Review by Evilboy
Reviewed: 11/25/00 | Updated: 11/25/00
An amazing game that has yet to be duplicated
X-Com: UFO Defense is one of ''those'' games, something along the lines of Doom and Dune II, a game that is still entertaining, as it was one of the first good games in a genre.
The basis of X-Com is rather simple. Aliens, bad ones, are coming to earth, eating people and doing really really nasty things to cows. Since we like our cows (and our people too), the governments of the world begin funding for X-Com, the anti-alien military unit.
The game is played in one of two ways. The first is the map screen, where you dispatch aircraft to shoot down UFOs (or die trying), build new bases, allocate resources and research, as well as check out the rise and fall of UFO activity, read you archive of information about the enemy units (which starts out at about nil), and other resource-managing activities. Although you spend a good deal of time in the map screen, the real fun begins in combat.
Encounters with aliens are always hostile (the fact that they keep trying to shoot you makes negotiations hard), and every battle begins the same: Your squad of elite (or not-so-elite) operatives await your orders from inside their skyranger (or other) transport vehicle. Depending on where you battle, the landscape differs, as open desert obviously looks quite a bit different than a city under siege. Its not just looks, however, as location plays a critical roll in the games strategy. The tactics you use in an abandoned farming area will differ from the tactics used when attempting to rescue civilians from alien attack.
What makes X-Com such a great game is hard to say. It's not really a single, overriding value, its just a game that comes together beautifully. All the 'little things' add up to a great game: The ability to use explosive ammunition to blow holes through walls, the connection you'll get with your surviving X-Com warriors (until they get turned into mush by a Plasma Rifle), the strategic system, the way your scientists disect everything dead they find, it all adds up to a fantastic game that's hard to explain to someone who hasn't played it.
X-com, compared to modern games, fails on every graphical and audible level. The music is repetitive and bland, the graphics horribly dated by today's standards, and there isn't a moment of gorgeous, full-screen FMV or voice acting to dazzle your senses. That said, X-com is a game that every ''true'' gamer should experience.
It's worth the meager price an aged game costs nowadays, and the Cows will be indebted to you forever.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
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