Theatre Europe is a turn-based war simulation that involves NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The game takes place in actual places such as Brussels, Vienna, Berlin, and The Hague, and soldier units are also feature real names and information.
At the title's onset, one must choose between either side. Once the above setting have been made, the battlefield appears as an overhead map with towns, soldier units, and terrain using various colors and shapes. Towns are represented by crosses and units are circles. A cursor is used to move around and receive information. When the cursor is moved over a town, the town's name is shown at the top of the screen. Unit and terrain (such as ground or sea) information is also shown.
Turns consist of three phases: movement, attack, and rebuild. While in the movement phase, one can move soldier units closer to enemies for attack purposes or retreat to rebuild. When all units have been moved, Theatre Europe will enter the attack phase. Once the assaults have been carried out, it's time to rebuild damaged structures, towns, or units.
When all phases have ended, the turn isn't over. The reserve screen is then shown. On this screen, players can beef up air defense or existing units using extraneous resources or soldiers. Once the reserves have been selected, a final special mission screen is shown. One can launch a chemical or nuclear attack towards their enemies. There is a hitch, however. A launch code must be received by entering a phone number within the allotted time period.
Once all these screens have been finished, the computer will move their soldiers and attack the other side. When a battle is commenced, an animated 2D action screen is shown. The action screen is interactive in that a movable crosshair can be used to fire missiles at rival tanks and soldiers. This action screen can be switched off before the game begins. ~ Matthew House, All Game Guide