This Means War
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When It Comes To Strategy games, MicroProse has the indisputable reputation of King Of The Castle. Transport tycoon, Civilization, Colonization, X-COM -all classic games guaranteed to keep you going well into the small hours without even a whiff of Prozac or Red Bull.
At the moment you can't move for real-time strategy wargames: Command & 'Conquer from Westwood, Waterworld from Intelligent Games and 'Z' from the Bitmap Brothers look quite superb; they are all jostling for attention ready for the Christmas rush, but that hasn't stopped MicroProse from entering the fray with the first product from US game designer Star Jammer. Let's just say that it's playing this one cool, and remaining quietly confident that it can produce something on at least equal terms.
This means what exactly?
Well, it's distinctly Mad Max-ish (as is Waterworld) and set in a futuristic post-apocalyptic hell type scenario that involves wombling round the wilderness looking for junk that can be recycled and put to good use (ie it can be used to smash the shit out of your opponent). And why does the world now resemble Canary Wharf on a Sunday afternoon? Well, it would appear that a computer virus has infected the entire world-wide information network, and as a result mankind has been plunged into anarchy. Resources are scarce and concentrated in certain areas, and minor warlords are now involved in a bitter power struggle as they vie for control of the metal, oil and weaponry of pre-crash times. In other words, it's like trying to buy food for a picnic or fishing trip late on a Saturday.
Anyone who is remotely familiar with the concept of trying to buy a baguette in Sainsburys so you can have a bacon sarnie while watching Bay watch or Superman will no doubt revel in this real-time battle tank simulator that has you pitting your wits, tanks and resources against an opponent ('real' player if you're playing over a network, or CPU-controlled if you're not) who is trying to do the same as you - ie take over an area, set up a base and then use its resources to strengthen your campaign so you can go and beat the hell out of someone else. There are over 40 Campaign scenarios in all, that get progressively difficult as you, er... progress. What's more, as it's all in real-time, it gets pretty intense once you have your mines, refineries and truck routes on the go. This kind of wargame is a million miles away from your plodding hex games of old and there's not an anorak in sight.
This means SimCity, Transport Tycoon and UFO
But it's not all fight, fight, fisticuffs, oh no. There's a large dollop of strategy in there too. To win the player must carefully use limited resources to construct vehicles, weapons and ammunition, take over territories and gradually build up their army so that they are powerful enough to destroy their enemy's HQ before they themselves are wiped out. Developer Star Jammer has spent ages getting the A1 spot on and working on a learning curve that's guaranteed to get you hooked after just a couple of minutes. The SVGA graphics are impressive, there's loads of animations, explosions and linking bits, the vehicle and weapon designs are so cool they probably live in an icebox and the user-friendly Windows interface makes it very easy to get into. On the downside, you will need a 486DX (at least) with 8mb of ram, but when a game's got this much to it. you can't really expect anything less.
Download This Means War
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP