One of the best Macintosh games ever made is Bolo, a great game of tank combat for up to 16 players. WinBolo is an excellent Windows port of this Mac classic that is very faithful to the original. The great gameplay is intact, and even enhanced with excellent AI (for when you can't find human friends to play against) and is even compatible with LinBolo, the Linux version.
For those of you who aren't fortunate enough [EG] to play a game on the Macintosh, here's a brief summary: WinBolo is a top-down tank battle game set on an island where the objective is to capture all the refuelling bases on the map. The game's high point is the wonderful combination of realism, strategy, reflexes, and above all teamwork - you can lay minefields that other players cannot see, hide behind trees (which you can plant!), capture pillboxes that provide automatic cover fire, and form alliances with other players. You can even pick up the pillboxes and place them later onto the map. They will then attack any enemy tank that comes within range. To add to the game's complexity, tanks enter the game with limited shells and mines, so the first thing you must do before you can attack pillboxes or other tanks is find a refuelling base to replenish the tank's supplies of shells, mines, and armor. You can also lay mines, which will leave craters on the ground when exploded. An exploding mine will also set off any adjacent mines - so a long line of mines will all go off together in a chain reaction. If you don't want this to happen, you must lay mines in a checker-board pattern so that they don't set each other off. Craters adjacent to sea or river will flood with water, so setting off a long line of mines leading to the sea will have the effect of creating an artificial river. Using this method, you can create a moat around your fortress. As well as slowing down tanks, water also damages any shells and mines carried by the tank, so any tank caught in your moat will soon be helpless. Tanks slow down when they cross craters, and speed up on roads and bridges. The complexity of WinBolo is nothing short of amazing, especially considering that the user interface is quite easy to learn (you have to memorize a few keys, however).
What makes WinBolo a truly classic (and unique) network game is the outstanding range of multiplayer options. For example, pillboxes will shoot at any tank other than yours, so to tell it not to shoot your friends, you must declare a formal alliance. This requires another player's consent, of course, and you must break an existing alliance to join a new one. Members of an alliance are immune from pillboxes they control, and they can also see each other's mines (only those that are lain after the alliance is formed, though). Soon after you learn the ropes and join a 16-player game, you will be drawn into a hectic, very dynamic gameworld of WinBolo where alliances are struck and broken on a whim, tanks engaging in firefights with pillboxes, and mines exploding all around you. Before long, you will realize that it's 2AM and that your phone company will have another happy month ;)
If you like tank combat games or even action games in general, WinBolo is a must-have. Although you can download the game for free, be sure to register the game to show how much you appreciate it - for $25, you will be supporting the shareware community as well as encouraging WinBolo author John Morrison to continue his excellent work. Must-have!
Reviewed by: Underdogs