An American geological expedition, under a UN mandate, assesses the natural resources in a distant part of Siberia, deep in the trackless steppes of Eastern Russia. But instead of oil, they discover a deposit of a hitherto unknown mineral.
User reviews: Very Positive (302 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 15, 2001

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Recommended By Curators

"Challenging RTS game with role-playing elements. Unique characters as a limited resource, interesting time-travel story - an underrated gem from 2001!"

About This Game

An American geological expedition, under a UN mandate, assesses the natural resources in a distant part of Siberia, deep in the trackless steppes of Eastern Russia. But instead of oil, they discover a deposit of a hitherto unknown mineral.

American scientists working for Department of Defense find out that this mineral is in fact identical to the substance used to power an extraterrestrial artifact in their possession. This object is called the EON (Extraterrestrial Object Nexus).

It was found in 1919 by Colonel Emerson near the site of the Tunguska explosion. Emerson was the commander of a US military unit in charge of transporting US war supplies from the city of Vladivostok to the Eastern front during World War I.

DoD Experiments have shown that items placed in the capsule are transported hundreds of thousands of years back in time. The American scientists were not able to understand its construction, nor could they manage to synthesize its fuel. Eventually, the machine - classified Top Secret - was stored, pending further advances in human science.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 95/98/2000/XP/7 (Windows 8 not supported)
    • Processor: Intel Pentium® III - 700MHz
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia® GeForce™2 - 32 MB
    • Hard Drive: 1 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 2000/XP (Windows 8 not supported)
    • Processor: Intel Pentium® IV - 2GHz
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: nVidia® GeForce™4 - 256 MB
    • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
34 of 41 people (83%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 16
Recommended For The More Conservative Strategists

+ Boasts a healthy and competent mix of RTS and RPG-style gameplay
+ New units cannot be spawned mid-game, lending gravity to one's actions and the manner in which one utilizes resources
+ The campaign is quite varied in terms of possible choices and effects that may result; this gives the campaign a stronger sense of replayability
+ The abiliity to control time serves to both minimalize tedium and maximize one's response time; excellent and greatly desired quality-of-life feature
+ Plot is interesting and creative; can be a bit silly and over the top, but it's not done so in a way that encourages a cringe
+ Orders for troop movements can be issues while the game is paused

- Mediocre and subdued audio
- Voice-acting leaves much to be desired
- Limited, uninspired soundtrack
- The game has compatibility issues and can be an enormous hassle to start up successfully
- Few multiplayer options; no AI skirmish or practice, for instance

If you enjoyed this review, please follow my curator page. Also, feel free to join my group, LockeProposal's Big Day Out for discussion and announcements. Thanks for reading!
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19 of 20 people (95%) found this review helpful
43.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 1
Most definitely one of my bigest gaming loves.

And that is more then well deserved position! OW is (even thought it´s age) original not just in the means of timetravel and war in the far past and for the past. Above all it´s brilliant combination of rts and rpg, what makes it so unique. In terms of gameplay it means you have to care about every soldier you have (and in this harsh environment, it´s usually much less than optimal numbuer). You have to always think abut for what to use each soul and how to treat it. What skills to train, where to allocate the manpower, what technology develop and when. Becouse even won battle for valuable resource, if it took too much time, can endanger development of your base and therefore whole mission. Loosing any soldier means hell of a trouble. There are usually multiple ways how to achieve your goals, but every one need careful tactical thinking from base management to field battle strategy.

This way it may sound like hardcore stuff for very patient tacticians... but it´s not. Above all, it´s very enjoyable game for anybody. The main experience isn´t frustration, but fun. Lots of fun. There are some things that help this outcome. First is excellent level design. Missions arent repetitive, but almost always bring some new challenge. They vary from more traditional base-to-base war to Commandos-like stealth action. Often there are also twists in the developement of events, which boosts gameplay with dynamics and pushes you to be prepared for anything.

The last but not least quality is the main story. From the "cliché" of American-Russian war (just situated in unorthodox setting), situation quickly extends to be more complicated. Player is therefore forced to choose which side (and which politcs, ethics and philosophy) to pledge allegience to. Not just from global perspective, but from personal view of main hero and his relationships, too. Which even adds emotinal touch to game. Quite special for rts, isn´t it? Oh, I forgot to mention that (living) soldiers and their valuable experience goes to next missions. And that for some of the more important characters amongst them, you will soon develop special feeling.

Game has, of course, it´s weaknesses (like poor voicecast), but there are not many of them. Somebody may despise the old graphics, but I like it even after all those years.

So in the end I have only one advice regarding Original War: Enjoy It!!!
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
54.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 8
Step 1. Pick Russia
Step 2. Research apeman language
Step 3. Tame every apeman on the map
Step 4. Give them the gift of AK-47
Step 5. Destroy your enemys
Step 6. Reflect on the kind of future this new timeline you have created will have
Step 7. Regret nothing

Love this game. The nostalgia is real.
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
47.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 21
A mix of Jagged Alliance and C&C. I like it. You can give orders while paused ! :)
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
73.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2014
This game is a jewel.

I've spent many hours with it and consider it one of the best real-time strategies ever made, because it really stands up to its' name - it is original. Excellent game mechanics revolving around the most important asset of all - humans. Every loss hurts, whether it is soldier, worker, mechanic or scientist. After more than a decade this game also has beautiful graphics and terrific art. Every faction has its' face and feels different. Arabians/Mercenaries use speed, hit-and-run tactics and good infantry, Russians have brute strenght of heavy armour and time manipulation and Americans on their versatility. I think, that the setting of the game is one-of-a-kind. The characters are outright lovable and it is very easy to grow attached to them and that is not only because of the necessity of having good people in your army.

Give it a burl! If not for these reasons, then for the ability to tame apemen and make them gather crates.

10/10 Will give apemen machine guns again.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
30.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 8
One of my favourite RTSes, the plot might be a little silly (Though fun if you can get into it) the voice acting might be hilaribad but genuinely, it's a good game. It does away with resource/expansion camping, with resources appearing sporadically in random locations across the map, keeping players on their toes looking for and retrieving them. Also a bit different from the norm is the idea that your people are a resource, the setting takes place before modern man existed, making new recruits a difficult ask, the people you have with you are it, managing their time and keeping them alive is vital to success in the game.

Combined, it makes for a really interesting experience, who's life do you risk to go and retrieve that fresh shipment of crates that just arrived from the future, do you give him or her a guard? If so that's two less people researching/building/fixing up your base!
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
62.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 23
Bought game (disc) in 2004. Played through campaigns twice in 2004. Replayed game almost every year. Disc broke in 2010 after repeatedly taking out from disc box. Found game & bought it on steam in 2014. Played the game again and felt like it was 2004. I love this game.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
13.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 13
Longer time ago an American expedition found in Siberia a strange artefact called EON. After some time scientists found it’s a time machine. For using EON there was necessary a fuel called Siberite. However there was one problem - all supplies of Siberite were in Siberia, in Russia. That’s why Americans decided to send an expedition 2 milions years to the past and all supplies of Siberite move from Siberia to Alaska (that time they were connected). Then would be changed the space continuum and all Siberite would be in USA one day. But the Americans weren’t the only ones, who got this idea...

Original war is a real-time strategy with strong elements of RPG. The game was after it’s release (incorrectly) compared with Red Alert 2, but OW is pretty different game. There you have limited characters and every of them has own identity and skills that you can improve during missions. Often you can choose your favourite characters for your team the mission starts. If there dies any of your person, you will not be able to “reborn” him or her again. So, it’s not a strategy where you can buy hordes of soldiers and then you would crush the enemy by massive force. There you need to find the way how to defeat often stronger or better stationed enemy.

