Review by gbarules2999

"Five Million Dead."

The chorus echoes into your brain as you push the trigger. Slowly the little icons representing large nuclear explosives soar through the European sky finally hitting their Russian target. The chorus jumps higher in anticipation as the display reads…5 million dead. And slowly, you back away from the display, and the game makes you wonder: who really won?

This is the deep, dark truth of Defcon, the game by Introversion (makers of Uplink and Darwinia) that pits you into strategic waters, where you have to create allies, expand your fleet and prepare for the inevitable, because as soon as the timer hits Defcon One, as the subtitle implies, Everybody Dies. From the atmosphere to the intricate online and offline battles, the game becomes its own genre, beyond an RTS. It's war.

The game is eerie like that, when it places you in such a power that you have two conflicting morals: the virtual landscape with the cold efficiency that the game tells you its death toll, and the final hour when missiles are on every side and your enemies are closing in. It's a very surreal experience, regardless that it's completely fabricated, because it feels plausible. The game is a very emotional one, because you know it could happen.

You know that America could start launching its supply at South America, because there's the capability for it. But what if you decide that you want their aid as well? Open up a private channel and inform them of your alliance offer. Maybe they will accept. Perhaps you could offer your friendship and tell them to start launching many, many nukes at an enemy, while you go behind their back and tell the enemy that they should defend. While the nukes are in the air, blast that former friend to smithereens, all in the name of politics.

But then after the launching is done, and nukes sail through the air and the entire continent is green with radiation: five million, six million, ten million dead. The soundtrack comes in when the smoke has cleared and everyone is over and done with…the distinct chorus sings and slow, mournful tune beneath an odd, out of key note. Then you gaze over the display and look at the war, and you realize that this isn't a game at all, no matter how simple it may seem…It's actually quite real. The plausibility has never really penetrated you before, until this. It affects you.

The simplicity is part of it, as well. With a very straightforward set of units, there's no complexity here. The real focus is on who your friends are, and how you deal with what you have. An apt metaphor is chess, because of the balance, ebb and flow of the games you play. It's a fun game, abet simple, and it has a message.

Defcon: Everybody Dies.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/21/07


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