Military Madness (PC Engine)

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PC Engine, February 1989
            Series : Nectaris
         Developer : Hudson Soft
             Genre : Turn-based strategy
          Features : Password Save
          Graphics : Hex Grid
    Metagame Class : FCU
        Other Tags : Greatest Covers

      Achievements : retroachievements.org

not completed.
screenshot
Image source: mobygames.com

Passwords / Cheat Codes

  • Normal campaign passwords:

    MAP 1 REVOLT
    MAP 2 ICARUS
    MAP 3 CYRANO
    MAP 4 RAMSEY
    MAP 5 NEWTON
    MAP 6 SENECA
    MAP 7 SABINE
    MAP 8 ARATUS
    MAP 9 GALIOS

Facts

  • The 6 hexagons around a unit is called it's Zone Of Control (ZOC). Enemy units can only move 1 hex per turn inside the ZOC.

  • Support Effect: Adjacent allied units contribute 50% of their attack power to an attacking unit. Similarly, they contribute 50% of their defense power to a defending unit.

  • Surround Effect: If there is an allied unit in front of and behind a defending enemy unit, their attack and defense will be halved.

  • I generated a unit table using ChatGPT from Ian Of Moore's FAQ:

    --------------------------------------
    Unit Name        Mov Rng Atk  Atk  Def
                             Gnd  Air     
    --------------------------------------
    INFANTRY UNITS                        
    Charlie GX-77    3   1   10   10   4  
    Kilroy GX-87     2   1   40   10   10 
    Panther CBX-1    9   1   10   10   8  
    
    GROUND UNITS                          
    Bison S-61       6   1   50   -    40 
    Lenet TT-1       5   1   45   -    30 
    Polar PT-6       4   1   60   -    60 
    Grizzly T-79     4   1   70   -    50 
    Slagger GS-81    7   1   50   -    50 
    Titan GT-86      5   1   60   -    50 
    Giant HMB-2      2   1   90   40   80 
    
    AIRCRAFT UNITS                        
    Eagle AX-87      10  1   70   20   30 
    Falcon FX-1      12  1   -    90   30 
    Hunter EF-88     11  1   70   70   50 
    
    ARTILLERY UNITS                       
    Hadrian SG-4     4   5   45   -    30 
    Octopus MR-22    4   4   60   -    30 
    Atlas SS-80      -   6   90   -    20 
    
    MISSILE BUGGIES                       
    Rabbit MB-5      8   1   70   10   20 
    Lynx MB-4        6   1   40   10   20 
    
    ANTI-AIR UNITS                        
    Seeker-AAG-4     6   1   30   65   30 
    Hawkeye MM107    5   5   -    85   30 
    
    TRANSPORTATION                        
    Mule NC-1        6   1   10   10   10 
    Pelican C-61     9   -   -    -    10 
    
    MINES                                 
    Trigger M-77     -   -   -    -    80 
    --------------------------------------
    
  • I learned from Ra226's nice Let's Play videos that you can bait the AI into attack less critical units to protect more important units, for instance, they might attack a Hawkeye anti-air tank if it's in front of other units, even though the enemy has no air units left, making it unusable.

  • A collection of tips:
    - Bait: You can bait the enemy to attack non-essential units in order to protect essential units. In fact, the enemy might focus on the weakest unit, such as infantry.
    - Terrain: Carefully place your units in terrain with high defense.
    - Pick your spot: If it's beneficial, let the enemy come to you. You don't have to attack.
    - Support and Surround: For the purpose of ZOC blocking, Support, and Surround, any friendly unit affects any enemy unit and vice versa, regardless of whether they can attack each other, and whether they are air and ground units, respectively. You can ZOC block a tank with a plane, Surround a plane with infantry, etc.

  • Experience Matters: 7+ star units have double the Attack and Defense rating of a rookie unit.

Analysis

  • I've been thinking about how games with hexagonal grids and tile-based backgrounds work together. Home computer strategy games has had hex grids since 1979, but it's more rare in console games. Rendering a hexagonal grid on framebuffer-based hardware isn't very complicated, but doing it using tiles is less trivial. I noticed that certain strategy games of the 8-bit and 16-bit generation such as 'Nobunagas Ambition' (1986) which was ported to everything had hex grids on home computers but rectangular tiles on consoles where every other horizontal tile is offset half a tile. This implies the same neighbor relationship as with a hex grid, but is much simpler to implement on tile-based hardware. This game and Master of Monsters are early examples of nice looking hex grids on a console that only has tile-based backgrounds and no framebuffer.

  • I investigated the VRAM tile data in Mednafen, and it seems like the maps are not made using hardware tiles, but rather, the whole screen is directly represented in VRAM, emulating a frame buffer. When the hexagonal tiles are drawn as an overlay, they are drawn to the VRAM tile data. Implementing a frame buffer for a strategy game where the background is rarely updated makes sense.

  • When the grid lines are being drawn, it happens over several frames, and you can see individual lines being drawn.

Log entries

    2020-07-11
  • To an Amiga person like me, this is exactly like Battle Isle. Which is pretty cool.
  • Password CYRANO.
  • 2023-12-12
  • I played through mission 1-4 while watching Oliver Stone's 'JFK' on TV. Weird movie. Next mission is NEWTON.

  • 2023-12-13
  • I replayed MAP 3 and 4, recording them. I attempted MAP 5 several times, it's getting trickier.

  • 2024-01-16
  • I finally beat MAP 5 by improving my strategies, using bait, terrain, and picking my spots.

  • I'm apparently better at the game now, I beat STAGE 6 and 7 without many issues.

  • 2024-01-19
  • Completed MAP 8 using tips from Ra226's videos, specifically blocking the factory access with a mine and attracting enemy plane fire by leaving a weak unit vulnerable as bait.


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