Review by grendel03
""Flash the bombers, get the subs in launch mode. We are at DEFCON 1""
Success! You've just managed to launch a massive sneak attack on North America. You watch with glee as your missiles prepare to annihilate the enemy. Your fleets battled it out with theirs across the Atlantic. As they listened to their Rock 'n Roll you parked your subs close to New York, and waited. The blips representing your missiles reach their targets; but instead of amazing particle effects, the blip representing New York just disappears under a white circle. Instead of hearing an explosion that would rip your speakers off the wall and blow out your neighbors hearing aide, you get a very faint boom; and that's exaggerating a bit.
Let's get one thing straight, you're not a mystical floating entity that sees all and hears all. You're a general in a bunker, under a mountain. What you know of the outside world consists of a wire frame map with blips moving on it. In this very simplistic view it's your responsibility to manage your countries strategic forces. You'll also (hopefully) coordinate attacks and defense with your allies. In this world there are six mountains with bunkers underneath them. All alliances are at will; they can be made or broken at the drop of a hat, or the click of a mouse.
The game is divided up into 5 periods, all based on the Defense Condition (DEFCON). DEFCON 5 is when you position your units. DEFCON 3 is when you can attack with conventional forces and DEFCON 1 is when the nukes can (and will) start flying. Each DEFCON level is separated by a timer, the game speed can be fast forwarded if the default speed is too slow for you. The entire goal is to loose the least, the game is based on a point system, you get points for kills and you loose points for deaths on your side. At the end of the game the person with the most points wins. Everyone has Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD); it's your responsibility to protect your MAD capability and remove theirs.
On land you can have radar stations that serve as your eyes; they can see enemy units that are in range. You have air bases that allow you to deploy fighters to scout or attack enemy territories or units. They also allow you to deploy nuke laden bombers to strike targets. Then you have Silos that can launch nukes at any target on the map; or they can be put in air defense mode to attack incoming nukes or planes.
On the sea (and under it) you can have fleets that consist of six ships. There are three types of ships in the game. Subs, which can hold warheads and stay underwater, are capable of parking themselves off of a coast to launch a medium range payload. Carriers, which hold bombers and fighters, are also the sub hunters; they have sonar and can drop depth charges to destroy submerged subs. Battleships are good at attacking carriers; however, they're weak against subs. Fleets can be mixed and matched, but as soon as they're deployed you can't change the makeup. Fleets move and attack as a group but you can select individual ships for certain tasks, like telling a carrier to launch a bomber or put it in sub-hunt mode; or telling a sub to unleash its payload.
The entire game is played on a neon wire-frame map that looks like it was taken right out of the movie WarGames. Fleet movement looks like the wire-frame maps on The Hunt for Red October. The game has different view options, for example, one lets you see your current radar coverage. All the view options are just modifications of the map, none of them change it. All the units and cities are represented by blips, when the nukes start flying they all have dotted lines that trace their paths. There are other cool effects that relate to unit movement, like a slowly decreasing sphere around air units that shows their fuel range, or the ghost image of fleets that show where the intended destination is.
This is like playing a death match from a FPS game with players randomly decided to team up with someone to defend a spawn point or a resource. This game can go from being a cat and mouse game of chess to an all out brawl. Playing with six players brings out more mayhem.
Final Score: 9/10
Closing thoughts: As much as I liked this game I feel it has so much more potential. What about MIRV's (Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicles, nukes that carry more then one warhead), or movable land units, or airborne refueling to extend those flight ranges?
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 10/02/06
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