World War III: Black Gold
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Despite the rhetoric, some would have us believe that far from securing world peace, Allied forces went into Kuwait to keep Western cars on the road. Indeed, aside from revenge there are also economic reasons for cuffing the Afghans, namely, the proposed Trans Afghan pipeline, which, in 1997, the US State Department said they would finance if the warring factions of Afghanistan would somehow unite. Spooky, innit?
But I digress. In much the same way that ancient armies marched on their stomachs, today’s high-tech forces drive about on their fuel tanks. Without oil, an organised military force is little more than a rabble, and so it is that in WWIIIthe aim is to secure oil fields, from which you pot credits, which in turn can be used to purchase equipment. Each strategy game must have its Tiberium, and here it is oil.
Three Tribes Collide
And so, as the USA you must successfully invade Iraq. As Iraq you’ll be looking to stop the infidels and as the Russians you must do a bit of both. It’s hardly what we might call World War III -'Gulf War II’ might be a more suitable title. And while the setting may be eerily close to current reality, despite its contemporary background, the controversial release of WWIII reveals a formulaic and rather traditional strategy game.
Each side has tanks, jeeps, choppers and dozens of buildings, and you fight across deserts, mountainous and arctic regions through day and night. But, where you might think that as the US you might command aerial superiority, or as Iraq you might be able to defend your bases with POWs or Western journalists, each side seems fairly even in battle. While there's nothing wrong with that, if you’re after a strategy game whose title suggests civilian casualties in the millions and hundreds of men running around in camouflaged gimp suits, you’re sure to be a little disappointed.
Earth And Beyond
Despite the game’s reliance on the Earth 2150engine, MW3 seemsa comparatively lightweight game. The three campaigns are entirely linear compared to Earths dynamic construction and the underground tunnels through which you launch the odd surprise attack seem an odd feature to have left in. The ability to design your own units is also one of the game’s hangover features, although only available to skirmish and multiplayer battles. On the plus side, WWIIIshares a common interface, a rather good one at that, providing one of the few 3D strategy games where controlling the camera is less of a struggle than the actual game.
Graphically the game is both impressive and shoddy. The explosions and lighting effects are suitable nourishment, but like Earth 2150 and The Moon Projectile units and buildings have that Blue Fefer look about them, as if each has been cut out from an empty cereal box and coloured in with poster paint.
With its available nuclear and chemical weapons, WW3 offers a more realistic tactical game than Red Alert 2, with each side racing to research the required technology before the other, but without infantry units the game feels dry. It’s hard to care for a force of poorly modelled vehicles, each about as convincing as a Scalectrix car, set among shoddy cardboard environments. If you’re after realism, political manoeuvring and nuclear paranoia, watch CNN. If you want a strategy game offering weapons of mass destruction, get Red Alert 2. WWIII: Black Gold, despite the promise of epic global destruction, will end its days in anonymity, let down by a lack of ambition more than anything else.
Download World War III: Black Gold
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Don't know about you lot, but those of us old enough to remember the paranoid '80s, with those ridiculous-yet-frightening public information films, movies like When The Wind Blows and The Day After, and of course CND, may like to know that hot on the heels of Operation Flashpoint comes another game aiming to have us ripping doors off their hinges and painting the windows white. This time it's a strategy offering and it goes by the no-messin' title of World War III.
Unfortunately for those hoping to see mushroom clouds on the 3D horizon, we've yet to hear whether nuclear weapons will be an insane tactical option for players - unless you count weapons of mass destruction' as such. However, there will be an arsenal of far more visually impressive chemical and biological weapons, which should provide a first for computer games, as well see soldiers coughing up their stomachs into their gasmasks while the civilian population run around screaming as their blistering skin peels to the ground and their eyeballs flap about their cheeks like coddled eggs. Well, maybe not.
Anyway, rather than set the game in such a paranoid decade as the '80s, WWIII will be staged more-or-less in modem times, the flashpoint being a fictional second Gulf War that escalates into a full global conflict. Soldiers that survive the germs and gases of modem warfare will pick up experience points throughout the game and like developer TopWare's previous RTS titles - Earth 2150 and The Moon Project - the game campaign will be hilly dynamic, with theatres opening up across Europe. Asia and America. Civilians too will have an effect on gameplay along with seasonal weather - nuclear winter not withstanding - and true day/night cycles. Stick a few nukes in and we'll be sorted.