+ very original game (original war should be original =)) and interesting story
+ nice graphic (at least for year 2001)
+ campaigns are long and nonlinear (player has to make many decisions that can influence the story and the end as well)
+ three playable sides (Americans, Russians and later Aliance) and one additional (Arabians)
+ every side has special weapons and professions
+ nice cutscenes
+ many and sometimes funny dialogs
+ every character can improve skills and change professions (soldier, builder, mechanic, scientist and others)
+ many characters have own charisma and special features (you will like them =))
+ prehistoric animals
+ some animals you can use and train
+ includes multiplayer (you can play there for Americans, Russians and Arabians too)

- no campaign for Arabians (although you can hire several times Arabians)
- no skirmish mode

This game I already played maybe 100 times during last 12 years, so I think I can say this is an excellent game. I can definitely recommend this game as I have never met any person who said "I didn’t like it". I have to give 10 points from 10.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
42.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
i cant believe not alot of people know this game, it is a wonderful RTS, very interesting story as well. you can ajust your vehicles to suit your needs with a wide range of guns and chasis, a few engines and the choice between manual, remote controled, or computer controled. you have a limited amount of troops, so unlike other RTS games losses can be anywhere from annoying, to sad, to down right catastrophic. if too many of your best men die, you might want to restart. of course sometimes you have to sacrifice somebody to win the mission, so missions where nobody at all dies are rare. it all depends on how you play. if you love the genre of RTS you will love this game.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
30.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 16
very nice game.. loved it since it first came out back in 2001.. good job steam!!!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
45.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 3
Brief summary:
Original War is an RTS with a look that feels old but not Dated due to its style that focuses highly around the story and characters. each mission if you lose a character the character is gone for good (except if a bug occurs in character selection on one or two of the last missions) so keeping your men alive is key.

Story (few spoilers as possible):
The story in it is kinda simple but complex without trying to give spoilers. During WWII America finds an alien artifact. after years of research and naming it EON they find crystals in Siberia of a similar nature to EON and look into both. they soon discover EON is a device that can send anything placed within, back in time, using the crystals now named Siberite. most of the Siberite is in Russian turf though so to solve this they send soldiers back in time 2 billion years in the past to transfer the Siberite over to Alaska. when they get there they find resistance however. The Russians are ready and waiting from them.

Downsides:
The sounds can get a little aggravating if you're not used to them. basically get used to hearing "FINE SIR!" or "OKAY SIR!" every time you move a unit, in a high pitched voice most of the time. ocasionally there's a bit of bad voice acting too albeit most is pretty good. there are a few missions in the game where if you do not know what you're doing or haven't done the mission 50 bazzilion times before like i have it can be VERY difficult even on easy mode. The only ones really to note though are the ones where you join the Alliance so if you're not planning to its not a bother. Unfortionatley due to the game being fairly obscure most of the multiplayer is empty unless you can get a friend to tag along with you. the final downside is that the game Lacks a skirmish mode or an offline non-story mode. it would of benefitted greatly from it due to it being so hard to find a multiplayer opponent.

Brief background summary:
Original war is a game that proves even rushed games on low budget can be good. the company was starting to go bankrupt near the end of the game's completion so it was all they could do to quickly get the game out before they did. As the company that made it is not around to maintain it, the game has become community run and there's even projects to get a third campaign currently underway by people who want to see the game more known. There's alot of modding from the community too if you can find them. some such as a third Arabian campaign albeit short an unfinished and ones that let you do a skirmish mode as the game lacks one itself as i said previously.

Conclusion:
I would highly recommend it because the story is interesting, the gameplay is fun, the soundtrack is pretty good and overall it can be a great experience. If you like old games, obscure games or retro games then I would say you get this game in a heartbreat. for those just looking for a fun RTS I still highly reccomend it but i feel its worth looking at before you get it to see if you like it.
not much a fan of giving number based ratings but hey, people like to know so here's mine.

Gameplay- 9/10 -pretty fun but can be frustrating if you lose lots of units.

Story- 7/10 -Starts good and pretty interesting but can feel kinda meh in places and can show at times its semi rushed. it doesn't take away from the rest of it though.

Soundtrack- 6/10 I LOVE the soundtrack and music for this game however you will hear it ALOT so i cannot give a full rating of 10 as i would like to.

Overall- 8/10 -Personally i'd like to give 10/10 but i cannot because the flaws it has show fairly visibley. even my huge nostalgia for the game cant deny that. however the flaws dont take much from the game and it is still a great one in my opinion.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 7
If you love a good B-Movie, strategy games, and retro gaming experiences... this is an easy must buy.

