Overrun!

26 Jun 2022
Overrun! front cover for the Commodore 64
Overrun! front cover for the Commodore 64
OVERRUN! is a tactical simulation of small unit actions from Gary Grigsby (MECH BRIGADE, PANZER STRIKE!, TYPHOON OF STEEL) and Strategic Simulations. This advanced-level program offers both past and future scenarios, Middle Eastern and European terrain sets, strategic and tactical maps, a campaign game, menu control, a save-game option, a construction set editor, and no copy protection. This review is based on the Apple II version; Commodore 64/128 version notes follow.

OVERRUN! uses a modified version of the play system first seen in PANZER STRIKE! and TYPHOON OF STEEL. Since some of OVERRUN!'s scenarios concern possible future conflicts, alterations have been made to the system to reflect technological advances. The Apple II version looks good on a Laser 128 compatible -- an added bonus considering Apple programs usually look horrible. The two double-sided disks are not copy-protected. The construction set, while not as comprehensive as that of BATTLES OF NAPOLEON's, allows you to edit the ready-made scenarios, as well as generate random or personally-designed battles.
Overrun! for the Apple II
Overrun! for the Apple II
OVERRUN! offers four World War III scenarios set in Europe, with the Soviets and NATO forces as the combatants. Four Middle East scenarios have American, Arab, Iranian, Soviet, United Kingdom, and French forces as combatants. According to the scenario notes in the manual, the dates of the Middle East actions are hypothetical, even though the "Janos to the Rescue" scenario concerns the 1973 Arab-Israeli "October War." Each turn of a scenario consists of Orders and Combat Phases for each side; each scenario consists of 60 turn and the campaign game strings a series of battles together.

The Apple II screen display presents a scrolling map with differing terrains, depending on the scenario. Regardless of whether the scenario is set in Europe or the Middle East, certain terrain features (indicated by icons) are common to both: clear areas, roads, depressions, wood and stone buildings, trees, coasts, and water.

The Middle East terrain sets add lots of sandy deserts -- some of which cannot be crossed. Icons also indicate battle units: All kinds of vehicles, including tanks and helicopters; different weapons, and infantry units, all in various states of readiness and ability. Each type of terrain costs units a certain number of movement points; the costs differ, depending on the unit being moved; and rain has an effect.
Overrun! for the Apple II
Overrun! for the Apple II
Like most SSI simulations, OVERRUN! is controlled through menus whose myriad functions are invoked with keystrokes. The number keys (1-8) move accessed units in the eight compass directions. Other keystrokes toggle strategic and tactical maps, clear the units to reveal the terrain, change a unit's facing, access other units, set targets, pinpoint objectives, allow the computer to control a chosen unit, change a helicopter's altitude, and reveal all the pertinent statistics of any unit. Orders can be aborted and redone.

Modifications have been made to the PANZER STRIKE! play system in order to accommodate modern weapons, such as: kinetic, HE, and heat shells; reactive armor; thermal sights; helicopters; and missiles. If you've played PANZER STRIKE! or TYPHOON OF STEEL, you won't have any problem with OVERRUN! Save disks can be formatted from the Game Save Menu, and games can be saved after each Combat Phase.

The construction set allows you to modify any of the ready-made scenarios, or create an entirely new scenario -- from the size and terrain of the map, on up. Units can be configured and deployed, and objectives chosen and set. If you prefer, the computer set will generate a random scenario. In either case, whatever has been created can be saved for later use, or further editing.

While the OVERRUN! construction set editor is not as complete as that of BATTLES OF NAPOLEON's (which allows alteration of the tables that run the game), it is as good as the editors that have become part of each SSI simulation.
Overrun! for the Apple II
Overrun! for the Apple II
The OVERRUN! package comes with two double-sided disks: a game disk and a scenario disk for each theater. Although the disks are not copy-protected, there will be documentation checks. There are two manuals: a Rule Book and a Briefing Manual. The Rule Book explains everything about the game with typical SSI clarity and detail; the Briefing Manual includes notes on the scenarios, and listings of everything that you'll use to play.

It's difficult to make an SSI screen map look bad; as I said, the Apple graphic displays look just fine. The game plays exactly as it's supposed to. Since OVERRUN! is an advanced-level simulation, I can't recommend it for newcomers to wargames; there's too much to know, and too much to study. Veterans, of course, will enjoy it immensely.


COMMODORE 64/128 VERSION NOTES

The C64/128 version of SSI's OVERRUN! requires little in the way of notes here, because it's all but identical to Apple II version -- right down to the the Rule Book and Briefing Manual. The graphic displays are nearly the same, the menus work the same, and the game plays the same. You could buy the C64 disk and the Apple II Rule Book without ever knowing there was a difference between the two.
Overrun! for the Commodore 64
Overrun! for the Commodore 64
The C64's OVERRUN! disks are not copy-protected, either. The C64 Demo Disk, however, won't copy the disks properly, so you'll have to use a commercial copy utility, or the copy program in the Epyx FASTLOAD cartridge.

OVERRUN! is published by Strategic Simulations, Inc. and distributed by Electronic Arts.
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