Warzone 2100

"A 3D Dream"

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Warzone 2100, developed by Pumpkin Studies and published by Eidos Interactive, is a real-time strategy game with a 3D interface. The story takes place on a nuclear-devastated Earth in the 21st century. As one of the few remaining top generals, you have been called upon to recover the technology needed to rebuild civilization. You have to build and maintain a base, assemble an army and defeat enemies. There are three campaigns, about 30 missions, with a well-documented script that is told via in-game cutscenes and in-mission briefings. You will be able to create 2,000 unit variations, using 400 different technologies. There are 3D graphics and a camera capable of zooming in on objects and 360-degree rotation. Price: $49.95. The graphics on the Eidos Web site are as creative as the graphics in their games. They have contests, demos, clubs, forums, links, and news. http://www.eidosinteractive.com
Warzone 2100 is a challenging game to play. I would suggest it for teens and adults that are advanced beginners, intermediate or advanced game users. You can set the game difficulty to easy, normal, or hard. There is a tutorial on how to build structures and use them for the best results. If you have played this type of game before, you should have no problem.
  • Over 400 different technology types allow you to research and create hundreds of your own units.
  • Presented in a full 3D world over three large campaign maps that can be rotated and viewed from any angle and zoomed in and out.
  • Your base and units can be used throughout the entire campaign as you have full carry-over from mission to mission.
  • An easy to use interface and a smooth learning curve prepare players for the campaign or skirmish missions.
  • Advanced artificial intelligence for both player-controlled units and enemy units. Experience levels, path-finding abilities, and unit orders show what AI is.
  • Multiplayer support for both PC and PSX versions.
Interface: The control interface in this game is intuitive. The beginning screens and menus are easy to use, not complex. Moving the three dimensional map around is easy, fast and very useful. Using either the mouse or keyboard you can turn the map on any of the three axis as well as zoom in and out with ease. You can move along with your troops to see them attack a fort or defend your base. The mouse is the primary control for this game. You select your troops or buildings using the left mouse button. You then left-click on the location or item you want the vehicle to move to or attack. To change to another item just right-click somewhere else on the screen and select a different one. There are also a myriad of hot keys for rapid control.You can set waypoints for your units, as well as assign specific delivery points of new units built by factories. This is a very advanced interface for this type of game, encompassing just about everything a real-time strategy fan could want.

An unobtrusive Order Reticule sits in the bottom left hand corner. It allows you to build, research, manufacture, design, consult intelligence reports and control your commanders onscreen. Each icon in the reticule only appears if you have the required structure built, or if the technology required for it is present. Only the intelligence and build displays are available at the star of the game. Next to the Order Recticule is your power meter which lets you monitor how much, or how little, energy you have left and beside that is your radar map which shows every single building and unit you have.

An excellent feature is an interface to control your construction that's independent of your buildings so you have the ability to build remotely. You don't have to search and click on a factory to build a unit.You can manage all your research, queue up new units and check on intelligence without ever being at your town.

Right-clicking on a unit will give you access to its personal AI scripts, allowing for better and more advanced control of it. With your units, you can choose their level of aggressiveness, when they will retreat from battle or order them in for recycling or repair. A variety of interface management features have been implemented so there is a higher emphasis on playing the game, and not the interface.

Storyline: Warzone 2100 is a real-time strategy game based on a post-apocalyptic future. You play the role of a Commander General sent out into the wasteland of the western United States to recover leftover technologies in order to rebuild the civilization. The only problems are the roving groups of renegades who roam the wastelands looking for the same advancements that you seek. As the Commander General, you have total control over your troops. You can search for power sources, build factories to develop new attack vehicles, construct research centers to learn new technologies for advanced weapons, or line up your tanks and roll out into the desert to attack some renegades. Enemies include surviving scavengers of the war, as well as more established groups called the New Paradigm, the Collective and a virus named Nexus. When you start, you have very little in weapons: three building trucks and a handful of machine-gun equipped tanks. Using the tanks to defend you against Scavenger attacks, your trucks can quickly construct the basics of your base. You have a small amount of power to start construction, and it gets used up rapidly for everything from building, research and tank production. To continue you need to find oil resources and build a derrick above it so your power generator can convert the oil into energy. The more oil you find, the more power, but also the more terrain you have to try and defend. So oil, or the lack of it, will control everything you do. The need to find artifacts may also be viewed as resource management, thus the game takes a different route than others of its kind. You'll need to search the valleys, ruined cities, deserts, and hills for the ancient artifacts. Whereas many strategy games favor a defensive approach to success, this fact requires players to be somewhat aggressive and search the large maps for these keys to success.

Missions: The first campaign begins in the red mountains of southern Utah with you reconstructing the remnants of an old military base. Then you'll move into an urban setting filled with skyscrapers, and then last into the snowy Rocky Mountains. Each map will feature full 3D terrain complete with hills, valleys, and ruined buildings.

Instead of starting off with a new base each mission, you retain all the units and buildings of the previous round. This is especially important since your units gain rank for kills, and thus become more accurate, stronger killing machines. The units come out of the factory as rookies, but as they acquire more kills during combat they can be promoted nine ranks (rookie, green, trained, regular, vet, crack, elite, special, and hero. Higher ranked units are more accurate and slippery in battle. This is great as it places more emphasis on base defenses and planning attacks, as the units you survive with are the units you will begin the next mission with. You can make fairly long-term strategies for base defense and resource management.

