Wages of War: The Business of Battle
Windows - 1996
Description of Wages of War: The Business of Battle
As a major fan of tactical games like X-Com, Jagged Alliance, and its successful sequel Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games, I was cautiously excited when I saw the preview of Wages of War. I say cautious because a fair amount of tactical squad level games have come out in the last few years but perhaps only three of these came to the plate with any solid offerings. Still I was excited! The preview had a solid crisp look for a tactical turn based game and the promise of a true focus on realism was very seductive and largely missed by other title releases. Although the general theme of Wages of War shares more than a passing similarity to the Jagged Alliance titles, it does manage to create its own unique environment.
The story so far
The setting of Wages of War is played out in the Post-Apocalyptic near future in the year 2001. You're the owner of the Mercenary company, Merc Inc, and are competing against other Mercenary companies to build your companies profits and reputation to rival and surpass your competition. To do this you handle the hiring of up to 8 Mercs (from a selection of 60 mercs with varying attributes, experience, and backgrounds) for each mission.
To start, negotiate contracts with potential clients and haggle over money and time needed to complete the mission. After accepting the contract you must choose an intelligence clearinghouse to gather information on the coming mission. Choose your intelligence broker with care, as each of the three clearinghouses will offer you varying degrees of information. This is further modified by the time frame you allow the clearinghouse to gather the information.
Now for the fun, a huge selection of weapons and equipment are available for lease from up to three different black-market weapons brokers. That right, ... LEASE. You see, in the future it's a no-no to own weapons of war, so your company must lease all weapons and equipment. It's about time to make travel arrangements from a list of three itineraries, the difference is solely based on how fast you want to expedite the team to the mission destination. Several days after completing travel arrangements your weapons and Mercenaries should arrive. Now taking careful thought of their unique abilities you outfit your team.
Now it's time for action! Well, almost. First you may want to spend a couple of days training your mercenaries for the mission; while it's not mandatory it may give your Mercenaries the edge they need to successfully complete the mission. Finally the mission starts and you're in the action, or I should say directing the action via radio contact with your mercenaries. As mercenary commander you direct your team through a variety of mission objectives and occasionally some suprises to complete your client's contract. Weather, morale, luck, and tactics are all factors that will help decide the day.
Wages of War offers several innovative concepts not seen (or at least done competently) in titles of this type before. For instance, initiative based combat breaks from the 'Player's turn / Computer's turn' standard fare. Initiative based combat ranks all the combatants on the field (the player's Mercs ratings are based on their Experience and Will attributes). Movement/action is decided in order of the highest rated combatants (regardless of player or computer) to lowest. Even though the tactical squad games have modeled realism to some degree or another, it becomes apparent that none have the scope of realism offered by this release. If one of the mercenaries come under fire, even if not hit, he may still become suppressed resulting in a reductionloss of action points. Weather also has an active effect on combat. Thinking of lobbing a smoke grenade? Don't forget to take the wind into account. Getting a little rain? Think twice before you run your merc's full speed around the battlefield, or they may be hobbling back to base.
The WOW factor!
Wages of War also seemed to take the time to improve a number of elements in this title over other titles of its type. Wages of War includes an impressive array of weapons and equipment to be used on missions by your Mercenaries. Some of the weapons included are Bushmaster's, Uzi's, BAR's, M-60's, crossbows, knives and if need be, fists! At the beginning of the campaign much of the weapons stock is limited and is subject to availability, but rest assured a large selection of handguns, machineguns, shotguns, rifles, grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons, mortars, knives, grenades as well as other pieces of equipment will be available throughout the campaign. Wages of War battlefield graphics are in a crisp SVGA and (for the most part) impressive. Wages of War also adds nuances that intensify the focus on realism, things like vehicles, helicopters, and attack guard dogs. Additionally the design of Wages of War emulates three-dimensional space very well on the battlefield, although not with true height level modeling.
The HUH factor!
That's it! We have the next classic!! Right? Well, a few things do fall short. As you prepare for missions, mission management suffers from a poor interface design. Each phase of the management consists of taking a phone call and faxing your response (sometimes multiple faxes in a single phase). To give you an idea: Phone rings (client), get fax (client's offer), return fax (haggle/accept offer) and possibly repeat fax to haggle more, and next phase phone rings (intelligence groups), get fax (list of groups and price), send fax (sending choices in), and next phase repeat, and next phase. Yes, (singing) lets do the fax dance again.
The manual, while complete, is minimal and offers little to no help with the quirky interface and is no help in combating the persistent vagueness of the missions. The combat interface suffers from similar problems and will take getting used to; everything here is plainly not intuitive. While the battlefields are a graphic delight, some people may be disappointed that most things cannot be destroyed on the map. Mercenary voices are effective but do little to add to the feel of the game, as they are identical and generic for all your mercenaries. Still worse, some of the supporting voiceovers are downright cheesy.
The thing I found most suprising are things that are missing that most gamers expect in a release of this type. No multiplayer, no scenario editor, no campaign creator, and with only 16 (!!) scenarios in the campaign, it severely limits replayability. Wages of War lost a lot of ground here on an otherwise ground breaking title.
Still in all this title offers many new ideas and a true focus on realism that hasn't been seen in a game of this type before. Even hobbled by interface problems and missing features Wages of War brings enough to the table to be an excellent addition to the game library of any serious fans of tactical squad-level games. It is a must for serious gamers who have wanted more realism in the genre but found the current titles lacking. However more casual gamers may be frustrated by its interface problems, quirkiness, and lack of replayabilty and may want to pass.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
Suq Madik 2021-10-28 1 point
ITS NOT ON SALE! NOT ANYWHERE - DAFUK U DOIN'?
GreatAnvil 2021-10-17 1 point
Like The Vector said, this game doesn't seem to be for sale at all. I think the purchase restriction should be removed
The Vector 2021-09-11 1 point
Hey, the buy button doesn't lead to a game store that have this game. ziggurat game store doesn't have this title anymore.
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Buy Wages of War: The Business of Battle
Wages of War: The Business of Battle is available for a small price on the following websites, and is no longer abandonware. GOG.com provides the best release and does not include DRM, please buy from them! You can read our online store guide .
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