In the overcrowded genre of real-time strategy, Warzone 2100 ms a true innovator when it first appeared about a year ago. It introduced a beautiful 3D perspective on the action that actually worked and had the gameplay to match. Sadly, it was so far ahead of its time, it failed to make a true impression on gamers who just wanted more of the same old tosh. Looking back at it now, it's easy to see why Ttberian Sun was such a disappointment: it was a significant step backwards from Warzone.
Although the story won't win any awards (a post-apocalyptic Earth inhabited by Mad Max-style scavengers and hi-tech soldiers), the campaign structures have much to recommend them. For starters, they don't just rely on the tired formula of 'rush enemy base' and you don't even have to build your base from scratch at the start of each mission, since it carries on through the campaign. So, instead of spending ages arranging buildings into pretty patterns, you can concentrate on the actual game. The graphics still look the business and the AI remains one of the best examples in any RTS. If you were one of the many who ignored it first time round, don't make the same mistake again.
Download Warzone 2100
Games such as total annihilation and Myth have proved that it is possible to apply new technology to the Command & Conquer genre and make it work. Cavedog used polygons and a more comprehensive theatre to spice up the action, while Bungie's ambitious 3D terrain and in-yer-face effort was ultimately limited because the player was locked in too close to the action. Both games also suffered from lapses in artificial intelligence and route finding - but then what C&C-style game doesn't?
In an effort to take their game to the next level. Pumpkin have set out to make use of the latest 3D technology and incorporate a full range of transparency effects and a Gouraud shaded, rotatable landscape, with the intention of making it the best looking game of its kind. "Warzone: 2100 is full 3D with in-depth game play and blisteringly fast action," explains Pumpkin's Jim Bramba. "The graphic effects are quite simply stunning and make use of every aspect of 3D technology. You get to recover artifacts, conduct research and design over 2000 different droids. A strong narrative drives the game forward across three huge campaign maps and over 20 smaller mission maps."
Early indications suggest that there'll be a lot more to Warzone: 2100 than lush graphical effects however. All the vehicles and units are made of polygons and constructed from three distinct components: bodies, propulsion units and turrets which will allow the player to design their own vehicles. This feature alone, coupled with the fully-rotational, Gouraud shaded landscape mentioned above, texturemapped buildings and structures and a zoom in/out liber-engine that allows you to view the action from numerous viewpoints, should be more than enough to get the juices of any die hard C&C fan flowing, but what does it have over Westwood's ageing classic? As well as all the features I've mentioned and a dynamic 3D engine, we've been working hard on developing sophisticated Al systems that govern droid behaviour and combat -the idea being that the longer you can manage to hold on to your droids, the better they'll perform for you. You will not wanna lose these guys. Similarly, the player's base lasts for the duration of each campaign, so you've got to look after it. Instead of rebuilding it for each mission, it stays as your base of operations. You get to add more buildings and defences and even use it to fly missions to other mission maps."
Clearly, Warzone: 2100 already looks the business, though whether Pumpkin can deliver the gaming goods is yet to be determined. From what we've seen so far however, we'd be inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, though we'll obviously reserve judgement until we get to go a few rounds with the team in a heated multi-player session once things are in place early next year.
Warzone 2100 borrows plenty of ideas from its predecessors (mainly the C&C series), but it has enough new ones to make it worth checking out for fans of the real-time strategy genre. The new 3D look might scare some of you off to begin with, but upon closer examination, you'll find this new format works just as well as the traditional top-down 2D view (and if you prefer an even less strategic point of view, you can take control of individual cars and play from a more action-packed third-person perspective). But while the viewing angles are mostly problem-free, the controls definitely are not. Analog is too sensitive, digital is too slow and even mouse controls aren't as smooth as they should be. Even though W2100 has more control options than any RTS before it, it's still difficult to manage your troops with precision. The grainy low-res graphics (which make it hard to tell what units are what) don't help any. But the great gameplay makes up for any shortcomings fan the controls and graphics. Having to research all your technologies, then building customized units with that technology gives this title a lot of strategic depth and a cool catch other games like it don't have. The missions are also set up nicely, with actions done in one chapter affecting how you start off the next. RTS fans should check this one out.
If finishing the Red Alert games has left you hankerin' for some more real-time strategy gaming, then you owe it to yourself to check out Warzone 2100. This title combines some of the best elements of traditional 2D RTS games with the newer 3D stuff (like WarGames). Warzone 2100 even one-ups the competition by offering customizable units. Don't let the so-so graphics turn you off...there's a pretty decent game underneath.
