Review by Starfox
"Old but solid battler"
This is an old PC title that has been ported to the Playstation. It doesn't really fit there: slow loads, very basic graphics. But it is solid fun to play, and that's what it is all about, is it not?
Aliens start raiding the Earth, and it's your job to fight them. Earth technology is vastly inferior to the aliens', but our brave soldiers and inquisitive scientists must win the day, or it's The End for humanity. Not very inventive, perhaps, but the story is not what this game is about. It merely serves as a backdrop for scenarios.
A typical UFO interception has two parts, first an air intercept and then an investigation of the wreckage. Air combat might seem very basic, but there is some skill involved. But this isn't the heart of the game either.
The heart of the game is ground combat, where you pit your troopers against the aliens. This is where the fun starts. Combat is turn-based, first you move and then the aliens. Soldiers have "time units" to spend on actions, and time units that are saved can be used for opportunity fire during the enemy's turn. Variable terrain and many different weapons makes this challenging. It is not very realistic, but a fair amount of tactical sense is required.
Once you win, you get to take the loot back to base, where your scientists can start analyzing the aliens and their devices. Technological progression is very important, and gaining access to enemy weapons and gear will allow your technicians to design better gear for your own men.
And so it goes, a long progression of fighting scenarios with interludes of planning, base-building, recruitment, weapon manufacture and research. The story unfolds, naturally, but that merely leads to new battlefields.
This is where you feel the game is old. Graphics are sprite-based and based on old PC graphics. They work, but there is nothing to get exited about. The sounds are good, but as the game is not real-time, they do not set the pace. I turned the music off so long ago, I cannot really remember what it was like, but I guess I turned it off for a reason.
You can change the animation and scrolling speed in battle the sequence, and I strongly suggest you do so, or you will be watching aliens promenade down green fields in slow-motion.
The game is very basic, and most scenarios are similar, but I still find I return to it time and again. The maps are randomly generated from standard elements, so you know what type of terrain to expect, but not the exact layout. And the aliens choose different tactics in different scenarios. Overall, replayability is good. As for renting the game, I would say a short demonstration in the store is enough -- if you can stand the graphics and interface, and like turn-based tactical combat games, you will want to purchase it. This is a game you put in your Playsation when you have an hour to spend, not something you will be playing all weekend.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99
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