Liberation Day

a game by Interactive Magic
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 5/10, based on 1 review
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Overview

So you thought you won! Well, even if you did, you didn’t. Liberation Day is a continuation of Fallen Haven. It is more advanced than Fallen Haven, but you do not need to have played Fallen Haven to enjoy this game. The premise is that you lost the New Haven colony world to aliens; now you are outnumbered and outgunned and you have to take it back. There are four continents to re-take, each with increasing resistance. The first continent gets your feet wet, and it gets incrementally difficult with each continent you retake. There are several alien races that range from rather stupid to quite intelligent. The key to this game is research and moving in for the kill with caution. In addition to ground troops and floating or hovering units, there are also air and sea units to command and defend against. You can play individual scenarios or a full-on invasion. Depending on your time and commitment, you can start a full invasion and save along the way. A good way to start is with an individual scenario, since each scenario also indicates difficulty level.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

If you can point and click with a mouse, you can play this game. There are plenty of on-screen menus to keep you informed and up to date as to what is going on. There are several stages to the game. In the first, you build up your own stronghold on the continent you are trying to conquer. The buildings you choose to place in your stronghold will determine the military units you will be able to produce and attack with. You will be defending your stronghold from time to time from counterattacks. You will also select adjacent territories to attack. You do not need to take them all, but some of the out-of-the-way areas give you big bonuses in building and research points. If you want to succeed in future battles you will need to capture every research building you can. Research points make your units stronger and more effective.

During your attack you will have a deployment phase, and you will have limited areas where you can land your troops. These areas are clearly marked. Since you are attacking, you get first strike -- or first attack -- after deploying your units. Keep in mind that this does go both ways, and on counterattacks the enemy will have first strike. I like the addition of air and sea units and the addition of automated units that were not in Fallen Haven. One other significant addition is the use of terrain. Some units such as footmen can walk through wooded areas. Armored vehicles can only move through open territory or on roads; watch out for land mines. Automated units allow for reinforcements to be brought into the fight without waiting a full turn first. They cost more but can get you out of a tight spot, so save some deployment points for that time of need. This has allowed me to win more battles than I can count. Learn them, use them often, and you will have a better chance of winning. Remember, though, that since you have an automated unit, so does the enemy. You must always protect your flank. The moment you think you are going to win, the tables can turn against you.

The difficulty settings in the game do not make the enemy any stronger or weaker, but they do affect the number of deployment points you have to bring in units with. Less deployment points means less units you have to use in accomplishing the same goal. This is a very effective way of making the game harder or easier, depending on the setting you choose. Learn on easy and then challenge yourself all over again on a harder setting. Do not expect to finish this game in a few days, or even in a few weeks unless you play around the clock.

There were two things I did not like about the game. First of all, you cannot play the alien race unless you are playing multiplayer mode. In Fallen Haven you could win by playing either side, and that doubled the replayability, since once you won with one race you could switch sides and do it again with the other race. The second thing I miss from Fallen Haven is the drop ships and being able to maintain all the regions once you took them. The drop ships added a restriction to the number of units that forced you to work with a maximum number of units of 24. Here, your only limits are your deployment points.

Graphics

The biggest weakness of Fallen Haven was the graphics quality. By comparison, Liberation Day is much better. Animation, animation, animation: this is a noticeable improvement. There are many more effects to watch and see which enhances look and feel of the game. The addition of more units has added to the overall look and feel. The automated units bring in some interesting and fun visual effects. There are a lot more colorful landscapes, buildings, and units. Since you have units that can hike through the trees, that also means that they can stop in the trees. This could make it difficult to find your units or the aliens’ units in the trees the next turn. Visually, they get flagged so you can locate them. This made it easy to identify what type of unit it is since each unit that can hide in the trees has a different visual flag. My favorite unit is the helicopters because of the animation. There is nice detail, including pitch of the helicopter and firing effects. The alien "Pack Freaks" have a nice bounce to their landings. There are two levels of graphic support. Depending on your graphics card and processor speed, you can take advantage of the higher resolution. If you have the recommended hardware (see below), I recommend the high resolution mode.

Audio

This game has the usual background music that I did not find offensive. I am not a fan of most game music, but there were times when I did find myself with the music on and it did add to the game. The sound effects were great. I liked the little things. There were, of course, the usual gunshots and bombs exploding, but there are several distinct sounds for most of the enemy units. The "Pyro Manics" and "Footman" sounds are some of my favorites. Some sounds make you cringe, since you know what those units can do to your forces. I found myself holding my breath, hoping that the unit or units under attack would survive. There are too many good sounds to mention here, but if you played this game without a sound card or with your speakers turned off, you would miss half the game experience.

Multiplayer Support

This game does support multiplayer mode called "Deathmatch." I did not have a chance to try this out, but it did pique my interest. The manual suggests that there are two ways to play Deathmatch. One way is for two opponents to both play the humans, and the first to destroy the aliens capital wins. The other way allows for one player to play the alien race and the other player to play human race. The goal in this mode is for the humans to destroy all alien units. The aliens’ goal is to destroy the human headquarters. This type of game is not suited to lots of people, but it is nice to see you can make the planet safe with a friend.

System Requirements

Minimum: Pentium 90, 16 MB RAM, 100 MB of hard disk space, Windows 95, and 100% DirectX compatible system, 4X CD-ROM drive, mouse, sound card

Recommended: Pentium 133 or better, 32 MB RAM, 177 MB hard disk space

Documentation

The documentation is very good. Once you get comfortable with the gameplay and understand the storyline, the tables in the back become your best friend. They show you what buildings you have to build to be able to produce the units you want. They also help indicate what alien buildings you may find, but do not tell you what units are created in those buildings. You will have to find that out for yourself. If you destroy the right building, you can stop some alien units from being produced and brought in as reinforcements. You will notice that the alien units list is longer and the number of alien buildings that can be built is more. You are outnumbered in many ways, so you will have to make do with what you are given and use your wits to win. The documentation is 73 pages and reads quickly. It is worth your time to read through at least the getting started and quick start sections, starting on page 17. The first of the book goes through the storyline. If you just have to play right away, go back later and read the book; you will be rewarded with some nice little bits to help your gameplay.

Bottom Line

I had a great time playing this game. If you like strategy games, you will like this and you will be challenged. The interface is easy to learn, but there is a lot that you will grow into using. At first you will not need all the features to succeed, but each level you go up you will need to use all you have to finish the objective. I also love a game I can dive into, where it cannot be finished in one sitting or even a weekend. I gave this game 88/100, because my complaints would be noticed only by someone who played the game’s predecessor.

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