|a game by||Creative Edge Software, and Panasonic Interactive Media|
|Platforms:||PC, Playstation, Atari Jaguar, Saturn|
|Editor Rating:||7.2/10, based on 3 reviews|
|User Rating:||7.0/10 - 4 votes|
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|See also:||Download Strategy Games|
Everyone's squishy friends are lining up to build and battle on your Jag CD. Baldies puts you in charge of developing an armada of the spineless masses to battle against hostile enemy forces. In the game, your mission is to build your Baldie empire and search out the local enemy force to destroy them.
The game follows these same guidelines through the various stages, but continues to increase the difficulty in the missions by raising the number of enemies and starting your troops out with less equipment and supplies to begin the battle with.
There are four types of Baldies each with its own skills that benefit you in various ways. You access their skills by placing them inside structures that they build and making them to go to work. Each building can hold a set amount of Baldies, by balancing the number inside you control everything from their research and weapons to their repopulation habits. Increasing the number of soldiers inside allows the soldiers outside to shoot and use grenades. Increasing the number of scientists allows you to research new weapons and equipment to help your army in the battle.
Moving your cursor around the screen is extremely slow in the beginning of the game, but will speed up if you can perfect the skill of using the A button to scroll around. Best results are obtained by finding the balance between the slow and fast-moving cursors and practicing with the two extensively.
The graphics in Baldies are fair at best. The characters and structures in the background are not as sharp as one would expect them to be because of their small size. Players can still get a good feel for the action by just watching, but the visuals could have been more clear throughout. The music sounds like a cross between classical and Pee Wee's Playhouse but is still highly imaginative and enjoyable for this type of title.
Baldies taps into the strange and twisted part of your brain that makes you enjoy building and conquest. It is easy to get hooked on Baldies while acting as a god, controlling the hairless masses. For Jaguar CD owners, Baldies is bound to soak up much of your time.
Baldies are a group of very small people with, as you may have guessed, no hair--trying to establish a viable society comprised of workers, builders, soldiers and scientists. That's it. No farmers or teachers or firemen or even heroin abusers. Bald heroin abusers are cute too.You can see that it's to let your imagination run away with you when playing this jne, because there isn't a whole lot of excitement involved otherwise.
Baldies is an action/strategy game for those who like to sit around manipulating tiny people on the television screen, watching them build houses, get old and drown skunks. It's enough to make one yearn for the good old days of Cannon Fodder. What an excellent action/strategy game that was! No facetiousness intended. Probably not a fair comparison either. Hnrimm...maybe if the Baldies wielded guns.
The game boasts an advanced Artificial Intelligence that allows you to observe the Baldies in a "fishbowl" environment. But "observation" isn't what usually attracts me to a j game. Baldies features over 100 levels in five different I worlds, with bonus levels, hidden features, and various contraptions that allow you to attack the bad guys (distinguished by full heads of hair).
Here comes Baldies -- the lunatic action strategy challenge that leaves its toupee at home. Baldies is a real-time action strategy game similar to Warcraft with a little bit of Lemmings thrown in for good measure. You control a band of cute but ruthless bald characters with one goal -- wipe out the enemy Hairies. In order for your empire to survive and grow, you must manage both what types of Baldies you have (Workers, Scientists, Soldiers or Builders) and what tasks they perform. Each level presents a new challenge, and for those who master all the single-player levels (including a trip to Hell), Baldies also supports up to four players for head-to-head play on IPX networks.
Baldies is an extremely addictive real-time warfare challenge with a demented sense of humor. You are the god-like controller of the Baldies and your mission is to guide the tribe through 100 levels in five different worlds. When you start each level, your tribe consists of a dozen or so Baldies who are wandering aimlessly around the landscape -- your first task is to build up the population. The best way to get started is to build a small house where your Baldies can increase their population. Once you have built up their numbers you can start planning your attack.
Each Baldie can be assigned one of four tasks -- Worker, Scientist, Soldier or Builder. Each profession is vital to your society and the key to a successful tribe is balancing each group. Workers provide the power you need to make changes to the environment, and they also serve as Breeders when inside a house. The Scientists can create devastatingly effective weapons and vehicles that can be used to destroy the enemy Hairies and for building. Soldiers are the defenders of your empire -- outside of buildings they will attack any invading Hairies, and inside the barracks they work to create bullets and grenades. Builders construct and maintain the buildings that fuel your war operation -- the labs, barracks and houses where the Workers, Scientists, and Soldiers work.
Unlike similar games, you don't always have direct control over where your Baldies go -- they usually just wander aimlessly around. You can pick up individual Baldies and drop them wherever you want -- such as in a building, near the enemy, or in a tree. Once your population is large enough, you can also give whole groups of Baldies wings, and direct them to fly to any destination. You also have some extra control over the soldiers and builders. Soldiers will move toward a shield icon you control -- you can place it near your buildings and they will gather to defend, or place it on an enemy house and they will storm it. The builders are attracted to flag icons -- they will mill around the flag for a while, then build a new building when there are enough of them.
Clicking on a building opens it up so you can change what tasks are being performed. You can assign all the Baldies to expand the building, set them to creating ammunition for your soldiers, assign them inventions to work on, or put them in the worker's room where they will create more Baldies (you don't get to watch that -- this is a family game). You can even kick them out of the house. It takes some practice to keep the various types of Baldies balanced -- if you have too few soldiers, you'll get overrun, but if you make too many, your builders can't keep your houses in good repair.
While it's possible to win in the early levels without expanding your forces, you will soon need to call on the inventions of the scientists to successfully destroy the enemy. Once you have created a lab for them to work in, your scientists can create inventions like Poppers (which inflate the enemy until they explode) or land mines. You can also pick up various animals and objects and drop them in the lab. Your scientists will use them to create things like the Skunk Bomb: drop it onto the roof of an enemy house and watch them run outside. Hopefully you've already planted a land mine just outside the door. Eventually your scientists can create mass-destruction weapons like cars (hit-and-run is legal in Baldie land) and the ultimate weapon: the Exploding Cow.
Each level provides a new challenge, and there are many secret and bonus levels for you to discover. Most of the fun in Baldies is figuring out new things to do -- I often found myself leaving one or two of the enemy alive for a while just to have time to experiment.
In addition to the single-player levels, Baldies supports multiplayer games on IPX networks. Up to four people can play head-to-head against each other -- each player is trying to destroy all the others. The one thing lacking in Baldies is support for play over a modem.
The animations in Baldies are very well done -- lights come on in the houses when it gets dark, animals scamper around, and each type of Baldie does different things. The DOS and Windows 95 versions look very similar and have the same gameplay, but the animations are different -- it's worth playing both just to see them. All the graphics are smooth, even on slower systems. You can also turn off extra features like cloud shadows if the game is too slow.
Baldies has a rich assortment of sound effects -- your Baldies grunt and complain when you pick them up, wind whistles through the trees, rain patters on the ground, and the various weapons pop and sputter (the Exploding Cow is particularly fun). The effects provide vital cues to what is happening off-screen and make the gameplay more engrossing. The game also has rich music tracks that accompany each level.
The documentation for Baldies is somewhat sparse. You are given a solid overview of the game controls and instructions for interacting with the game environment, as well as an overview of many of the inventions you can create. Detailed information on creating and combining the inventions is not available -- you need to play around and discover what is possible (which is half the fun). The one thing lacking is a tutorial to help beginning players get up to speed, but I found that after a short time playing the game I had no problems.
System Requirements and Comments
Windows 95: 486 66MHz, 8 MB RAM, DirectX 2.0 compatible video card, 2X CD-ROM drive, DirectX 2.0 compatible sound card, mouse.
DOS: 486 33MHz, 4 MB RAM (8 for network play), VGA video card, 2X CD-ROM drive, mouse; most major sound cards supported.
Network Play: IPX compatible network.
Patches: Some users have experienced problems with Baldies freezing during gameplay or having sound difficulties if DirectX 3.0 is installed. A patch is available from the Baldies web site to correct these problems.
Baldies is one of the most original games I've seen in a while. It provides an addictive gaming experience, and has enough secrets and tricks to keep you on your toes for a long time. The inventions you can create and the endless ways to combine them are absolutely hilarious. Panasonic describes Baldies as "Totally demented action for people who think," and that's exactly what you get. Baldies is a definite must-have for strategy and puzzle fans. I give Baldies a score of 93 out of 100.