North & South is a famous Commodore Amiga game. In simplest terms, it’s a tongue-in-cheeck American Civil War strategy-cum-arcade game, with characters from a popular French comic strip called Les Tuniques Bleues. The name of the comic strip means ‘Blue Tunics,’ which refer to the Union side (‘North’ in the game). The game is played on a US map where you make strategic-level decisions such as where to move your army, recruit more soldiers, and link up the towns with railway to transport the ever-important gold. Armies are represented by single soldiers, with flags indicating which territories are held by which army (if an area doesn’t have a flag then it’s unoccupied and up for grabs). When you move into a state occupied by the opposite side or vice versa, a battle occurs, and the game zooms into the action. This is undoubtedly the best part of the game. You will be looking down across either a canyon or a field, seeing your units (artillery, cavalry and infantry) shown as little groups. Fighting is a simple matter of choosing which unit to move where, and watching your battle represented with amusing, well-animated soldiers.
When you see your cavalry charge over the bridges, you can’t help but feel the excitement. And it doesn’t stop there. The game is full of many fun mini-arcade games, such as when you try to break up the opposition’s railway line by taking over a state between two towns. To do that, you will sprint along the top of a train, trying to get the driver’s seat to stop it (this bears an uncanny similarity to one level in Back to The Future III). When you try to wrest control of a town from the enemy, you will infiltrate the enemy fort in side-scrolling platformer fashion, throwing knives and punches at enemy soldiers on your way to raising your standard on their flagpole. With a near-perfect balance between action and strategy, smooth animations, and humorous gameplay, North & South is an addictive, original classic, especially when you play against a friend. Anyone expecting a realistic wargame based on the conflict should look elsewhere, but anyone who is looking for a fun (especially in multiplayer) strategy game with a historical motif will find North & South a fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.