UltraCorps

a game by Microsoft
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review
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Overview

With the universe in peril from the nefarious Legion of Sludge's unstoppable conquests, the UltraCorps were created to fight them off -- but the UltraCorps soon turned upon themselves and complete chaos resulted throughout the universe. Anarchy will continue, unless someone takes up the challenge of conquering all of their enemies and rising up as the supreme force in the universe

Gameplay/Controls/Interface

UltraCorps is a multiplayer turn-based strategy game on the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone and is the ultimate of its kind on an intergalactic level. If you are a joystick-riding, tactical, blood-and-ooze in the face type of hero, then turn around right now, since you aren't going to get the adrenaline rush from this game that your body craves. On the other hand, if you grew up playing Risk or Diplomacy and feel the need to crush your opponents through dominant and ruthless strategy, then head for The Zone -- UltraCorps is right down your alley.

In UltraCorps you are fighting to gain galactic control against literally thousands of opponents. You can choose from 14 different alien races which will determine your starting weapons, home planet resources, and perhaps with whom you will create alliances. Regardless of your choice, you can quickly, through purchase or conquest, develop new weapons and technologies you will need to dominate your friends and enemies. The developers of UltraCorps (VR-1 Inc.) gave the game a realistic economic feel—limited resources are needed to create materials for your war effort and as demand throughout the universe rises for a certain weapons, so does the price. Social interaction is crucial in the game. UltraCorps provides an in-game e-mail system, as well as newsgroups and player directories. I found that it was a necessity to cultivate good relations with my neighbors, create alliances and treaties, join forces against invading opponents, and conduct deception operations. Since the game is turn-based (games are either one or two turns per day), you have ample time to work with or to tantalize your fellow players.

UltraCorps does not require any software to play, except for either Internet Explorer or Netscape Communicator 4.0 browser to connect to the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone. The game has an intuitive browser feel to it that I found easy to use. There is a straightforward online tutorial, as well as a help section, which can take care of most of your questions. I also found good, but varied advice on strategy on the main site and in the newsgroups. The Zone also provides a chat group for each game so you can ask your fellow players any last minute questions. UltraCorps lets you take the game for a two-week test drive before signing up for one of their flat monthly fees.

Graphics

Microsoft touts UltraCorps as having "high-resolution graphics," which amount to nothing more than some nicely done JPGs of alien technologies -- these you only see when you look them up in the galactic encyclopedia. The main graphical interface is a rather unimpressive browser display. The galactic map is "zoomable" and allows to you color-code your opponents, but is not something you'll be writing home about. I did like bringing up the Universe map, which shows a "Milky Way" looking galaxy with all of the colonized and non-colonized worlds in it. You can even highlight the planets you control and realize how insignificant they look in comparison to the entire galaxy.

System Requirements

There is no software to download, but you do need to connect to the Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone.

Minimum: Windows 95 or NT 4.0, Pentium 75 MHz , 8 MB RAM, 15 MB hard disk space, VGA 256-color, 640 x 480 display, 14.4 Kbps, Internet Explorer 3.02 or 4.x, or Netscape 4.x, mouse

Bottom Line

Again, if you are looking for a multiplayer strategic turn-based game, you will have found nirvana, but if you are a joystick wielder, avoid this game like the plague. I found myself quickly consumed in the game and enjoying the interaction with fellow players. Test it out for the free two-week trial and you will see how easily it is to get swept up in the play of UltraCorps.

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