By Al Giovetti
On the first day Westwood created Command and Conquer and the computa god saw it and it was good. On the second day Blizzard created WarCraft and the compua god saw it and it was also good. On the third day the computa god blessed these games with high sales figures and embarrasingly opulent success. On the fourth day the computa god called this new genre real time strategy. On the fifth, sixth, and seventh day, all the other companies imitated Blizzard and Westwood. Some companies tried to add something of value to the already established genre, but the level of reproduction on these copies was reaching critical mass. And as we see it now, the feeding frenzy is continuing at a fevered pace. I think the computa god has left this genre to grow and function on its own without any further help.
Eidos has created Tomb Raider, the only true innovative game of 1996, which has won the coveted game of the year from many magazines for its new gameplay and other information marking the game and the company as being up and coming.
Company LineThe company is still mum on the press release and internet about this game, but that will not last long.
The Jovians must convert our oxygen based atmosphere to sulphur and need silicon to advance their war effort. And even though the Jovians outnumber us by thousands of times, they are more fragile in the earth environs than we are and hence the Earthlings have a small chance of winning.
Similar to all games of the real time strategy genre, you collect resources, you build structures, you build defenses and offensive units, you foray out into the map area and kill the opposition. These games are a combination of simcity and a war game, with a little resource management thrown in just in case you were a bit bored.
Between battles you are presented with an XCOM like interface where you decide what items to research, where and what to build, and other choices which are integral to the outcome of the game. This part of the game will give gameplayers more control over the outcome of the conflict.
The game play and technology behind each unit in the game will be functionally different in Conquest Earth to differentiate the game from the also ran clones of Warcraft, and Command and Conquer. The humans will have technology and tactics similar to that of what we are familiar and the other games, save when trying to fight in the rapidly expanding sulfurous alien atmosphere.
The aliens will have radically different units and technology. Alien units can be terraformed into Earth units allowing them to sneak behind enemy lines to perform sabotage or espionage.
You will be rewarded for accumulating resources, men, units, and buildings by assigning them to subsequent mission commanders. This is a first for real time strategy where the campaign game does not link mission resources of each subsequent mission.
In an exceptionally dangerous design decision, Eidos designers have added elements of both action games and strategy gamers, taking the risk that neither group will be pleased by the mixed genre features and game play. Strategists will love the wayponts that have been programmed in and the general tactical commands, while action gamers will enjoy the mouse or keyboard controlled targetting and firing mechanism that can be used to control a unit in real time combat.. There will be 60 missions and 40 different unit types from the naval, air force, and marines. You will be able to take individual control of separate units directing them to attack, evade, and search for the enemy.
The population of Jupiter is large, thousands of times higher than Earth's puny population. And now they are mad at earth for sending that pesky Jupiter probe that just messed up everything. The Jovians are anything but jovial and they have sent a massive invasion force to Earth to conquer the arrogant Earthlings.
The graphics will be presented in overhead oblique perspective with the window onto the game map on the left and a 1/3 screen panel on the right controlling various aspects of the game. The game is programmed in 16-bit color with over 65,000 colors to make it look spectacular. The graphics contain transparent explosions, gasseous effects (move out of the way quickly! - Ed.), shadows, light sourcing and texturing. Maps can zoom through four levels due to the incredible level of detail. One alien unit actually ripples with light and shimmers out of existance just like the special effects in Predator.
AnimationIn order to increase situational awareness, one of the three monitors on the right side of the computer screen will display full color full motion video (FMV) to keep you aprised of events. The entire battlefield is a large bit map which gets edited as explosions happen on the battlefield so that damage is permanent. There is no frame rate delay or vibration even with all 65,000 colors.
UtilitiesA game editor will be included allowing you to play on any three dimensional picture.
Multi-player FeaturesConquest earth will support up to eight human players, four on each side, to play over network and free internet play through MPlayer or TEN
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
ReferencesScott Udell, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 38.
Steve Poole, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 36 - 38.
Glenn Broderick, Computer & Net Player, volume 4, number 11, April, 1997, pg. 32.
Rob Smith, PC Games, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 58.