Review by Starving Poet
"The best offense is an impervious defense"
It's up to you Legate, the fate of the Exodus lies in your hands. Welcome to the world of Perimeter, the story of humanities escape from
itself in the 3rd millennia. Perimeter forces you to take a new look at your surrounding environment, as success lies in your careful manipulation of it. Level mountains and raise the oceans in your quest to find paradise.
Perimeter brings a new twist to the RTS genre by their use of morph-able environments. As you travel through the sponge worlds on your quests, you'll need to terraform the land around you to a 'zero-level' in order to harness the energy of the planet. This energy is your only resource and as such, allows for infinite supply with proper planning. Should the land get damaged under any energy generators, they will take damage continuously until the land is repaired. This adds to an extra dimension in base management above what you might be used to. In reality, it is very similar to the construction system last used by Dune 2000.
It seems that the developers intended to remove some of the less-than-enjoyable micromanagement found in some other RTS' in their construction of the army system. Under a cap of 250 max units, you have the ability to split them into 5 squads. Within the squads, you can add any combination of soldiers, officers, and technicians. By themselves they are quite useless, but given the correct research, you are able to "nanomorph" them into more advanced units. This allows you to enter battle with a squad of flying laser interceptors, and given the right conditions, morph them into underground attackers to avoid static defenses.
Speaking of defenses, Perimeter centers around the defensive technology of the Perimeter a solid force field that you can erect around any of your energy plants for however long your energy reserves can hold out. This game then becomes a turtles dream, as the key to many battles is using your defensive abilities as your main offense.
Though it can be a slug on some older systems, it truly is one of the more visually impressive RTS on the market. The engine boasts the ability to change over 1 million vertices per second, which is an important trait when you see your build-able land "grow" around your base. Because of the concept of 'bubble worlds' that are physical manifestations of instants in time, the levels themselves are unique and artistically rendered.
The sound is very fitting with all the different units having distinct sounds, thereby allowing you to know what is attacking you and where. The music is what you would expect in a futuristic setting and offers enough variety to keep from boring you. Nothing spectacular, yet nothing to complain about.
More time could have been put into the tutorial as it really doesn't explain much more than how to flatten the terrain. The first five levels continue this learning trend, but as such, are slow enough to deter many new players. They do, however, culminate in a mission that is fundamentally more difficult than any of the others preceding it, and sets the stage for the rest of the game.
Unfortunately, multiplayer is horribly imbalanced, and the game becomes a "whoever builds X first wins by default" scenario. Because of the turtle nature of the game, the online games tend to drag for those of you accustomed to other RTS'.
Yet, if you're looking for a good single-player RTS, this game is definitely worth a try. Its different approach will make you rethink your normal strategy and, hopefully, please you along the way.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/24/04
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