Italian. The startup-anthem will change depending upon the language you select. If you decided on Spanish, you’ll hear a parody of the Spanish national anthem for example. This is a nice humoristic feature.

The language selection screen (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
The language selection screen (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

After you’ve selected your language, you’ll reach the main menu. Here you can configure your game.

The main menu (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
The main menu (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

As you can see from the picture, you can choose between The Union (Bluecoats) or The Confederacy (Greycoats). You can also click on the guy at the arcade machine. This will cause the AI to decide the outcome of battles for you, so you don’t have to play them. I’d advise against that, as fighting it out on the battlefield can be seen as the most important element in the game. Other options are bad weather (hinders movement, so that your army can get stuck) and Indians and Mexicans. If you choose the latter, you can count on being ambushed by Indians during gameplay or attacked by a Mexican carrying a big bomb. This is of course bad news for your armies. Still, it makes the game a bit more difficult which is good for experienced players. You’ve probably noticed the ship as well. By activating this function, you can get reinforcements by sea if you control a specific state. Nice. πŸ™‚ You can also select which year to start your campaign. The earlier the year, the fewer armies you are in control over.

It’s worth mentioning that North & South sports a two-player mode. It’s here that the game truly shows how cool it is. It’s great fun playing against a friend and you’ll be laughing and shouting at each other along the way. Highly recommended!

It’s positive that North & South can be customized as much as this, as you can make the game either easy or hard. This is good for both greenhorns and hardy veterans.

Before we move on, I must mention a very important thing with the menu. Try clicking on the photographers butt.. then see what happens! πŸ™‚

We’re ready to play

The first thing you’ll meet is the main map. Here’s a snapshot:

The main map (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
The main map (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

As you can see, there are several armies placed around the map. Your goal is to wipe out your enemy, be it grey or blue, from the face of the Earth. To initiate combat, simply move one of your “pieces” into a garrisoned state. A battle-screen will then appear:

Ready for battle? (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Ready for battle? (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Crossing the Potomac (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Crossing the Potomac (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

Both sides are in control of a cannon crew, cavalry and infantry. Sometimes the numbers of units differ, as you can merge armies or meet a group that has suffered casualties. The battles are quite fun with cool sound effects and hectic gameplay. It’s not easy to win the first time, but you’ll learn quickly.

Conventional battles are fine, but this game has more in store for you. Some states have forts.. To win these regions over to your side, you must send in a guy to raise your flag at the base. This is more like a platform-challenge and can be a bit tough to master. Have a look at the screenshot for more information:

The fort (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
The fort (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

Last, but not least, there’s the train robberies. In typical Wild West style, one of your soldiers boards a train filled with huge sacks of money. If you succeed in reaching the driver of the locomotive in time (notice the counter on the bottom of the screenshot), you’ll get all the cash! This will in turn be used to supply you with additional armies. Like forts, the train robberies are all about platform gaming skills. Do you have what it takes?

Train robbery a'la 1863 (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)
Train robbery a'la 1863 (screenshot by Old School Game Blog)

As you’ve probably noticed already, the graphics in this game are quite good. Especially if we consider the year of release, namely 1989. The cartoonish style of the drawings fits the overall theme well. The sound effects do also live up to the general theme, since they are quite humoristic. Good stuff!

The Verdict

North & South is a fun strategy game for your Amiga. It is easy to learn, but it will take some time to master at the highest difficulty. This is good for the lastability. Since the game is based on a comic, the cartoonish style of both graphics and sound fits the overall theme in a fine way. The multiplayer-mode is a big plus, as North & South truly shows its colours when you are up against another human. The game can be customized in a variety of ways, which is helpful for new or seasoned gamers.

This game can be recommended to everyone, whether your passions are tied to platformers, shooters or puzzles. North & South is a Civil War game for everyone. Highly recommended!

You can download North & South via the link below:

North & South at Planetemu

6 comments

  1. I can’t believe I forgot about this game for some time already. This brings back some really great memories.

    >Before we move on, I must mention a very important thing with the menu. Try clicking on the >?>photographers butt.. then see what happens!

    How could one forget. πŸ™‚

    Great review mate. This is certainly on my to play list now.

  2. Heya outstanding website! Does running a blog similar to this
    take a lot of work? I’ve no understanding of coding however I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyway, if you have any ideas or techniques for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic nevertheless I just had to ask. Thanks a lot!

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