Ever remember a game being so good, only to play it and it’s still amazing. Though everyone you show it it to is not impressed? That’s North and South on the NES.
I remember playing a lot of this game as a kid. It’s maps are burned into my head. Field, field with river, canyon, and fort. The train counts as a fort to me. I didn’t hijack a train in that video. So lemme look.
There it is. If you fall behind you lose regardless of time. I’m kinda getting ahead of myself. So North and South pits the North (The Good Guys) against the South (Ya know that South) to the games credit it actually takes a neutral stance to the complexities of the United States Civil War. Largely in part because it’s based off a French comic called like “The Blue Coats” but in French so like “Le Coates Des Blué” probably.
I always find it interesting when the tables are turned. When other countries treat our history or beliefs like we do to their’s.
As such it’s free to be light-hearted and goofy at times. It does a good job to stay respectful. Well by 80s standards anyway. While you get to pick a year that is more about starting forces per side I think? You can also choose to turn on hazards to add a little bit of random luck to the match. A match that will end in tears for one of you I promise.
This game really did put brother against brother. In this hybrid tactics RTS board game. Each turn has a move and attack phase followed by a resupply phase. The red dots on the maps are forts. You get money based on how many you have connected by railway at the end of your turn. That is unless your opponent happens to be waiting in the tracks. If so they get a chance to rob your train in a fast paced side scrolling section that really shows off it’s comic book origins with bombs, dogs, and punches that send your for to the dang stratosphere. Much like the train you can also take over a fort by standing on it. In a less hectic but still wacky platform race against the clock to lower their flag.
As the great philosopher Eddie izzard once said “So you say you own this? But do you have… a flag?” You can corner the resources and just get a massive wall of troops built up if that’s the kind of jerk you are. Those platform sections are fun against the computer, but almost unbearable against a human player. Oh right, the map…
If you move your unit ontop of one you own it gets extra troops which can be great against humans but honestly it’s best to not double up against the computer they murder so quickly it’s just wasteful. The Native American and napping Mexican guy will spring to action randomly attacking whomever is in their range. Making the western territories hard to hold and defend. It was frustrating as a kid but as an adult I also hate it. Now the real fun is the battles.
You get canons which can blow up bridges, houses, trees, your opponent’s hopes and dreams they are great master them quickly. The horses swing swords and run real fast in formation. A great choice for putting the fear of God into the enemy but unreliable mostly. Then the gun guys move slow have decent range and die to everything. Those you will be using the most.
Look I’m just gonna level with ya. It’s not that great. It’s a good time waster from the dark ages before online streaming. The matches last 10 to 40 minutes each. A timeslot we now spend showing our friends or family funny videos of Russians sliding down roofs and breaking their backs.
If anything give the game a shot if you like quirky retro games. It is good for a chuckle but there is so many better games out there. It’s completely and utterly average. Best served as a quirky suggestion when gaming with friends or a nostalgic little treat for yourself. North and South shall not rise again, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a charming slice of the NES era and a reminder of how different we choose to spend our free time today. Now if you excuse me I got some more sliding videos to watch.