Uprising: Join Or Die
|Editor Rating:||6.5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Since The Success Of Command & Conquer many moons ago, real-time strategy games have swept across the PC game release schedules like a virulent summer heat rash over an overweight longdistance lorry driver's pasty white buttocks (Was that really necessary? - Ed). At one point, you could barely move for mouse pointers round here, such was the games industry's dedication to foisting all manner of 'digital toy soldiers' games upon us. We've had weird biological C&C clones (Gene Wars), post-apocalyptic dino-centric C&C clones (KKND), 'proper' 3D C&C clones Total Annihilation, and cunningly disguised-as-an-Amiga-game C&C clones (the Bitmap Brothers' Z).
Well, Uprising's another one to add to the long list, although thankfully it has a new heading all of its own. Welcome to the all-new MeehWarrior-style C&C clone.
Plot, plot, fizz, fizz
Here's the story behind the game. It's the year 3082. Ant and Dec (of TV/crap single fame) are now omni-powerful media moguls, each with a personal fortune so large they've had to build special 'bank planets' three times the size of Jupiter in order to store just half of their cash. They're so rich, they can afford to employ Bill Gates to lick their bottoms clean after they've done poo-poos, while the Sultan of Brunei is paid to shake the last drops off whenever they do a piddle. Anyway, following a minor backstage misunderstanding, the pair have fallen out and vowed to destroy each other completely. To this end, they've bought a planet and decided to host a special war on it, just for them. This war provides the action for Uprising. We're just being stupid, of course - ho, ho, aren't we a pack of cards? - but let's face it, you don't really give a fiddler's pluck about the 'proper' storyline anyway. What you want to know is this: Uprising may be the 10,546th entry into the real-time strategy canon, but it's original enough and entertaining enough to be a worthwhile play. Allow us to illuminate.
The bulk of the action takes place in a first-person, realtime 3D view, with the player controlling a magic tank thing called a 'wraith' (we prefer 'magic tank thing' ourselves). The wraith can do more or less anything a Quake player can, except jump; your ability to succeed in battle depends largely on your propensity for strafing from side to side all the time. The 'magic' bit comes in as soon as you realise that the wraith also serves as a kind of mobile command centre, from which you can control an entire army. Wooh.
The gameplay revolves around the capture and deployment of 'citadels', military bases which are scattered liberally Mfc across the landscape. To capture an enemy citadel, you must first destroy every building in the area (which should delight any teenage vandals out there), at which point you may claim it as your own by manoeuvring on top of a target point and pushing a button.
Once established, your base can be used to manufacture forces: infantry, tanks, aircraft - you name it. These forces sit invisibly in the ether for a while, until you decide to call them into play. How does that work? Well, let's imagine you're in your wraith, pootling around the countryside, when suddenly you encounter a bunch of enemy troops. You can take them all on by yourself, but since you've got back-up you might as well use it: simply target an enemy unit, then press a key to summon one of your tanks (or a bomber, or infantry, etc), then join in the massive barney that ensues. At first, the way your troops arrive - teleporting out of nowhere - is a little disconcerting and perhaps a little, ahem, 'unbelievable', but apprehension soon transforms into excitable megalomania once you realise that with a sizeable army at your disposal, it's possible to literally point at something and see it destroyed before your eyes. Before long, you're reeling around the killing fields, drunk on power and the blood of the fallen. In other words, you do get involved.
It could be you
Like Total Annihilation before it, Uprising uses a cunning ruse to keep its audience involved: it places a player-controlled character right in the thick of the action. Success depends upon your ability to use captured enemy citadels and your amassed forces in a sensible manner, combined with your ability to blast the crap out of everything from the wraith. It's not quite as life-or-death as TA, mind - your wraith can be quickly reincarnated should you die. But it's still pretty exciting. And it should last a while, too: there are plenty of missions (including a superbly coherent trio of step-by-step training levels), a multi-player mode, and a "quickstart" option for those who can't wait to leap into the thick of things. So that's the good news. Now for the bad...
Well, there are a few flaws. The graphics for one: they're not particularly good, even with a 3Dfx card. They're not bod either, they're simply a bit... well, dull, really. Then there's the amount of keyboard shortcuts the player is required to remember: keys for summoning tanks, keys for summoning soldiers, keys for rotating turrets and bringing up satellite maps, keys for selecting different weapons... it's the price you pay for moving the CftC action from a top-down to an in-cockpit view, of course, but somehow you can't help feeling they could have made it all a tad more intuitive.
And finally, there's the 'jack-of-all-trades' phenomenon. By striving to please both the tenuously cerebral CftCcrowd and the knuckle-dragging, hard-nosed, 3D action fanatics at once, Uprising is in danger of disappointing both. CftC aficionados may find the strategic elements too simplistic, while the thugs may feel the action lacks a certain bite. It also takes quite a while to get the hang of things, but those who persevere will find it soon becomes strangely moreish.
Not an epoch-shatterer by any means, but a worthwhile diversion nonetheless.