Star Command: Revolution
|a game by||GT Interactive|
Star Command: Revolution hits the PC, surpassing other real-time strategy clones with some intriguing and addictive gameplay.
Star Command stands apart from the average Command & Conquer clone. First off, the game's nonlinear, so you can return to any previously conquered area, enabling you to escape from hopeless situations. There are also four alien races to choose from, each with different technologies and unique methods of attack. While the play mechanics are point-and-click, occasionally the game will focus more on exploration than on intense head-to-head battles, which adds welcome depth.
Star Command sports solid graphics and sound. The visuals show fine details on the various spacecraft, along with explosions that fill the screen. The sound effects are rich with excellent voice digitization. The music works well, but sometimes it obscures important sound cues.
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Flawless controls complement the action. While the maintenance aspects, such as keeping inventories and servicing damaged ships, are confusing at first, they're easily mastered the more you play.
If you've tired of Red Alert, chart a course for Star Command. This is one galactic battle that kills hours as fast as you kill enemies.
- Build up an attack squad before assaulting a tough enemy. When you unleash your attack, surround your enemy rather than taking him head on.
- Use the switcher ship to move the mother ship near an enemy base. Then use the mother ship to build offensive weapons near your enemy.
- The switcher ship is one of the most valuable. Build several in each area.
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In the beginning, there was. And the gamers flocked to it, purchasing in swarms. And Marketing issued an order for the creation of , which also was worshipped in kind, and gamers did pay tribute to it in material possession. But then came the day when Warcraft was no longer alone in the garden -- many others came forth with similar games, and Marketing decided to expand their creation.
Knowing the fickle tastes of Man, Marketing decided to create Starcraft, which would be Warcraft with spaceships, and millions oooed and aahed while awaiting its completion. And Marketing said "Let there be Starcraft," but it did not come forth. Instead, there was Star Command: Revolution, which had plenty of spaceships and creepy-crawlies, and promised destruction galore. And thus, was called into accountability for its amazing similarity to Starcraft (and even earlier release). And it was decided that Star Command was pretty good.
Anyway, Star Command is a new game from GT Interactive, offering many of the features and looks that Starcraft is promising, but has yet to provide. It involves four different space-faring races, each fighting to control not only vast regions of space, but also a unique element that is needed by all. The premise is similar to others of its kind -- blow up anything that refuses to follow your command, and pick up anything that might come in handy later. While Star Command builds on a very popular genre, care has been taken to ensure that it stands out from the pack, and promises lots of original gameplay.
Star Command plays like most other real-time strategy games, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. It offers the traditional 4-player multiplay, as well as SVGA graphics and a well-done Redbook Audio soundtrack. In addition, it has added several new features to the mixture. First of all, there are now five key resources over which you can squabble, four of which are crucial to a particular race, and the fifth being the key resource -- without it, you can build nothing. This fifth element is the key to the whole struggle, and while the other elements all take their part, this is the one element that everyone is fighting over.
In addition, all units have four components -- Tech (weapon speed), Engine (ship speed), Shields (health), and Control (possession). As a result, you may have an extremely powerful ship whose engine has been crippled, leaving you with nothing more than an expensive defense post. Each of the races specializes in weapons and repair of certain technologies, so a certain degree of variation or cooperation is essential in order to win. In addition, once your mother ship has mastered one of the four technologies, it can begin studying the others. This concept of experience applies not only to your mother ship, but also to all of your offensive and defensive ships as well. Ships progress from level one to level seven, each level increasing the speed, power, and effectiveness of the unit. While you can train units up to level four, the only training after that is combat.
In spite of all of this, the game starts to get old over time. You tend to be able to produce even the strongest units of a race from the very first mission, so there is little to look forward to. In addition, most of the missions feel the same after a while, with little variation in the themes. In addition, while this game has lots of flair and quite a bit of originality going for it, in the end, it seems to have no soul. There is little motivation linking you from mission to mission, and as a result, the game can get old after just a few missions.
In addition, you can only save between missions, and you can only maintain one save file per game. As a result, if you find that you have run low on resources by the time you finish a mission, on the next mission, you will no longer be able to continue (you carry resources from mission to mission), and you can't go back to an old saved game. In addition, you can't keep a save game file to allow you to try multiple strategies. You have to start the level from the beginning, an often frustrating experience.
When I first started playing Star Command, I was perplexed by the interface. Things looked like they made sense, but they didn't. I could find no menus to pull down to select options (there are few available). In addition, the usually simple point-and-click interface is anything but intuitive. While there are simple instructions in the manual, I feel that the interface could have been greatly improved upon by a little look at the competition.
Star Command's graphics are very good. All of the units are rendered in high-resolution color, and the backgrounds are impressively detailed. As a unit changes direction, its image on the control bar also turns, letting you keep track of it even when it has left the screen. Units are mostly easily distinguishable, and there is obvious detail in the animations and renderings of the ships, weapons, explosions, and facilities. Despite this, the backgrounds, while initially astounding, become rather repetitive and there is little new to see from one mission to the next. In addition, there are rarely any impressive settings geographically. As a result, there is little sensation of a "well-fortified position" or a surprise attack. This makes the game feel rather one-dimensional at times.
Star Command includes a wonderful soundtrack, filled with many orchestral and symphonic pieces. However, in spite of the quality of the music, it sounds far too much like that of Warcraft 2, and thus does not win any points for originality. Don't get me wrong, though -- if it were not for Warcraft 2, this would be a rather impressive soundtrack. In addition, all of your units sound off ("talk back" might be more appropriate) when selected, a feature that is both more annoying and less entertaining than that of its more original orcish cousin. However, the sound in general is rather high-quality, both in music and combat.
Minimum: 486/66 PC or higher (Pentium processor recommended), MS-DOS 5.0 or higher, 16 MB RAM, 50 MB free hard drive space, 1 MB VRAM on your video card, 2X CD-ROM drive or higher, SoundBlaster sound card or 100% compatible sound card (recommended), mouse.
Network play requires IPX -compatible network card, Internet play requires TCP/IP compatibility
Let's start with the good here -- the tutorial mission was good, introducing the key elements of the game, as well as the functionality associated with most of the major units and structures. However, the manual is only what comes in the CD jewel case (something no strategy gamer should have to put up with), and the in-game documentation is woefully inadequate. There are no statistics, little in the way of introduction or historical background, and the end feeling is that of a rather cheap product. If a company expects a customer to pay $45 for a game, they could at least include a decent manual. There is no excuse for a manual this skimpy, and GT Interactive executives should be forced to read their own instruction manuals after an oversight this large.
Star Command: Revolution appears to have been made as something to catch the eyes of Starcraft-hungry fans, and it just might work at that. However, this game, despite its originality, lacks depth and passion. While some areas of the game are extremely well done, other areas of the game are at times unoriginal, repetitive, and altogether unimpressive. While some gamers may get into this game, I fear that there will be two disappointments with this game for most people: The first comes when opening the box (that is when the search for a manual begins). The second comes after the fourth mission or so, when the gamer realizes that there is nothing new left in the game. Star Command: Revolution is a half-baked product, and while it may be worth playing for some people, most gamers will be happy keeping busy in other ways until Starcraft is released.
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