The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge
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|First Person Shooter Games, Space Games
Nip back in time a bit, to 1988. That was the year that Essex-based developers Mythos released one of the first tactical combat games - Laser Squad. The follow-up, originally intended to be Laser Squad 2, was given a new strategic management layer to link the tactical scenarios together and an inventive sci-fi storyline based around the ever-popular alien invasion of earth. It was renamed UFO: Enemy Unknown - the rest is history.
With the X-COM mantle passed on to others, Mythos is working on The Dreamland Chronicles: Freedom Ridge, another alien epic. Its 3D rendered graphics, unrestricted movement system and first-person viewpoint look likely to take turn-based strategy gaming closer to perfection.
"It's far more than just X-COM in 3D," says Mythos Games' Julian Gollop. "For starters, the storyline is fundamentally different."
"Basically, a lizard-like alien race called the Saurans have taken over earth and laid waste to much of the planet," .Julian continues. "You lead a small band of resistance engaged in what at first seems a hopeless struggle against the powerful aliens. Until, that is, you detect strange signals coming from the old, top-secret research base in Nevada known as Area 5I and code-named 'Dreamland'."
The game shares X-COM's multilevel gameplay where players switch from strategic management on a world scale to tactical combat at squad level. However, it's the new turn-based 3D combat system that makes this title so exciting.
You and your resistance fighters will be able to reclaim all kinds of weapons, from M16 rifles to F16 jets, Humvees and tanks, as well as captured Sauran weapons. Weapons will be aimed with the mouse, although the results are calculated rather than based on player skill. The size of the on-screen aiming reticule will reflect the hit chance, taking into account things such as weapon type, the soldier's ability, morale and wounds.
You'll be able to watch the action from a first-person, third-person or an independent camera viewpoint, zoom in and out, and even see inside buildings. The basic unit will be the individual soldier, but some will be able to drive cars, or operate fighting vehicles and their mounted weapons.
The Dreamland Chronicles won't use hexes or squares to dictate unit positions. Unrestricted movement is the key and the game will look and feel more like Half-Life than Incubation or earlier X-COM titles where units move on a square grid. Each tactical map will be generated at run-time from randomly-oriented tiled sections. Buildings, vehicles and terrain are all destructible, so you'll be able to blast your way through all obstacles.
Mythos is going for a minimal user interface: a narrow information bar along the bottom and a series of pop-up menus rather than page after page of icons. You'll be able to move soldiers using the arrow keys and aim or look around with the mouse.