Reviews: CD ROMs

Quest for Empire,
A History of the Napoleonic Wars

By David Inglehart, Troubadour Interactive

Quest Screen

I work professionally with computers all day long and when I get home I need to get behind one again for the Napoleon Series, e-mail and so on. So what I DO NOT like to do after a long day like that is read about the Napoleonic Era from a computer screen. I am sure that I am not the only one who thinks this way in our automated society. That is why I am always a little skeptic about multimedia CD ROMs because they usually force you to spend a lot of time behind a screen clicking buttons and scrolling through endless pages.

This is NOT the case with David Inglehart's "Quest for Empire" CD ROM. He has found the exact balance between the amount of information that needs to be given in order to get a clear understanding of the Napoleonic Era and the way in which this information is presented. His work is very good because it is simple, you don't need to be a computer wiz to work with it.

One thing that makes me as a certified Macintosh freak very happy is that Quest for Empire comes on a Win/Mac hybrid CD. On top of that you do not need a PowerPC or a Pentium PC with heaps of RAM memory to run it so it is available for everybody, even people with older Macs or 386/486 PCs.

Like I said above, I find the CD very good because of its simplicity. You get what you see. David has divided the Napoleonic Era into 7 sections. Each section consists of a text that is not too long as in most other cds, several maps, pictures, narratives etc., all connected by clickable links.

There's also a timeline of the Era, a battle chronology section and sections with political and theater maps. On top of that there are smaller sections with Napoleonic music, pictures, documents, etc.

There is one thing that I regret. The narratives that accompany the maps, battle accounts and texts are not automatically linked to them, you have to manually switch pages. This can become a problem for people who do not know the Era very well and they are bound to be confused by this. My 9 year old son who is a real computer wiz and who already speaks, reads and understands English (but who does not know much about the Napoleonic Era) got really confused by this and soon lost interest. My word of advice to the author is: "link the narratives to the pages and your work will be even better."

This is however only a little detail if we look at the bigger picture, being the entire cd. I can only repeat that it is very well done, informative yet easy to navigate. It is perfect to introduce somebody to the Napoleonic Era and for the more experienced Napoleon buffs among us its a welcome addition to our collection.

Thumbs up for "Quest for Empire!"

The CD ROM can be purchased at:

Troubadour Interactive
P.O. Box 12
Northfield, MA 01360
(413) 498-2758 -

Reviewed by Fons Libert, FINS


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