Wargames Defcon 1

a game by MGM, and Interactive Studios Ltd.
Genre: Action
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 4 reviews
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Wargames Defcon 1
Wargames Defcon 1
Wargames Defcon 1
Wargames Defcon 1

By combining the passive point-and-click combat of Command & Conquer with the more aggressive action of Soviet Strike, MGM Interactive is looking to appeal to fans of both genres with WarGames: Defcon 1. Playing in total 3D environments, your objective is to gain military supremacy through combat over desert, alpine, and urban settings, using tanks, copters, and other vehicles of destruction. There's even a split-screen mode for head-to-head competition.

In the unfinished rev we played, the action was fierce enough for twitch gamers, while the strategic side demanded more than an itchy trigger finger. The graphics and sound enhanced the battle experience nicely, and the control proved simple and easy to get used to. If you're looking for a game that meshes strategy with intense combat in one complete package, you'd do well to watch for WarGames: Defcon 1 this spring.

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Game Reviews

WarGames was about an out-of-con-trol mainframe, and whenever you have a popular movie that has a computer as one of the main plot elements, it's a safe bet a video game bearing its name will arrive. It's just a little surprising that WarGames took this long.

WarGames: Defcon 1 takes place 20 years after the movie, and involves WOPR, the same military computer that caused trouble before. He's up to his old tricks, and has decided that wiping out the human race will prevent war from happening again. In this game, you can either help WOPR, or try to stop him.

Players control up to eight units at a time within 32 unit armies. These units consist of tanks, helicopters and some futuristic weaponry known as an MK-4 walker. Battles are waged in various environments that reside in 30 global "hot spots." Interestingly enough, John Badman, the director of the feature film, is scripting the missions.

While details are still sketchy, it appears that this title is stretching the boundaries of using a movie license. Nevertheless, as long as MGM makes sure it's a good game, most players probably could care less.

  • MANUFACTURER - Interactive Studios
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1 or 2

In WarCames: Defcon 1, an action/strategy game that mixes elements of Nuclear Strike with C&C, the insidious WOPR computer from the classic film, WarCames, has created an army to seize the world's nuclear capabilities. The human forces consist of tanks, helicopters, and jeeps, while the WOPR throws MechWarrior-meets-SkyNet robots into the bloody broth. Fifteen solo missions for each side deliver exciting, challenging action, especially since the tight unit Ai makes it easy to marshal a large force across complicated terrain. The eternal load times, however, get to be a real drag.

Defcon l's high point is its awesome deathmatch mode, which lets you and a friend square off with each force's best units or work together against a computer-controlled opponent. Screeching missiles, burning trees, and shrieking, bloody guys abound, although a better variety of deathmatch environments would have helped greatly. In fact, Defcon 1 verges on perfection at every turn, but never quite takes the brass shell. Still, if the WOPR had been playing games like this in 1983, it might not have been so interested in chess.

ProTips:

  • Move quickly and avoid lengthy confrontations to keep the Defcon level up. If your enemy reaches Defcon 1, they'll be extremely aggressive and call air strikes on your forces.
  • The MKIII Walker packs truly serious firepower, but your grandma could outrun it. Keep it in reserve for big assaults, and stick to MKIs for scouting.
  • Use the terrain to get an elevation advantage over your opponents--you can shoot further from higher up.
  • Although an MKI Walker can take out a small force by itself, the NORAD forces tend to be weaker, but more plentiful: If you're human, attack in number.
  • When attacking large forces, completely destroy each enemy before moving on--an almost-dead Tower inflicts as much pain as a full-strength one.
  • In WOPR Mission 3, take one MKI Walker north to dispense with the first two objectives, then abandon it and take the balance of your forces east from the deployment zone. This saves time and keeps the Defcon level high.

Graphics

Defcon 1's gorgeous landscapes, lighting effects, and highly detailed units make the flat tree sprites stand out. Good thing you can torch them with heavy militia.

Control

A good outing: The control of individual units is silky smooth, especially with the Dual Analog. And the solid A.I. shines through when you're maneuvering groups of units into battle.

Sound

The pounding, pulsing, slamming shrieks of war are complemented by excellent character voices and, in the main menu, the ominous WOPR computer voice. It's a shame the WOPR doesn't narrate his briefings, though.

Fun Factor

WarGames' unit A.I. is particularly impressive when mounting large attacks, and the intense firepower rocks. Better yet, the phenomenal multiplayer game will have friends swarming your house to open a can of whup-ass.

Overview

Back in the early 1980s a movie titled WarGames was released. This film was about a kid who accidentally dialed into the national security computers and almost started a war... or something like that. Look, I am 27 years old, I remember hearing of the movie and I remember watching the movie, but I don't really remember much about it. I am not really sure which beer it was that I drank that wiped out the brain cells containing the memory of this movie, but I am pretty sure that was the cause. Anyway, the point is that I can't say that I remember much about the movie but it does not matter because the game does not require any knowledge of the film to be fun, and I have actually heard that the game itself really only shares the name with the movie and that is about it. So with that in mind, don't worry if you have never heard of the movie, don't fret.

Wargames: Defcon 1 is an action strategy title that has you commanding missions for either the good guys (NORAD) or the bad guys (WOPR). If you want to save the world or destroy the world, the choice is yours. You can play either solo or play 2-player deathmatches against a friend, all in a realistic 3D environment. You will gain access to tons of different vehicles to accomplish your 30 missions. Commanding ground troops, land, sea and air attacks keep should keep you playing for hours. The only question I have is: why try to link this game to a movie that is over 20 years old, and not just hype it for the game that it is? Oh well, that is really not important.

Gameplay

When I first heard about this game, I was a bit skeptical. I have never really liked real time strategy games. I prefer games with more of an arcade feel. All of the early indications were that this game was another ho-hum strategy game. Great, another boring game. But upon receipt of the game and looking at the box shots on the back, this did not look like any real time strategy game I had ever seen. There were helicopters blasting missiles at fortresses and some strange looking vehicle type thing that was laying waste to a tank. After playing the first mission, all of my real time strategy fears were laid to rest. This is more like an arcade blast 'em up that I enjoy. Hot damn.

Wargames is basically a shooter with some small strategy elements thrown in. The game is broken up into missions and each mission is broken up into a number of objectives. At the beginning of each mission, you are briefed as to your first objective. Once this objective has been completed, you will receive an email notification as to your next objective. If you complete all of the objectives, you will move on to the next mission. Depending on which side you choose to play, you will have 15 different missions to accomplish. Each mission get progressively more difficult but you are also introduced to the best part of the game the further you progress.

So what is the best part of the game, you ask? By far, the best part of this game is the different vehicles of destruction you get to use. Each mission has you starting out with a selected number of vehicles available. You can use any of these vehicles throughout the mission. When all of your vehicles have been destroyed, you have to start the mission over. The cool thing is that some of these vehicles are awesome. My personal favorite is the MKIII Walker. The best way to describe this thing is that it reminds me of an Imperial Walker in Star Wars. You get to walk around in this huge, two-legged beast and blast everything in sight. This baby was tough, durable and devastatingly powerful. Once you start using it, you may find it difficult to go back to anything else. Other vehicles include anything from a speeder bike that has little armor and firepower but is fast as hell, to a Laser Tank which fires lasers and has some stealthing. The vehicles are also not really confined to land either. You will have the opportunity to fly Stealth Bombers, helicopters and other hovering type vehicles. Plus, there is water around so you have to have an appearance by the patrol boats and Destroyer class ships. All in all, I just could not wait to make it to the next mission just to see what I would get next.

Speaking of missions, this is another area where this game shines. I really enjoyed the diversity of the different missions. Well, that is not entirely true. I enjoyed the different objectives throughout the missions. They had you doing everything from protecting villages to taking out security outposts. You were constantly going up against different types of enemies so you just never knew what to expect as you crashed over the top of a hill and started raiding an enemy camp.

I know that all of this sounds great in theory, but the real question is how does it actually play? I mean, you can have all of the coolest features in the world, but if the in-game action sucks then it really does not matter. For the most part, this game plays pretty well. The radar screen is easy enough to read, but I did have some problems identifying people as friend or foe. I would basically sit there and wait until somebody started shooting at me and then I would know that it was an enemy. As far as everything else goes, the game is made up of some pretty large environments. You will always have a flashing arrow on your radar leading you to your next objective, but sometimes getting there is not that easy. You will constantly find yourself looking for bridges to cross just to go across a small stream. It would have been cool to be able to walk through some of these but I guess it keeps you playing longer if you have to seek out these bridges.

I really only have a couple of complaints about this game. The first is that even though you have all of these different vehicles to use and you have a bunch of missions, the game just starts to feel repetitive about halfway through. I never thought I would say this, but it actually gets a little boring blowing things up after awhile. Okay, it never gets boring blowing things up, but you can only blow stuff up a few different ways so that gets a little bit dull.

Another thing that I was disappointed in, and this is going to sound a bit deranged, was that when you shot the ground troops, they just sort of turned into a red blob and were gone. After seeing the burning people in Nuclear Strike, it was just disappointing to see the lack of detail that went into this. I don't care how may times I shot a person on the ground in Nuclear Strike, it just never got old watching them run away while on fire. Since about 65 percent of the enemies you face are ground troops, this should have been handled with a little more care.

Graphics

The graphics in this game are a mixed bag. On one hand, you have the awesome looking terrain and explosions. On the other hand, you have the lame ground troops that turn into splotches of red. On the whole, I would say that they get the job done but I think you will find yourself switching from the close zoom to the sky cam because you really can't get a good feeling of what lies ahead when you are zoomed up close. I liked to zoom out when traveling to my next objective and zoom back in once I got there and started to fight.

Bottom Line

From what I was expecting out of this game, I was pleasantly surprised. The strategy elements of this game are very minor (at least for me) and they should not scare you off. Then again, my basic strategy was to move from objective to objective and blow the crap out of everything. I guess you could be a little more strategic if you want. Anyway, the gameplay is also fun up to a point and then it will start to slow down because you feel like you have already done everything before. The variety of vehicles really helps things out, and driving the MVIII Walker was very cool. I suggest a rental at least to check it out.

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