Review by EmP
"Invading alien forces; harder to shift then the most stubborn of grass stains."
X-COM 2: Terror from the Deep
Turn based strategy
X-COM 2: Terror from the Deep is the sequel to X-Com: Enemy Unknown (or UFO Defense, depending on your nationality) As with its earlier spawn for the PSX, this is a pretty hard game to track down, and may be the second in the series, but it is still dated, being released some time ago. So, is it better then its first? And is it worth tracking down?
After their last failed take-over bid, it seems those pesky aliens are back - you would think they would have learnt their lesson by now, but no, back they come; or to be more precise, they never left. You see, whereas the first wave came from the skies and reaped havoc on the Earth, these crafty swines are the survivors, and have been hiding beneath the sea. With their new genetically engineered army, they plan to take Earth as their own, and avenge their fallen brethren; basically same as, with different aliens coming from a slightly different location. So, once again, it is up to you to put a stop to those inconvenient abductions and those ever so painful probes. Not the best plot, but the story isn't why we're here in this case, as it takes backseat to the game itself.
X-Com:TftD is basically the same as X-Com EU, but with a few tweaks and adjustments. You still run on time units, which are spent on actions like walking, shooting etc; you can keep going until you run out of designated units for that turn. It's still turn based, and you still need to explore to advance the blacked out map, so what is new? Well, not much really. It does introduce a whole new cast of nasty aliens to battle, plus the obligatory new weapons, armor, crafts etc; your troops are still the same, as they still will grow the more missions they complete in one piece, and they still gain promotions based on their survivalist skills. But, as the whole Terror from the Deep name suggests, you can now battle under the oceans. The levels themselves are that much harder, and the shiny new aliens are a good deal tougher. Remember our stupid friends the Floaters from EU? Remember how pitifully weak they where? Yeah, now meet the Lobsterman. A walking biological tank with pin point accuracy and kick ass AI. Apart from that, it is same old. .....
Oh, and you can reserve time for kneeling now... a nice touch
The controls remain exactly the same; the whole 'PC port' vibe is still relevant. This game is best used with a mouse, but makes full use of the PSX pad if that option is not available, even to the extent of using the shoulder buttons as shortcuts. Moving your troops is as simple as clicking on the desired troop, and then clicking where you want them to move to. Controlling their attacks, defensive posture and auto reserve times is all done via the sub menu below the field of play. The same comfy system for those who know the game, and the same damn hard to use at first system for those new. Worry not, you will grow into it.
Apart from the cuts scenes being more of a serious nature rather then the comic book like scenes from EU, not much has changed graphically. Whilst underwater, you get cool little air bubbles escaping from your troops suits and from random places on the ocean floor; even the underwater plant life is a nice touch. Again the aliens look scary and hostile, and your troops look generic and, well, troop-like. Your shoots zoom around the screen, as do the aliens, and the explosions still look quite satisfying, basically, more of the same as the first.
The sound, again, is basically the same thing as EU. The music sets the atmosphere well and can at times put you on edge. The explosions and gun shots all sound good and the death cries of an alien sounds as satisfying as the last scream of you troops sound depressing. Overall covers what it needs to cover, and not much else.
More of an add-on to EU then an outright new game, but manages to give a new thrill to X-Com vets. It is a harder game, make no mistake, the aliens have been beefed up, the AI is better and it is harder to get those technological advances as easily as you did on EU. TftD is also higher on the frustration level. More then once you will find yourself hunting for a single alien which has hidden away because some of the levels are just vast. Still, it's a damn fine game in it own right, and a worthy purchase for X-Com vets and fans of strategic games. For first timers, maybe the first X-Com would be a better place to start. If you could find it. Or this one for that matter.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 02/02/03, Updated 12/06/04
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