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Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!, Windows 95 CD-ROM, Electronic Arts/Firaxis Games, $50-$60.

Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!, is a real-time regimental/brigade-level simulation of one of the critical battles of the American Civil War. The game is rich in historical detail and background information. Video of re-enactors, detailed animations and a thorough background section in the Don Troiani­illustrated manual give players an understanding of the nature of warfare in the period, as well as the importance of the battle. The game is easily learned from a concise and detailed manual, plus several excellent tutorials and a tactics guide, which aids in mastering both game controls and combat principles.

Game play is quick, and the interface is outstanding in its simplicity and level of control. The detailed maps are a visual treat, without sacrificing any performance when the player moves around them. The game mechanics are realistic, emphasizing formation, maneuver and position as the keys to victory. Postbattle replays give commanders a useful tool in analyzing the flow of the battle and allowing them to pinpoint their mistakes and learn from them.

Players have the option of running individual scenarios, a series of linked scenarios covering the entire battle, or random and customizable scenarios. The computer is a challenging opponent, and the game supports head-to-head, modem, Internet and LAN play. Sid Meier’s Gettysburg! definitely belongs on the shelf of any gamer or Civil War enthusiast.

Michael Breen