I was once a kid who had a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ computer and lived in a God forsaken time when Steam didn't exist to the extent it does today (random fact, it launched in 2003). I was in the store, my broke ♥♥♥ mom that barely made enough to pay for our ♥♥♥♥♥♥ apartment decided to let me buy a cheap game. I got Original War since it had this cool chopper pilot on the box cover and it had lasers on the back of the box. It was $10. I took the obscure game home thinking it cannot be that bad. I was in for a surprise how good it turned out to be.

Random fact, though. Whoever made the boxart cover didn't know a damn thing about the game. No only are there no pilots in the game but there isn't even a single flying vehicle, except for the hover tech but hovering is hardly flying. The lasers also are misleading, this isn't really the generic sci-fi laser war game despite the back of the box otherwise implied.

Anyways, back to the review. The time I got it, it was very unique. It had time traveling, it had an RPG system which was fairly rare for RTS games back then, it had different endings and your choices made a difference in the game (to a small extent, I'll get back to that in a bit), and each soldier matters and will be forever gone with no way to replace them when they die. This makes them feel like actual humans and less expendable. Today, we have a lot of RTS games that does that, makes each soldier forever gone without an immediate way to replace them, but back in 2004, that wasn't the case.

The vehicle gameplay is like your standard RTS game, except vehicles must either be manned, be remote controlled by a human in some radio tower, or be computer operated. There is no tabs for types of vehicles you can build, you one area where you customize the weapon/tool, the vehicles body (heavy, medium, light, wheeled, tracked, etc.), the fuel type, and as said earlier, whether it's manned or operated by remote control or computer. The fuel options are solar, oil, or siberite/alaskite, which is named differently depending on who's campaign you choose to play for. Solar recharges but runs out of power quickly, requires the vehicle to take rests, the oil will eventually run out and is obtained from oil deposits, and siberite is a fictional crystal like thing that is not from earth that indefinitely powers your vehicle amongst other things. The weapons range in a good variety, such as machine guns, gattling guns, light cannons, heavy cannons, lasers, or you can even choose tools like a crane or a bulldozer. Crane builds buildings, bulldozer bulldozes trees.

Like vehicles, you can also build turrets that defend your base that the player can customize the weapon on as well whether it's manned or computer operated. They obviously consume power, so you'll need powerplants which, again, players can choose solar powered, oil, or siberite. Solarpower is cheaper in resources to build but produces the least power, oil power consumes oil whenever the power is needed, and the siberite power sources will use the siberite spent on it to indefinitely power your base by a certain amount without needing additional fuel.

For buildings, you get the workshop that stores the resources you gather as well allow your infantry to change classes to engineer so they can initiate construction and build faster as well gather resources, a barracks that acts like a bunker for your infantry to fire out of as well changes your infantry's class to soldier so they carry assault rifles or a faction special weapon, a factory that constructs the vehicles and the weapons for turrets as well allow your infantry to change to mechanic classes which allows them to -from inside the factory- construct vehicles as well repair existing ones outside and have the edge on vehicular combat, the lab where you can change your infantry's classes to scientists that can then research various stuff that will improve your overall effeciency in things or unlock new toys and they also as well have the ability to be doctors for other infantry units and discover oil or siberite deposits. Amongst that, you also have the various power plants, oil and siberite deposits, etc.

Infantry, compared to everything else mentioned, is highly linear in what you can do with them. You can either have them by their default, have assault rifles, or you could have them equip the special faction's weapon. Americans get the sniper rifle, Russians get the rocket launcher, and the Arab faction gets mortars. It's a shame they didn't get a greater variety like they did for vehicles and defense towers, but it didn't hurt the game enough to reduce me as well a large community's opinion on the title.

The infantry have a health bar that has the typical colors that gives feedback in how close to dying they are as well a bit more information. Green is healthy, yellow is wounded, red is dying. When the health is green, they'll slowly heal while yellow does nothing and red means the soldier is slowly bleeding out (dying) and cannot move (except for specific situation regarding research available only to the Arabs).

