After centuries of overpopulation and destruction of natural resources, the Earth's ecosystem is at the brink of collapse. Radical, panic-induced laws restricting just about everything have come too late to save the planet. In a last-ditch effort, a Planetary Evacuation Program is set up. But due to limited room aboard the spacecraft, only the best, brightest, and richest are allowed to board -- leaving millions behind to struggle in a world without enough resources to handle the demands of the population. Now, centuries later, the Chosen (those who left) are coming back. In their absence, the world has been reduced to survival of the fittest and the most fit are the 7th Legion. Naturally, a battle ensues.
7th Legion attempts to distance itself from the crowd of real-time strategy games by removing the resource allocation typical in most of the games in this genre and adding more action. The result is to remove the strategy from the game and turn it into a game of luck where the battle cards you get and the unit upgrades close to you determine everything.
7th Legion's gameplay has many flaws, but here is a quick list of the more glaring:
- Your MBU has the deploy option on at all times. You don't know where you can build a base until you click on it and see if it does something, which turns into a not-so-fun game of move-click-move-click until you find the magical spot that the game has decided is clear enough for a base.
- The game interface is not conducive to the fast action of the game. When you tell your troops to move, you then have to select how they will move; normal, aggressive, or defensive. This selection has to be done once every time the group moves, which slows down what you end up doing the most -- making small movements so you don't get ambushed or lose half your units to the bad path-finding AI.
- The movement types are a nice idea that was poorly implemented. If a group is set for aggressive movement and a unit fires on them, only the unit fired on will shoot back, the others in the group will continue to move. Early on in the game this is deadly, as foot soldiers die when hit by just about anything. If you are in a hurry and don't give a group movement orders they will totally ignore all enemy units. Dark Reign's AI control panel is an example of this idea being done correctly.
Movement doesn't work as expected. When you tell a large group of units to move from point A to point B, some (or if you are really lucky, all) of the units selected will start to move to point B. The group will then take the scenic route, weaving around many hidden or even invisible terrain obstacles. When the group stops moving, you are lucky to get half of the units where you told them to go -- more often, they are scattered about the area between point A and point B. Total Annihilation's or Dark Reign's waypoint systems are now what should be considered a standard model for movement -- unfortunately, these came out too late for 7th Legion to benefit from their example.
7th Legion adds a bit of randomness to the game with the addition of power-ups and battle cards. The power-ups are enjoyable; they give a bonus for controlling large amounts of area and do not change the balance of power all that much. The battle cards, however, allow a player who is about to be wiped out to turn the tide of the game and balance the playing field. They make a well-planned strategy, careful base design, and a well-balanced army take the back seat to luck.
There are some good points to this game: I love the idea of sub-missions (and it could even be expanded further into random events such as an attack by 3rd party forces) for extra credits, and the fact that your units get more experienced, which is quickly becoming a standard feature of RTS games.
So basically, the strategy is: start by building a base, power plant, barracks, and vehicle plant, then just build tanks and send groups of eight or more at your opponent's base, and use any battle cards as soon as you get them. If you have better battle cards or if you use yours first, you generally win.
7th Legion gets minor points for being different -- I am sure there are people out there that want a game that can be played in 10-minute time periods (about how long the average multi-player game I was in lasted) without any strategy or thought to interrupt the action, but for those who want more, look elsewhere.
Simply put, 7th Legion's graphics are as good as Warcraft II, but that's it. The game only plays in one resolution: 640 X 480. Most serious game players that I know have a 17" (or at the very least a 15") monitor, and 640 X 480 looks very outdated on a big monitor. On a side note, although it doesn't exactly fit under "graphics," the intro is one of the best I have seen and is one of the finer points of the game.
The game sounds were average; I didn't even notice them one way or another. The music went well with the game and I enjoyed it. 7th Legion gets more points from the audio category than any other category, and the points it gets here are for being a bit better than average, which isn't saying much.
The only good thing I can say about this game is that it is a fast, total action game. I noticed that the battle cards are even more important in the multiplayer games than in the single-player games, and the game goes to the one with the best cards, period. No points for multiplayer; if I wanted to play cards I would play poker or Magic: The Gathering.
Minimum: Pentium 100, Windows 95, 16 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, 640X480 16-bit color (DirectX 5.0 Compatible) video card, 15 MB free hard drive space, mouse
Reviewed On: K6-200, Windows 95, 48 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM drive, ATI 3D Expressions+ PC2TV, SoundBlaster 16.
If your idea of a good real-time strategy game is playing a game of Warcraft where you just build a barracks and orcs and mob your opponent without any other strategy, then this is your type of game.
To quote from Microprose's promo for the game: "7th Legion_ is a head-bending, futuristic real-time action strategy game that is so fast, you'll probably hurl." I agree with Microprose. This game is so fast and the AI in both your troops and your opponent's is so bad that it gives me a head-bending headache that makes me want to hurl at the thought of people buying this game, thinking they are getting a strategy wargame. What they are getting is a real-time action wargame with dated graphics, an outdated user interface, and an awful AI.
As you might expect by reading this review, when I first started playing this game I hated it, and it never got any better after that, despite 30 hours of playing. I can, however, see that players who like fast and bloody games where strategy takes a back seat to action may like it, but approach with caution. Overall, it rates no better than a 37 out of 100.
Download 7th Legion
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP