Liberty or Death Super NES
Review by Kevin Oleniacz Koei Strategy
Graphics: 6 Sound: 5 Gameplay: 5 Overall: 5

On my ancient Commodore 64, I have a war simulation entitled Sons of Liberty. Among its features were several historic scenarios, fast-paced resolution of the action, and complex strategy. I anticipated more of the same from this modern, 16-bit treatment of the Revolutionary War... but Liberty or Death falls a bit short of these expectations.

A thick manual full of pertinent historical information and varied combat and governmental data set the groundwork for the campaigns ahead. Controlling either the British or the colonists, attempt to capture a maximum of fifty-three districts comprised of the thirteen original colonies and parts of Florida and Canada. You can also claim victory by eliminating the entire enemy force or your opponent surrenders, whichever comes first.

The governmental phase is initated at the beginning of each quarter. Prepare budgets by appropriating funds to the military and district governors. Determine officer salaries, rations, powder and arms, distribution, naval support, and promotions. During the command phase, lead your troops into battle, purchase materials, recruit soldiers, award bonuses to officers, offer bribes, transport troops or materials, grant furloughs, or train your regiments. During battle mode, zoom up close to the battlefield. One can charge into melee with any cavalry units, order bayonet charges, build or blow up bridges, and set up ambushes. As strategy games go, this is an excellent challenge. In addition to battle tactics, one must have keen management skills when dealing with the morale of your officers and troops, as well as the overall support of each district's citizens. Occasional parades, furloughs, and publication of costly gazettes help strengthen these intangibles.

The overall sounds and graphics are quite limited. An overhead map populated with fleet and military icons make up nearly all of the graphics. The sounds, while good, are scarce - booming cannons, marching, gunfire, and a droning revolutionary tune max out the audio department. What is most important for simulations is the realism, variety, and ease of play. There are many choices and lots of opportunities for battle in Liberty or Death. Random historical events, such as the Declaration of Independence and the defection of Benedict Arnold can occur after accomplishing certain objectives. Attrition, weather elements, mutiny, and foreign intervention can occur, just like in our history books.

My sharpest criticism concerns the speed of the gameplay, or rather lack thereof. Attempting to complete your goals when dominating the map can be quite a drag; often this occurs at a snail's pace. The realism, accuracy of real events and flexibility are the high points, while the graphics, sounds, and pace leave something to be desired.

TIP: Transport all available men, weapons, and rations to the battlefront. Use the Navy to transport goods from distant districts.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Thursday, December 04, 2003 01:18 PM