Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle Review

Napoleon has been lauded as one of the greatest military leaders in history and his exploits had a profound effect on the course of European history. In spite of this, there has been surprisingly little treatment of his exploits in the world of computer games. Strategy First and Breakaway Games try to rectify this situation with Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle, which covers Napoleon's most infamous defeat and one of history's most famous battles.

Waterloo is played in real-time, although the pace of the game can be set to several different speed settings and commands can be given to units while the game is paused. This strikes a balance between those who prefer more realistic action and war gaming veterans who like to place a lot of thought into every move - the game can essentially be played at a pace with which you are comfortable.

Units can be selected and issued orders on the regimental or brigade level. To order a unit to move, the mouse is placed on the unit and dragged to the unit's desired new location. The unit's formation and speed are controlled by icons which line the bottom of the game screen.

Waterloo places a large emphasis on the leaders present at the battle. The leaders are used to move troops at the brigade level, rally routed units, and to scout for enemy approaches. Such famous leaders as Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington are represented in the game and contribute to its feel of authenticity.

Veteran's of Sid Meier's Gettysburg will not have much trouble learning Waterloo as the game is based on the Gettysburg engine. Waterloo's designers did make changes to the game, though, to reflect the fact that Waterloo took place nearly fifty years before Gettysburg. There are different formations available and the game has an increased emphasis on cavalry - well timed and placed cavalry charges are critical to success in Waterloo.

The game comes with over 30 scenarios of varying length and scope. These include historical engagements which allow you to focus on a single part of the battle or to replay it in its entirety, as well as some speculative scenarios of the 'what if' variety. In addition, there is a scenario designer which allows you to create your own custom battles