Missions usually consist of seizing enemy territory and grabbing new technology. Once you have the captured technology, researching will make it available for further enhancing your military or engineering might. You can tell when units are damaged, as they limp slowly along, barely keeping up with other units. There is also the telltale column of smoke. You will be kept busy. You will have to expand one base of operations over several campaign levels, harvest vital resources, destroy enemy bases and pilfer their technology, scavenge weaponry and gear, and locate technology power-ups, which are scattered about the game's sprawling maps.

There is one feature of Warzone 2100 that players will either love or hate--the mission timer. Some people will like the idea because it prevents players from amassing a huge force or hoarding resources prior to the next mission. But those who like to take their time without the added pressure of a stopwatch will have to grin and bare it.

An excellent feature of Warzone 2100 is a big change from earlier RTS missions -- a unit group is kept together by traveling at the speed of the slowest member of that group, so you don't loose a whole platoon of men because they ran two miles ahead of their tank support.

Vehicles: You have to get more involved with this game. With armor, weapons, and propulsion systems to choose from, it's up to you to experiment. As your technology progresses so will your list of parts to choose from. You'll decide on which chassis to use, how to arm your new creation and such. There are variations of tanks, cyborgs, and VTOL aircraft. And there are several specialized units. Commanders will remotely designate targets for other units, sensor platforms will give you insight on enemy positions, and jammer vehicles will stop the enemy from doing the same.

Vehicles are designed and built using three major parts: body, propulsion, and turret. There are five different body types (Viper, Cobra, Bug, Scorpion and Python), and a number of weapons to mount on them including flamethrowers and multiple machine guns. You then have to decide on the type of movement you want for your vehicle, choosing from treads, wheels, or flight. There are over 2000 possible combinations of components you can build a vehicle with during the course of the game. With this flexibility, you can build the type of unit that best complements your strategy or, you can build vehicles at random and formulate a strategy from your assets. For an all-out attack, you can load the heaviest weapon on tracks and build huge numbers of them. For quick strikes, you can build a fleet of disposable fighters and throw them at your enemy. You have many choices, and the amount of variety in vehicle types adds another layer of strategy to the game.

Graphics: The use of 3-D adds something beyond cosmetics. The total polygon landscape gives everything a more solid, realistic texture. And not only is the terrain 3D, so are the objects, structures, and vehicles. The effects for explosions, fire and projectiles are superb and lead to great fire-fights. The mountains and valleys are also true-to-life. Extrapolated geography adds some engaging tactics of ground engagement. For instance, if your enemy is hiding up on a ridge, you may have to drive your forces around the mountains until you find a usable path to the top. During an intense battle, troops are easily seen and identified. Direct3D and Glide are supported as well as software rendering. Three dimensional thinking dominates the design behind the game. For example, units climbing hills move slower than the same unit on flat ground, roads make traveling faster, mud slows them down, and a damaged unit is affected in all manners of its performance and speed.

AI: The computer AI is outstanding. The enemies actual seem to work out strategy before they attack. They do things such as hide in the hills surrounding your base and wait to pounce. They can spread out to fend off an attack on their home base instead of standing pat and being annihilated. The AI in Warzone 2100 doesn't blindly follow orders to the exclusion of all else. When a situation changes, they'll respond much better to fluid combat situations than the average RTS unit.

You can construct a set of combat commands that your units will automatically follow. For example, you can order them to first target the base's defenses, then the factories, followed by the base's power generating structures.

Sound: The battle sounds and vehicle noises in this game are wonderful and complement the graphics. The flamethrowers sound like fire, the machine guns sound like machine guns, and the power plants have a great electrical current sound. All of these help to add to the realistic feel of battle.

Documentation: There is a User Guide that gives you all the information you need to know to get started.

Multiplayer: For 2 to 8 players. The excellent multi-player mode deserves special mention. Mplayer gaming service hosts Warzone 2100 on the Internet. TCP/IP and IPX in a LAN/WAN environment is available as well as direct connect and modem. You can play the campaign games or better yet, death-match.
Warzone 2100 is the first real-time strategy game that combines all the genre's traditional and innovative elements together in one tight package. Graphically, the Warzone world is a remarkable change from most real-time strategy games, with fully three-dimensional landscapes, buildings and units. The worlds are beautifully rendered with rolling hills, steep cliffs and superb lighting effects. And being able to have camera controls that allow you to tilt, zoom and rotate the playing filed 360 degrees is great.
Processor: Pentium 166 MHz minimum (233 MHz recommended)
Operating System: Windows 95/98
Memory: 32MB RAM minimum (64 MB recommended)
Hard Disk Space: 75 MB
2MB SVGA card
8X CD ROM Drive minimum (16X recommended)
100% compliant Direct 6.0 sound card
Multiplayer Game requires one of the following: IPX or TCP/IP local area network; 28.8 Kbps or faster modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster Internet connection; serial connection via null modem cable.

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