Review by LoodwigX

"Aah, attack of Biology man!"

As stated in other reviews, I go on a scale of 1-5 (I doubled it for the purpose of gamefaqs). My rating of 5 (a solid 2 really, but I'm in a good mood) means the game was good, but not great. So that it's clear that I'm not bashing the game and that I don't feel like awarding everything I see a 10, let's get on with it!

Nostalgia back to college here, this icon of the X-Com series is a solid example of what is and not what could of been. Apocalypse is a sure fire time killer, if you can get into it. I just picked it up again a few weeks ago, and I decided to give it a go at superhuman. Took some effort to get it to work in win2k, and it's about as stable as my last relationship, but hey, at least I have sound (and mp3s in the background to replace the music thank you winamp).

As for what you want to know about the game (and if you should hunt for this game in the great archives of the bargain bin), it's a strategy game of the same genes of Syndicate and the original X-Com. You hire people, train them, research stuff, kill stuff, fly jets, commit genocide against an alien race that is invading you, and kill a few religious fanatics too while you're at it. All good fun, and far more in depth than the previous X-Com games, but no where near capable of burrowing into your heart in the same way as UFO:Enemy Unknown.

Gameplay - The game gets some major props and some serious "Oh what the hell is my agent doing now?" motions. Yes, you will be shouting at your computer saying things like "why isn't he shooting, are you afraid or something?" but at times you'll be praising that recently promoted captain who can sniper a popper from 100 yards. Lots of strategic thinking, but unfortunately, lots of luck too. I hate luck. I'd say, it's good for 2 out of 5.

Frustration - can be at times, can be rewarding even (6/10)
Difficulty - Good challenge, gets too easy at the end (5/10)
Controls - Annoying to click through all 100 of my agents (2/10)
Strategy - Great (7/10)
Addiction - Why can't I stop playing this game? (7/10)
AI - Sneaky (8/10)
Replay - ask me again why I'm playing it now? (2/10)

Visual - 2 out of 5. The sprite engine leaves something to be desired in a big way. Apocalypse took a step down from the previous... I mean, for crappy vga the original had some scary looking bad guys (I remember being terrified of the chrysalis), and now... it kinda looks like a bad guy. The ufopedia is cool, and the game has this sleek 1950s charm... which translates into tiny red cars. Still, it looks neat, but it could be a lot better and games out at the time were doing better. Aliens look cool, all biological and gross like.

Readability - Good (7/10)
Clarity - Good (6/10)
Detail - Boring (3/10)
Effects - Ok (3/10)
Animation - fair (3/10)
Artistic Design - poor (1/10)

Sound - 3 out of 5 (great). I give it this review certainly not because of the music (uh, hello... my nick is "loodwig?") but because of the sound effects. And they weren't that good even, but the use in the game was really strategically important. If you are outside of the ufo and you hear a "roooooar" you get ready for accurate weapons or toxi-guns. If you hear pitter patter... run like hell. You can tell what type of weapon they fired by the sound, even if you can't see it. No generic "blast" sound that you had in the previous games "plasma" weapons that were universal with all aliens. Otherwise, put on a cd or pull up winamp and just turn off that 80s hairband butt rock.

Music insertion - Appropriate action music (4/10)
Music quality - bad (2/10)
Sound Orchestration - Low quality digital audio... at least it isn't gmidi (4/10)
Sound Effects - cool (8/10)

Story - 3 out of 5 (great). I thought the story was a step up, and the aliens certainly were creepy. I mean, I remember actually chrysalis a bit when I first saw the live hyperworm ufo report (that thing is scary looking). Otherwise, I thought it was less "predictable" like the previous games. I don't want to give away much, even though it isn't anything really surprising. I'm not fond of the idea of defending a city rather than a planet. Who were the ad wizards that came up with "mega primus" anyway?
Plot - clever (5/10)
Development - some twists, gotta love that research (6/10)
Character Development - I always renamed my characters, so I can cry when agent "spider" is critically wounded (4/10)
Dialogue - None, if you don't count cutscenes, and I don't (0/10)
Predictability - You guessed it... frank stallone (4/10)
Lame Factor - K, mega primus... still loosing points on me (4/10)

Engineering - 1 out of 5. I include this category for two reasons... one computer games should be judged by the frequency in which they crash, or don't work, or are buggy, or are a pain in the butt to install, etc etc etc. And two, I include it as a warning. This game runs like crap, plain and simple. Oh, sure I got it to work in windows 2000... but that took some serious tweaking, downloading of patches, and I usually play it daily until my computer crashes and I say a few swears. Now, it wasn't designed for 2000, did it crash in dos and win9x? Can you say "runtime error at A8F3:363B" or whatever? Had to reboot everytime because it screwed up my soundcard. And if you don't believe me, consult about a hundred forums on various sites of people begging to figure out how in the world to get this game to work at all, let alone poorly! Bad micropose (gets his paddle).
Stability - SAVE often and in multiple slots! (1/10)
Resource Hog - chews the HDD, but not the cpu and ram, but I never tried it on a 486 (6/10)
Hackable - many ways to cheat (5/10)
Limiting Factor - It's cumbersome, not that pretty, and lacking in too many ways. (3/10)
Easter Eggs - Finding items that don't have support (mind shield) is not an easter egg (1/10)

Conclusion - Well, I'm playing it, so I kinda like it. But I'm not happy with it, and I am more unhappy with it now that I know of so much that the game could have been, and was intended to be. Where to improve? Make the companies do something... more than one city (I'd like to see these alleged mars riots), make it easier to promote units, you name it... they left it out at the last minute. For shame... Oh well. Worth buying? No. Worth renting? Well, good luck finding it anywhere but bargain bins or collections. Yes, I do have an original box, original cd, and original manual. Is it for sale? Email me. I'm quickly loosing interest in this game, and you might too if you start to play it. It'll draw you in if you get into it, but you just might loose interest in it after a while.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/10/05


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