Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri

a game by Looking Glass Studios, Inc.
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
Rate this game:

Terra Nova's sci-fi shoot-em-up action sends you into more than 30 challenging first-person 3D combat missions. Armed with Powered Battle Armor and a mind-boggling array of weaponry, you must defend your space colony. This game's A.I. enables you to send your team members off to complete independent tasks, while your enemies have the ability to adapt to your various strategies. You battle on one of four unique interactive worlds, and more than 30 minutes of full-motion video help outline the plot.

Download Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri

PC Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Overview

As the newest member of Strike Force Centauri (SFC), your mission is to protect the Terran populace from bands of armed pirates and terrorists. You are dropped from the sky onto a hostile plain, armed only with your powered battle armor. It will take every ounce of skill and strategic planning for you to succeed and live to see another dawn.

Yet another challenger to MechWarrior 2's throne in the popular new genre of first-person, mechanized warfare games, Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri strides out to meet the challenge with both barrels loaded. Will its claims of superiority net it a secure place in combat history, or will it stumble and be crushed under the weight of its own ambition?

Gameplay / Interface

While playing Terra Nova, I quickly discovered something which I had been fearing for some time: I suck at this type of game. There's something about mechanized warfare and the numerous control options that disagrees with my system. Still, the learning curve on Terra Nova was relatively short. Both keyboard and mouse are needed to play effectively, and each has many possibilities. I'm sure that many accomplished players could romp and stomp in their PBAs in no time, but I still prefer games that use four or five keys or the mouse for control. Call me old-fashioned.

One interesting feature of the gameplay is the interaction with other members of Strike Force Centauri. You can not only talk to them during the missions, you can view the battlefield through their eyes and even give them commands ... wait a minute ... why is the rookie on the strike force giving orders? Oh well, a small lapse in logic to allow an added dimension to gameplay is, I suppose, acceptable.

Graphics

In Terra Nova, you play your missions from a head-on perspective, looking through the visor of your powered battle armor (PBA). The terrain is designed and represented well, although sometimes distant objects (like your enemies) can be a little distorted or hard to see. This frustrated me at first, when I kept getting blown up by unseen pirates on my first mission. But then, you must use a little tact in your approach to the enemy camp, and once you learn to scan the landscape using your drones or laser crosshairs, fighting becomes more like fighting and less like trying to shoot frantic pigeons with a slingshot in a pitch black room.

Audio

The sound effects were well-chosen and well-recorded. The music was typical for this genre, being fast-paced and repetitive. Sometimes I wonder why game developers don't spend as much time implementing new audio technologies as they do video or graphics technologies. If I was in a mech battle in the distant future, would I be reduced to listening to cheesy synthesizer music? But on the whole, the audio for Terra Nova was slightly better than average.

Documentation

There is a welcome trend in the industry toward entertaining and interactive setup programs. Remember the C&C setup, with its flashing screens and official sounding voice-over? The installation procedure for Terra Nova was very similar, even down to the digitized female voice. These added touches allow the installation to become part of the game, rather than just a chore one must complete before playing it.

The documentation included with Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri was beyond adequate, with thorough explanations of the game's features and controls, and well-planned illustrations (although I would have preferred more screenshots). I quickly found, however, that reading the manual was a luxury -- not a necessity -- due to the fact that you must complete "training missions" and read background material in the game itself before the SFC will drop you to start your first mission. I could see how some players might become annoyed at having to read or with the delay of bloodshed, but personally, I felt that the 20 minutes or so of time invested in "training" was time well spent.

System Requirements

Pentium 60, 8 MB RAM, 30-45 MB hard drive space, 2X CD-ROM drive, sound card

Note: I played Terra Nova on a 486 DX4-100 with 16 MB RAM and had no problems.

Bottom Line

Probably the most unfortunate and even shocking aspect of this game is the complete lack of modem or network support. Looking Glass stated a while ago that a multiplayer add-on would appear soon, but has anybody seen it? As a single-player action game, I found Terra Nova: SFC to be well-designed and good for several hours of gaming, but the lack of multiplayer support is a glaring flaw. How popular would MechWarrior 2 have been without at least modem play capabilities? If you are looking for a solid single-player action title, Terra Nova is worth checking out. If going toe-to-toe in a little mechanized slaughterfest with your best friend is more your style, you may want to borrow this one, but not buy it. Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri receives a respectable, but "room-for-improvement" score of 71.

Other Games by Looking Glass Studios, Inc.

X More on GameFabrique Mario Kart 64

Download Mario Kart 64