While I enjoy playing real-time strategy games on the PC, I'm not so sure I feel the same way about the same games on a console. That said, Warzone 2100 could very well be a full-blown PC title. There are plenty of units (being able to design your own units is a nice option), structures and weapon upgrades. But the one thing Warzone 2100 lacks is a two-player mode. Perhaps link-cable support could have alleviated the problem.
Warzone 2100 is probably the height of real-time strategy for the PlayStation. But I wouldn't know because RTS my thing. I wanted Warzone to change my mind on the whole genre. I want to be shown the light. The experience I came away with was mixed. The game sports a nice 3D engine that allows for entire screens filled with battles and destruction. However, the pacing of the game Is so slow, I keep gazing at the clock...
The year is 2100. The earth is beginning to thaw from a 20-year-long nuclear winter. On a good day, the rag-tag band of survivors who recently emerged from their subterranean sanctuary can see the sun. In Warzone 2100, the new real-time strategy game from Eidos Interactive, you must help this unlikely band of survivors prosper and reclaim technologies lost during the decades spent underground, technologies essential to defeating the bands of cut-throat mercenaries who roam North America as well as punishing whoever (or whatever) was responsible for the nuclear holocaust that pushed mankind to the brink of destruction.
The most immediately noticeable difference between Warzone 2100 and the horde of Command and Conquer clones currently on the market is the game's rotatable 3D landscapes, which add a brand-new level of realism and strategy to the tried-and-true RTS (real-time strategy) genre. Dig a little deeper, however, and you'll find even more innovation; in Warzone 2100, you don't simply choose from premade weapons of mass destruction--you create them. According to Eidos, more than 2,000 unique vehicles can be assembled from the game's basic building blocks, far more than the dozen or so found in your Once built, units can be given more than two dozen different commands, such as defend, patrol or pursue. Your forces can also be instructed to retreat after sustaining light, medium or heavy damage or, when the you-know-what really hits the fan, simply to "do or die."
Although jaded RTS fans may think they've seen and played it all, Warzone 2100's numerous innovations and sharp 3D graphics may change a few minds.
Set on 21st century Earth after a worldwide nuclear holocaust, War-zone 2100 charges you with rebuilding North America--where there are plenty of areas to explore and a whole slew of artifacts to discover. Researching these artifacts is important because they open more options as you progress. Research also enables you to build more than 2000 vehicles that can be used either to fight your opposition or to explore over 30 map areas to gather needed resources. If you're into real-time strategy, this game may be a battlefield worth fighting on.
Warzone 2100, Eidos's foray into the mass graveyard of console real-time strategy games, assaults the problem of controlling mouse-oriented games with joypads by offering a unique battle interface. Unfortunately, it falls flat.
Take the Helm
In Warzone, you take control of the lead unit in each platoon and select targets for the entire group---but your backup lags behind, making you an easy target. Even worse, your unit has no distinguishing marks, so you may get lost amidst your troops when entering battle mode. Furthermore, because most attacks require multiple platoons, it's hard to move a large force. There's a sharp learning curve, too; you'll have to constantly research new weapons and defenses and sometimes even "design" new units (some 400 researched technologies with vehicle, cyborg, and aircraft structures).
In the Zone
Although low on details, Warzone's utilitarian visuals offer a tremendous amount of freedom: You control your zoom, pitch, and angle with the right analog stick. Impressive cut-scenes aside, the explosions and weapon blasts are muted and bland, making mass destruction unsatisfying. Luckily, Warzone's pounding sound effects and eerie vocals take up the slack and keep your seat hot despite the repetitive, understated military-sounding score.
Despite the game's several drawbacks, Warzone achieves victory with unique attributes like structures that endure over several missions and units that improve with experience. This is a fine real-time strategy that's worth playing...but the PlayStation s not the best medium for it. Thankfully, there's a solid PC version out there.
- To minimize losses and to keep veteran units, order everybody to retreat at medium damage-they'll automatically flee before tanking.
- Make sure to recycle your less-powerful vehicles so the big guns carry the most experience!
- On Arizona 6, rally in the southwestern part of the map, then bring at least two platoons of tanks with mobile repair units north to the enemy base.
- During the Arizona 3 mission, prepare a force of tanks at full strength because the next mission is a timed transport attack.
A technical glitch in the new satellite defense system touched off a nuclear firestorm that consumed nearly all of humanity. Of those who survived the nuclear devastation, only small bands of the organized and prepared remained after years of famine, plague and nuclear winter -- in all, maybe a million souls.
