Review by pickled pizza

"Nice tactical combat from the likes of X-COM!"

This is a review about a tactical combat game, Laser Squad Nemesis, or LSN. LSN is a play by email (PBEM) game from the makers of X-COM. This is an excellent game as you will soon find out.

This is where LSN shines. There are three races, Laser Marines, Machina, and Spawn. There is a soon to be released fourth race, the greys. If you subscribe then you can send a challenge to anyone. If you don't subscribe then you can play 3 games against 'Bounty Hunters' that will help you get a feel for the game, but you can still be challenged by subscribers. The whole process of playing a game is this:
1. Initiate game
2. Deploy forces (each unit has a point value and you have limited points.)
3. Send orders
4. Watch what happens
5. Repeat 3-4 until you win or lose.
After you deploy you both make your moves at the same time, and send the orders. Next turn you watch what the outcome was of the previous orders and you make new orders on the current situation. It is kind of weird at first, but it's easy to get used to. If you liked X-COM then you'll probably love this. My only gripe about gameplay now is that the newest race, the Spawn (weird alien thingies) is a bit unbalanced. The success rate as playing as Marines vs. Spawn is a measly 33%. The spawn are super fast, have lots of cheap units, can reproduce by having a queen eat corpses and lay eggs, and are somewhat tough. It's a bit unbalanced, but you could just play people you know don't play Spawn. Since you PBEM you only send about 10-50kb files via email so you can play with dialup. This game is free up front but subscribers pay 40/year.

Well, granted, there isn't much of a story. Machina robots revolt against humans and the Laser Marines are formed, blah blah blah. But this is a multiplayer game and doesn't need a story to be fun.

Not much in the way of audio, just lasers firing and grenades exploding.

The graphics are slick in this game and are pretty good. The models look very good and assume firing poses and more. Buildings look OK, but there is repetition of tiles in some maps. The lasers and explosions look pretty good, explosions leaving behind smoke and destroying walls.

Tons and tons of replay value. There are lots of maps, but only two modes of gameplay: HQ and wipeout. The three races all demand different strategies. There are leagues and competitions to play in and medals to win. You can go to the forums they run and find opponents.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/10/03, Updated 05/10/03

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