That health bar isn't just for infantry, either. It also exists on buildings and vehicles that also has very similar traits. The only difference is that they do not heal over time when green. Red, however, both vehicles and buldings alike will catch fire and slowly explode. Additionally, builds and vehicles in red health will no longer be accessible to infantry and will kick out anyone inside.

This game has an RPG system that really contributes to how you will value specific characters in the campaign. It makes it feel like everything you did counts and matters, nothing done is forgotten. I like this. You have Soldier, Engineer, Mechanic, and Scientist skill bars. You can be level 0-10 and the higher the level the better the character will preform in those classes. Soldier levels up from combat involving on foot, in the barracks, and in turrets. Engineers build and repair buildings faster. Mechanic is the same idea as Engineer but for vehicles and turret weapons. Scientists will do better when research topics in the lab, convert apemen to soldiers, as well heal more effeciently. All classes will have better damage resistance the higher their skill levels are in their current class form.

You read right, earlier, you can convert apemen to fight on your side. Though Americans cannot train them to use guns, despite the storyline saying they eventually will, the Russians and Arabian factions can. They're not at good as your human soldiers, but they're a great help. The apemen can also gather crates and help the construction of buildings while active in Engineer class, but they cannot initiate the construction of building. The apemen can only be engineer class and soldier class, the arabians can force the apemen to be drivers for their vehicles.

So, as you have guessed, the story is you travel back in time before apemen evolved into humans. The reason? The Russians and Americans both want to hog up the super special siberite/alaskite resource. In the American campaign, you travel in time to steal the Siberite, located in Siberia, in hopes to move it all to Alaska. In the Russian campaign, in a different alternative timeline from ours, the Russians want to relocate the Alaskite to Siberia to make it property of theirs. So just by chance, a war takes place. The game's story progresses with unique characters with likable personalities. The voice acting is terrible, especially the Russian and Arabian accents, but it is so enjoyable despite it. I'd go into the story more, but I don't wanna ruin it. All you need to know is that the story, like most strategy games, will progress as well the technology and abilities available to you.


ran out of space, ♥♥♥♥ it and my ramble. Online is dead, buy for sp. Buy the game.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
10.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 24, 2014
Great game. Mix of Fallout and Command&Conquer. You can't build more soldiers or specialist, but they go up in skills and you can change they role in you base buildings. You really care about your people, if the die they die forever.

The little unexpected events, ecosystem from 2 milions years ago and the posibility of diffrente tactics and perk are fun. Micro and makro in real time strategy with posibilities of pause and changing game speed give you ton of posibilities.
You can save thenever you want, i advice to do so often.

The best is that game is simple to understand and has a lot of help tips. You can learn it really easy.
I bought it yerstayday and played it for 5 hours. I got drawn in it.

Buy this game, it's fun.
And don't forget to take care of you people. Cheers
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2014
No time to explain, just buy it!
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 23, 2014
I was so happy when I saw this on Steam, I owned it years back and loved it! Still a solid game, sure it may have a few bugs but it has something that a lot of new games seem to have forgotten about these days, it's FUN! Yes, games should have fun as their priority above being shiny and flashy and gorgeous.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
10.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 1
I just write: ,,This is the best game EVER!"
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204 of 218 people (94%) found this review helpful
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2014
I still have the boxset from this game in my closet since 2002ish. This game is pure awesome. Don't let its retro looks fool you.


Its something along the vibes of jagged alliance. you get character progression and permadeath. Most of the main characters have their own lines and personalities written for throughout the entire campaign; i always tried to keep em alive just for that ;D

other than that, the storyline, while slightly convoluted, simply serves as a backdrop for a great rts/rpg game where you manage not only your resources, but your human resources as well. 4 Character classes where your characters can switch between and gain experience in during missions carry out specific tasks, where soldiers fight, scientists do research and heal people up, engineers start buildings and collect resources, and mechanics drive and build vehicles.

Decisions you make within each mission affect subsequent missions. Somewhere down the line you will be forced to make one which will split your campagin progress into two trees. *spoiler :D*

I really loved the vehicle design in this game, where you slowly overtime research and unlock modules to provide more options for modular vehicle construction. Gun+Chassis+Power source+ wheels/tracks is awesome. I like the really distinctive look of the double gun cars. <3


all in all, this game is worth my 20 bucks then, and the 5 bucks now. buy it. you wont be disappointed.
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127 of 130 people (98%) found this review helpful
34.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2014
Two words: BUY IT!

Its old, and forgotten by their developers, but ist great anyway. It has all what good RTS game should have:
- Unique story, never seen anything similar in other RTS games
- Unique resorces gathering system (not seen in any other games, and still fits 100% to the story)
- Unique crew management (loosing man in first mission, can make others harder up to the last one, cause crew advance with you, crew members are limited, no respawn, no training units, permadeath)
- Crew has skills (and they train them on mission, and as reward for good mission score)
- Three factions quite balanced even while having different units, and different technologies
- Modular vehicle construction (you choose vehicle type, engine type, weapon type, and steering type)

I played this game when it came out 13 years ago - still having box version, and playing from time to time. Today I saw it on steam and bought it without even small doubt.

P.S. To STEAM crew. Why its marked as "indie"? Its made by Altair Interactive ( now called Altar Games )-> the same that made UFO;Afterlight, UFO:Aftermatch etc. Its also beeing published by Bohemia Interactive (Arma game series, Operation Flashpoint, Take on Helicopters). Its not indie...
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119 of 126 people (94%) found this review helpful
61.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 30, 2014
I got this old game because it was on sale, because I hadn't seen the concept of an RTS closely involved with time travel anywhere else but Achron, and because of its positive reviews. I was wrong - this game is nothing like Achron, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Last night, I stayed up until 6 AM trying to beat the first two USA missions in a way I could be proud of, and spent more than an hour on the third mission besides! I've only played one other RTS which directly applies how well I performed on one level to how well I start on the next level and to the degree that it is possible to get an unworkable start if you really mess up. The best part is? The game doesn't tell me that. It lets me explore, lets me find that out. It lets me find out that level 2 is much easier if I keep level 1's wounded soldier alive, lets me discover that Sabre-tooth tigers attack my troops as a matter of course (New policy: Pre-emptive extermination), makes me find out the little things that divide a Lieutenant from a quartermaster.

The tutorial's unobtrusive, taking the form of hints which pop up along a small, out of the way bar at the bottom of the screen. Easy to ignore if you've seen it before, and easy to miss if you aren't paying attention. Just the way I like it.

The graphics are, to be honest, not good by today's standards. But I am a firm believer in "Graphics matter only to the point where they help the consumer suspend disbelief", and they are good enough for me to suspend disbelief. If you've played the original Starcraft, it's around that level of quality.

Unlike in Starcraft, however, terrain is hugely important in Original War. Long grass conceals soldiers who are crawling, but is temporarily flattened if a vehicle or walking human crosses it. Harder and softer terrains have different effects on the movement of vehicles depending on their propulsion (Tracks seem to be slower than wheels on harder ground and faster on softer ground) and the movement of infantry.

The variety of units we have access to is honestly extremely well done - a basic human can fulfill any infantry role, but the skills they've acquired (In four areas, which transfer from mission to mission as the character does) determine how effective they are. Whether they're effective or not, just performing in the role will increase their ability in it. The four roles I've been exposed to - Soldier, Engineer, Mechanic, Scientist - are each so useful choosing between them is actively painful, and I count that in the game's favor. I've only seen three vehicles so far - two wheeled and one tracked - but being exposed to the vehicle construction menu informs me that eventually I will have the option to deploy vehicles of multiple chassis types, controlled directly by humans or remote guided, armed with distinct weapons, and so far I've seen both gasoline and solar power represented in the game.

Now, the gameplay itself. Original War features RTS gameplay, but it honestly spends most of its time telling a story of people trapped two million years ago which is reflected by the gameplay. Most RTS games accept one basic conceit - that if you click a button in the barracks, you get another man or woman with a rifle. Original War rejects that conceit, and as a result you get a game more about using up, salvaging, resource allocation, and making do than it is about build orders, micro timing, or army composition. The result neatly becomes a sort of hybrid between an RTS and an RPG, with the large battlefields and unit management of an RTS and the detailed statistics and many, many options of an RPG.