Your group has decided to emerge from hiding and find what is left of the land above. Humanity must be rebuilt and you have the vision to do it. Opposing forces must step aside as you usher in a brave new world. Be careful, however, because the sinister force behind the satellite malfunction is out there. Waiting.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
This is, in my opinion, one of the coolest real-time strategy games to date. It really brings a breath of fresh air to this cookie-cutter market. One of the most obvious innovations (well, it's not really original, but pretty close) is the three-dimensional terrain and vehicles with positional camera. You can zoom in to eye-level to enjoy the action or zoom out for a commander’s overview. Is that mountain blocking your view? You think there are some enemies cowering behind that building? No problem; just whirl your camera view around for a look on the other side. It is really cool. However, I found myself mostly watching the action from a medium distance because there is too much going on to be worried about whipping my camera around all the time.
Speaking of lots going on, Warzone 2100 is a whirlwind of activity. Time is critical; you must not waste it. Build like mad when it's slow, because it won’t last. When it's not slow it's all-out war, but you must keep building, researching and prototyping in addition to directing the action. Oh, did you forget to close up that back entrance to your base? Now you're fighting on two fronts. Ah, beautiful chaos!
The controls are pretty straightforward. Basically, seven simple icons take you into various menus which let you design, build, and order your troops around. Designing your own units is a real treat. As you progress along your research path, more and more goodies are added to your pool. When you push the design button, you assemble a prototype from your pieces. There are three main pieces to assemble: wheels, chassis and turrets. Wheels can be things like actual wheels, half-tracks, hovercraft or flying machines. Chassis are essentially armor and can be made of several materials that vary in weight and strength combinations. Turrets can be machine guns, missiles, flame-throwers, howitzers or command modules for leading other machines in battle. You can create literally hundreds of different machines any way you like. Of course, some combinations work better than others, but Pumpkin Studios did not expressly explain what each improvement is good for. It's kind of a trial by fire -- which, depending on your perspective, may make the game more fun.
There is oh-so-much more to this game, but I will let you discover it for yourself.
Graphics are pretty good. They are not as polished-looking as Starcraft or Age of Empires, but you must remember that this is a true 3D game. Each unit is not just a pretty, pre-rendered bitmap. Each object is fully three-dimensional. So in order to have hundreds of objects on the screen at once, each object is simplified. However, they are pretty well done as you can see by the screenshots. Most importantly, you can tell most units apart from one another at a glance (except those darn repair turrets; they are really hard to pick out).
Eye candy is a big part of this game. Explosions abound. Sometimes you think everything is on fire. And if it's not on fire, it's smoking like a chimney from all the damage it took in the fire. However, if you survive to win the battle, the scenario rewards you with a little fireworks display. Yeah!
This is always a tough one. Sound is pretty good in this game. Different weapon types make different sounds so you can tell if you need to look at something more closely just by the sound. Plus, the sounds fit the actions. That doesn’t sound like much, but it's actually quite rare and beautiful. Usually I write something in here about distracting, out-of-place sounds, but I didn’t have any of that in this game. You shouldn’t notice good sound; it should enhance gameplay, and that’s what Warzone 2100 does.
Pentium 166, 16 MB RAM, 30 MB hard drive space, and Windows 95 are the minimum requirements. However, Pumpkin recommends: a Pentium 200, 16 MB RAM, and a 3D card or 32 MB RAM for software rendering mode.
The documentation was pretty sparse. At first I really wanted some information about how to choose between different chassis and wheel types. I mean there is nothing said anywhere about that. Then I discovered that figuring it out was part of the game. Well, I still haven’t made up my mind about whether I like that or not. I had a hard enough time keeping track of the battle around me. I don’t need to stop and take the time to examine the little in-game bars and graphs for each discovery. Well, where the documentation leaves off, I’m sure the Internet will pick up.
There is a pretty good in-game tutorial as well. It covers the very most basic aspects of the game. You quickly outgrow the skills learned in the tutorial, but you get a feel for the game and that gives you a jump start.
As I said before, this is a pretty fun game. However, there is one problem for me. It is not addictive. A great game should make you come back again and again. Age of Empires does that for me, so does Half-Life, and I even load X-Com back on my system periodically if you can believe it. For some reason that I can’t place my finger on, I couldn’t keep playing this game over and over. Perhaps it is because none of my friends have it and the multiplayer element hasn’t spurred it forward. But whatever the reason, it keeps a really cool game from being a really great game.
Give it a shot if you have some extra dough and find a good deal -- not necessarily in the bargain bin, just a good deal. If you like RTS games with loads of action and mile-a-minute chaos, this could be the game for you. Especially if you have some friends who need crushing!
Snapshots and Media
- Command & Conquer Red Alert
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2 - Yuri's Revenge
- Command & Conquer Red Alert Retaliation
- Command and Conquer: Renegade
- Dune - The Battle for Arrakis
- Dune 2000
- Emperor: Battle for Dune
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Winter Assault
- Warhammer 40,000: Final Liberation
- Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior