only another hour, I gotta say I didn't think this project would be that hard when he gave us the write up (in theory this should have only taken an hour), but the sytax is so daunting I'm not sure how we were expected to have time to do all three tiers of this project.
I think your prof assumed that the students are familiar with C++ already. A person who is already familiar with C++ syntax and has an average level of competence with the language can solve this assignment within a couple of hours, easily. I don't know if it was stated anywhere in the course pre-requisites that good C++ knowledge was necessary for the course, but if it was, then this is certainly a reasonable assignment. It is not reasonable if there was no pre-requisite of the sort. If you ignored that pre-requisite, thinking that you could just learn C++ as you go, then you are currently experiencing the consequences of that poor judgement call.