The Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American history. Four years of bitter fighting gave us the North and South, heroes and cowards, victories and defeats. Places such as Shiloh and Gettysburg still echo with the ghosts of battles past. Leaders such as Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant set the standards for future commanders. Talonsoft attempts to capture both the substance and sprit of this period with the fifth entry in the Battleground series. Battleground: Antietam allows you to recreate "the bloodiest single day in American history" in amazing detail.
Battleground: Antietam reflects the continuing development of the series. The outstanding graphics of the game remain one of its many strengths. Multiple views of the battlefield provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions. Pop-up video footage, while entertaining at first, can be turned off if you have tired of seeing the same artillery barrage for the 100th time. The limited sound effects do convey the action more than adequately. The historical music, courtesy of Bobby Horton, may explain the low morale among the troops of the time.
The multitude of scenarios - ranging from selected engagements to "what-if" situations - offer good replay value. New features (available in the v1.10 update) include excellent items such as Extreme Fog of War and Internet play. With Extreme Fog of War enabled, you don't know much about the units you square off against. Battleground: Antietam also provides an option that allows you to adjust the combat odds during the game. The "advantage" slider makes it easier to learn the game without growing too frustrated.
The computer AI often makes the game interesting. Questionable moves are frequently followed by brilliant strokes. The computer's unpredictable actions force you to adapt as the battle progresses. If you grow bored with annihilating the computer's forces, the multiplayer mode allows you to test your abilities against another human. You can crush your opponent by e-mail, over a modem, or on the Internet.
Battleground: Antietam is extremely well done. Graphics, sound, and gameplay distinguish this from the numerous others in the category. It may not be the perfect Civil War game, but it's pretty darn close.