Pathway to Glory «

Tactical RPGs are great, aren’t they? It’s like an extension of chess, rewarding not fast reflexes, but deep thought. You have so many choices to make, and you never know which will lead to victory or defeat. If you go down in a burning heap, there’s no one else to blame. I think that’s why it’s one of my favorite gaming genres.

The military sub-genre of tactical RPGs has always been strong. The 16-bit days brought Herzog Zwei and Military Madness, which were both excellent. No one can forget the Advance Wars series, which won tons of awards and drained countless batteries. In my humble opinion, Pathway to Glory is on that same level.

This Ain’t Checkers

Even hardcore gamers will need to invest some time learning the finer points of this game. The N-Gage has a dozen buttons, and you’ll be using them all. The play isn’t as simple as directing a soldier where to go and who to attack. You have three stances, sub-weapons, obstacles like trenches and buildings to contend with, action points to manage, and defensive points to set. All of these things make for a semi-steep learning curve, but they also attribute to Pathway‘s insane depth.

The red hue means you’d best not step on their land.

You’ll switch stances often. When moving, you’ll want to be upright, to use up the least amount of action points while traversing the large levels. Then, when it’s time to shoot, you’ll want to get as low as possible to improve accuracy; however, get too low, and you may not be able to hit your target. Once you’re done with your turn, you’ll want to remain low to hide behind cover.

Interrupt points are defensive measures your troops can take if they leave enough action points after their turn. This basically sets up a field of vision for the soldier. If an enemy steps into it, your sentry will retaliate. Upright stance makes for a wide, but short, view — whereas going prone gives your soldier a bit of tunnel vision. It’s nice to have a tactical RPG where you’re not defenseless when it’s someone else’s turn.

 

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