In terms of what I as a player can do, Original War impresses me. Do I want the resources that captured vehicle represents more than I want the vehicle itself? I can have it taken apart for a bit of a refund. Do I think it's time for my top soldier to learn how to repair vehicles? I can make her put on overalls and carry repair tools. Do I need to build a bunch of buildings fast? Turn everybody into engineers! Frustrated at the Engineer's slow speed while carrying resources? Vehicles with cargo bays can gather that for them. Am I considering mounting a final, do-or-die assault? Why am I considering that? I can pick the enemy's irreplacable unit count down with a small group of soldiers if I move carefully. Do I want my vehicle to be built quickly or just eventually? Do I want that tech researched NOW or eventually? And this is not counting the in-mission choices - I've received at least one dialogue choice per mission and this is without mentioning the implied choices.

All in all, if you like RTS games, if you like RPG games, and most of all if you like HARD, uncompromising games which ask you as a player to think, learn, and make choices I think there is a very good chance you will enjoy this game as I am.

EDIT: Having completed the final mission of the USA campaign (One of them, anyway...) I have more to say.

In terms of Original War's ethics, I am impressed again. Original War is from the 2000s and it would have been easy for the game to fall into the standard American action hero characterization for the protagonists in the fashion that ruined so many other innovative RTS' for me, yet it doesn't. This is most notable in the portrayal of Joan Fergusson, a scientist who was never meant to go back in time but did anyway. In the majority of video games she would be doubly hampered as both a civilian and the love interest of the USA campaign's main character which would result in Fergusson simply being a useless character in both a statistical sense and a storyline sense. Instead, the exploits of this individual are believable given who she is, where & when she is, and what her limitations are. Specifically, if you keep Joan alive she holds bases on two occasions and brings a squadron of AI tank reinforcements to the final battle that you know she built by herself. The same can be said for nearly every other character I have encountered so far (I'm finding it difficult to grasp Major - Comrade Major Platonov - but I haven't completed the Russian campaign so...) which I view as support for the theory that Original War is more of a cross between an RTS and an RPG than really either.

I enjoy Original War's dedication to continuity of choice - most choices made in early levels (Yes, losing units is a choice) will come back to haunt you by the final stages of a campaign. For instance, in USA 2 I chose to spare a captured enemy Mechanic. In a later level, that choice directly affected how I went about that mission. Even small choices like rotating the Scientist and Engineer roles so that everybody gains skill points becomes a major tactical factor by the tenth level.

If I have one major criticism of Original War, it is that some units seem completely pointless. Apeman Engineers are amazing, Apeman Soldiers are...not. Double Gun Vehicles are always useful, Double Laser Vehicles are an utter waste of time and resources. Original War is hardly unique among RTS games in this sense, and I do appreciate having the options even if they are largely pointless. A point that mitigates this criticism in my eyes is the potential for the player to make useless units - for instance, the abomination that is the Morphling Machinegun or the utter incompetence of the Hovercraft...anything. That some units are useless means less when allowing inexperienced players to make stupid mistakes is such a big part of why I like this game.

All in all, I still really like this game. There's a better than even chance I will buy it for most of my friends since it is on sale, and I will return to 200 Million years before the modern world after my Age of Empires phase has petered out.
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131 of 152 people (86%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 27, 2014
Original War is certainly a product if its time. It was very quietly developed in the waning days of RTS popularity and developers were first trying to do something a little different. It is the quinessential "Gem" for any fans of the genre. The art style is unique and clever, fantastic music and the concept was innovative. You don't train new men in the traditional sense; you have a finite amount of men, and you can build vehicles part by part (chassis, turret, fuel source) and train local fauna (aka cavemen) to join your cause. Each of your men (and women) have a name, and stats, and a specialty. You can change their roles as a match goes on (sniper, infantry, medic etc...) to suit your needs. In campaign mode, survivors of each battle with gain XP and "lvl up". Having an RTS with RPG elements back in 2001 was something special, but I'm not sure this game is for everyone TODAY. I think if you're a die-hard fan of the RTS genre, this is a great pick! Even if you're a fan of retro PC gaming in general, go for it. If you're looking for a Starcraft killer, move right along.
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