Questions For Advanced Daisenryaku

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AgeOfRetron
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Questions For Advanced Daisenryaku

Post by AgeOfRetron » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:59 am

Advanced Daisenryaku: Deutsch Dengeki Sakusen ("Advanced Military Commander")

I'd like to dedicate this thread to a discussion about an obscure WW2 strategy game called, "Advanced Daisenryaku: Deutsch Dengeki Sakusen"; otherwise known as "Advanced Military Commander". This game was originally released for the Sega Megadrive around 1991, and was the spiritual predecessor to the well-known "Panzer General" series of games that came out later on the PC. Like Panzer General, the player takes control of Germany. If you've never heard of this game before, then it's probably because it was never released outside of Japan. Years later, it would be translated into English by a fellow using the pseudonym "Nebelwerfer" (a name referring to Germany's rocket artillery in the war). There was also a more modern version of this game that was released for Sega's ill-fated Dreamcast Console a decade after the release of the original; I have never played this version. This is going to be a sort of review/Q&A thread for the original Megadrive version of the game.

Like its more famous spiritual successor, the maps are composed of a hex grid which contain the attributes of the terrain in a given location, which also provide attack modifiers that can give units residing in them additional cover during battles depending on terrain type (trenches, forests, mountains, etc.). The different unit types include infantry, armored vehicles, artillery, fighter planes, tactical and strategic bombers, warships and more. As in similar titles, combined arms tactics are a major part of the game - tanks and armored cars spearhead the advance and essentially act as meatshields for more fragile units like the transport trucks.

In truth, there are a few things about Daisenryaku that I actually prefer to PG - one of them is the fact that the player can score a cheap victory against the enemy by simply using their strategic bombers to perform a carpet bombing command on the enemy faction's designated HQ (you'll need an escort of fighters to pull this off). Another great feature of Daisenryaku, is how generous it is at rewarding the player with income each turn cycle based on how many towns are under their control. The player will receive bonus income for every town under their faction's control that they choose to fortify; this feature comes in really handy in those tougher maps.

Now for the negative. In PG, every infantry or towed unit in the player's force pool could be conveniently equipped with their own truck to embark or disembark on; in AD, the transport vehicles are treated as a separate unit unto themselves and fill whole unit slots in your force pool, this means that the player can only have a very small number of them at any time (which I don't like). To load a unit onto a transport vehicle, simply move them into the same hex that the truck occupies and select the "load" command when prompted, in case anyone is stuck on that; it took me a while to figure that out when I first started playing. Another area where Daisenryaku falls short, is that aircraft can't share hexes occupied by ground units, this means you can't give your forces on the ground direct air cover from tactical bombers. Another thing I dislike, is that factions allied to yours (like Italy) are treated as autonomous and are completely controlled by the AI, which usually forces the player's faction to carry all the weight of the team. Towns and airfields controlled by AI allies can't even be used to resupply or repair your own units, which makes no sense...I'm glad PG fixed that. Also absent from Daisenryaku, is the automatic defensive fire feature used by artillery and aircraft to support adjacent friendly units under enemy attack. Another thing that's annoying, is that the game is programmed for units under attack to always return fire with the weapon that is rated for the most damage to a given unit type instead of using the one which is most effective or appropriate in certain situations; this often leads to the player's units either getting clobbered because the enemy is attacking with a weapon which has a higher initiative rating, or precious ammo being wasted that can be put to better use in other situations. I really wish there was a way to program unit behavior according to specific contingencies; yes, I'm aware that there's an option to enable "choose a counterattack weapon", but when this option is enabled, the player has to be right there ready to okay it, and then choose the desired weapon for each and every unit that is attacked in that turn, it's really tedious having to call obvious decisions when I'd rather get up, stretch, and get a drink. I normally only use the select counterattack weapon option during naval battles, but the need to do so does come up occasionally. Also, why aren't any of the German aircraft equipped with rockets? It's a well known fact that the Luftwaffe were using rockets to scatter Allied Bomber Box Formations during the war. Last but not least, is that paratroopers are in the game, but not available for purchase like they are in Panzer General. This limits the player's ability to drop in behind enemy lines. Similar maneuvers can be done with the use of gliders on air transports, but not all air transports can equip them. Gliders also require flat surfaces (which provide no cover) to land on whereas paratroopers would be more versatile. Why it's this way, I have no idea. This is one of the worst mistakes that the devs made. There's a trade-off of good and bad in both games.

And now for my unresolved questions about the game. The person who translated the game from Japanese into English is very hard to reach, and unfortunately there just aren't very many game faqs or let's play demos dedicated to addressing these topics. If anybody here happens to know the answers to any of these, please contribute to the discussion.

1) I understand that this game was originally meant to be played using an exclusive modem accessory for the Megadrive that was never released outside of Japan. When I try to play a random scenario for some casual fun in free mode (or standard), I'm immediately taken to a weird numeric keypad screen when I try to end my turn. I guess the game devs originally intended for players to compete against one another from their houses using these modems? This would seem to make single player game progression impossible in these standalone maps on the standard menu. Is there any way around this problem on clone consoles or original hardware?

2) Nebelwerfer states that the player is given different assignments in the war depending on their performance. After Poland, you'll either be sent to Denmark or Norway. I've learned through trial and error, that Norway is only assigned to players who score a decisive victory in Warsaw with multiple turns remaining. Nebelwerfer goes on to say that depending on how quickly the player defeats France, that the player will either be assigned to North Africa, Great Britain, or Yugoslavia. Nebelwerfer never elaborates on exactly what the secret conditions are that the player must meet to be assigned to each of these three fronts. I seem to get North Africa every single time. Whether I run out of turns a time or two in the Low Countries in one campaign, while I was still learning the rules of the game, or maintain a perfect winning streak in another, I always get assigned to North Africa for some reason. I even managed to defeat France (while being undefeated) with a few turns remaining (don't remember the exact number, I should start writing that down) without the increased firepower of an upgrade to the Panzer III ausf. G (which I know historically the Germans didn't have until after France)! So what exactly do I have to do in France to unlock those other maps? Does anybody know?

3) Not really something I can do anything about, but how exactly did the devs determine the initiative ratings on some of the weapons? I have the translated design notes of whom I'm assuming is one of the guys from the original development team, talking about some of the things they used to determine this (muzzle velocity, barrel length, etc.), but he's still vague on the details of how this system works. Obviously the maximum accurate range of a specific weapon type would be a big one to consider, the top engine speeds of airplanes would be another one. One thing that puzzled me in the Berlin map at the end of the game, is the ridiculously low initiative ratings that the Soviet tanks had. Why wouldn't a big bad JS-2 have as high, if not higher of an initiative rating as a Tiger II? The JS-2 was using a huge and long 122mm gun, and still only has a meager 7 initiative! That doesn't make any sense. The T-34/85s had the same low initiative rating, and were nearly worthless against my Panzer IVs! They were dropping like flies. I'm not an expert on the ballistics of tank guns, but it seems like the Soviets were well caught up to the Germans in tank development by the end of the war. I find it rather dubious that the Panzer IVs were that much better than the T-34/85s. By contrast, the Sherman Fireflies seem OPed. Was this done to reflect the skill of the crew? Is it because the Japanese game developers simply don't like Russians? I'm confused. :?

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