The Great War: 1914-1918
DOS - 1993
Also released on: Amiga
Description of The Great War: 1914-1918
History Line (released as The Great War: 1914 - 1918 in the US by SSI) is a World War 1 tactical wargame based on an improved and modified engined used in Blue Byte's earlier Battle Isle games. It is one of the few tactical World War 1 wargames to be made for the PC, and is a fun and enjoyable game, although shortcomings and awkward controls will take a while to get used to.
When the game starts, you see the Main Menu, and can change some of the options and the keyboard controls (the game also supports the mouse), and also enter a map code if you have unlocked hidden maps. Starting a new game, you can choose to play the Allies (France) or the Central Powers (Germany). The game starts with a battle in August 1914, with Germany invading France. Every two months, there is a battle, for a total of 24. You also are encouraged to try to preserve your units, for they will gain experience and become more powerful.
The game is unique in having a split screen -- one side plays on the left side, and the other on the right. While the computer or the other player (History Line supports 'hot seat' play) is making their moves, you can also make yours on the other side. With the exception of different units or new maps, there is not much of a difference to separate the two sides. Once you finish the game as one side, there is not much incentive to play the other.
The objective in History Line is simple -- in each battle, destroy the other sides army or take their HQ. Each turn is divided into two phases -- the Move Phase, and the Orders Phase. In the Move phase, you plan your moves, and then both sides move at the same time. In the Orders phase, you plan your attacks, then you see the results in a short graphical clip (which can be turned off once you get bored with them). The battle continues in this fashion until one side or the other is defeated. There are also depots and factories that start of either on your side or neutral. If you occupy them, you can 'use' units that are in them, as well as repair damaged units if you have enough energy points left. Units vary and are historically accurate, ranging from Infantry to Cavalry to various kinds of Artillery. However, they don't need to be resupplied, which reduces the historical accuracy of the game somewhat.
The graphics are simple VGA shapes and design, old looking but still pleasing to the eye and you can see everything clearly and recognize a unit from its graphic alone. The music and sound effects are good but get tedious after a while. One of my biggest complaints about the game is the controls. They are awkward, to say the least. To get a unit to do anything, you place the cursor over it and hold down the mouse button, which brings up a 'X' over the unit. Then, you move the mouse in one direction or the other to execute orders -- down to bring up information on the unit, or up to move it, for example, and then let the mouse button go to execute it. Slow, tedious, and awkward. You also do the same thing to switch from one mode to the other. Bringing units out of depots, factories, and your HQ is a similar process. You also need to press F1 to actually CONFIRM that you are ready to go on, and the only time you can save is by pressing the right key DURING that confirmation phase! Needless to say, you will HAVE to read the manual before you play this game. Its too bad, really, because besides the controls and the keyboard, the learning curve is not that bad.
In summary, this is a fun tactical wargame, unique for being one of the only ones to be set in the First World War. There is not a WHOLE lot to make this game stand out from other tactical wargames, though, although it is historically accurate for the most part and challenging to play. Once you get used to the awkward controls, the game keeps you interested until you finally give up or finish the game on your side. However, the replay value is quite low, although playing with someone else can lengthen it.
Overall, a good wargame for it's day that doesn't stand the test of time too well. Interesting, but probably will appeal only to casual wargamers.
Bonus -- by pressing ESC key a couple of times, you can bring up a 'History Lesson' in which the game shows what was going on in the world -- war related and otherwise -- for the two months that are covered in the battle you are currently fighting. This is not mentioned in the manual, and is a nice touch, so I thought I would mention it. :)
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Till 2020-05-06 -1 point
@Admin / @Zoltan
No, it's available via GOG.
It's Part of the Battle Isle Platinum Pack from Blue Byte.
Zoltan 2020-04-18 0 point
Woah! Awesome - this changes the terms of the quarantine! Cheers dude, well worth the coffees! :D
Zoltan 2020-04-17 0 point
Hi there. You've listed this as "buy from GOG" but the game isn't available there. Unless I'm searching for the wrong thing. I tried this title, as well as "History Line" (which is how my copy was called ) but nothing came up (2020.04.17). Would you be able to reupload if the game is once again abandonware? Cheers!
Henry 2018-10-06 0 point DOS version
Hi to all
I tried all, but it's impossible for me to start the game. I did all, but the dosbox still is black. The box stays black. Nothing happens. What do I have to do?
Kong Dario 2018-02-22 0 point Amiga version
I loved this game in the 90's - played it a lot with my Amiga Friend - great game :-)
Miss the battles with my friend that I allways won ;-)
yojebo 2017-08-03 0 point
My computer took soo long between turns to calculate, that i spent a fortune to upgrade it from 4 MB RAM to 8 MB RAM (that was MegaByte) LOL
SSG69 2016-08-22 1 point
I played this game (german version: "History Line 1914-18", but it is the same game) months... Several times I played it with my friend. A sheet of paper was hung on the monitor, so that everyone could see only his units / movement / attacks and it went off. I never forget a game: after 15 hours non stop, gave the friend up, although he could still fight over 8 hours, ... he would lost nevertheless and he knew it. ;)
Wistysboy 2015-04-23 1 point DOS version
I bought this in '93 when it came out and it gave me MONTHS of fun. It's also quite educational with the end of map scrolling history text. I started playing it again about 10 years ago at Christmas and have completed all the maps at least once a year since. It's terribly addictive, trying to complete them as perfectly as possible. There are some good walkthrough sites now (if you google them) that suggest alternative strategies. The replay value of this game is almost infinite and I have lost count of the amount of times I've replayed it. For those not comfortable with DOSBOX, you can buy a packaged Win7 version for a small fee from www.GOG.com which comes with all the original Battle Isle games as well.
iggy 2014-12-21 1 point DOS version
wonderful guys, haven't played this since my amiga died.
used 'dos box' and 'd fend' to run on win 7
BobLeBlob 2014-09-18 -1 point DOS version
I love It . I bought it by myself in about 1994. lost it and now found it again. Thank you
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The Great War: 1914-1918 is available a small price on the following websites, and is no longer abandonware. GoG.com provide the best releases and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide.
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