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 (270 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

    • 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
    • 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
42 of 45 people (93%) found this review helpful
139.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 25, 2014
One of the most fun and conceptually interesting RTS games I've ever played. It's an Original War in more than name.

The Good Things:

Good mix of RTS and RPG mechanics. Humans are a limited resource, they do not respawn and you do not receive more than you start with. Each character can gain experience in 4 classes and can change between classes at any time in the appropriate building, retaining his experience. Some things (construction, vehicles, turrets) can be automated, removing the need for a human pilot, but computer-controlled entities are slower, shabbier and do a lot less damage than those controlled by a skilled human operator. You must always find a balance between risking irrepleaceable human staff and wasting resources on suboptimal AI control.

As far as vehicles go, you build your own by mixing together a chassis, engine, pilot (can be manual, remote or AI) and weapon. New components are made available by researching them and/or building addons for a vehicle factory, each of which can only accomodate five - and all factions have at least six possible addons that can be mixed and matched. While higher tech components are generally more powerful than lower tech ones, they never render the low tech ones truly obsolete, by virtue of costing more, taking longer to build and being more specialized (e.g. heavier vehicle turrets cannot rotate unlike lighter ones).

The game is in isometric 2D, but the terrain obeys the rules of 3D in a way no later games did - unit vision works as "rays" instead of a radius, trees and rocks obscure vision, units on high ground see and fire further, soldiers can go prone in tall grass to become virtually invisible, etc.

Terrain layout, elevation, trees have a real impact on gameplay. Infantry uses it as cover and to avoid vehicles, vehicles require a tracked chassis to ascend slopes, and the most powerful vehicle in the game is balanced by being too huge to climb a hill.

The two campaigns are long, varied and challenging. If you go for all bonus objectives on the highest difficulty, there's easily at least 60 hours of gameplay (though I clocked 120 due to leaving the game running in the background a lot). The American campaign is the best one, having a good story and characters.

The Bad Things:

The sound effects are bland and lack variety. There is only one sound effect for most actions.

The voice acting in the Russian campaign ranges from mediocre to terrible. This is specific to the English version only - the Polish and Czech versions actually have very good voice acting.

The Russian campaign feels drawn out and padded at times, and the Russian part of the story feels disjointed.

There is no campaign for the third faction (Arabs). You get many glimpses of clearly important Arab characters and see echoes of their ventures happening offscreen, but the campaign that was supposed to explore them in detail was never added since the publisher went bankrupt.

There is no skirmish for the same reason as above.
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25 of 36 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
24.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
You can have monkeys as suicide bombers

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15 of 18 people (83%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 27, 2014
One of the best games you have never heard of. The story is very unique and overall fun to play. For $5 you can get many hours of gameplay with an active community despite the age of the game. Oh yeah it still gets updates and has higher resolutions available.
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11 of 14 people (79%) found this review helpful
59.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 19, 2014
I remember when the demo for this game first came out in an edition of Strategy Gamer. The concept behind it seemed simple enough but it was the story that piqued my interest.

Traveling back in time and changing history? First you had my curiousity, now you have my attention.

Then the characters began to grow on me. From the opening sequences as John I could already feel my heart pang for him as he finds the love of his life but it's already a million years too late...

Original War is a game where your soldiers as your most valuable resource. You are reliant upon only a finite number of troops and must manage these to the best of your ability and limit casualties. The game also features a bit of an RPG system where each soldier can develop as a Soldier, Engineer, Mechanic and Scientist where each class has its own strengths and weaknesses.

And these soldiers if they survive are present for the entirity of the campaign and depending on the choices you make, follow you to hell and back.

Overall I think Original War is a very fun and addictive game that never really got the attention it deserved when it was released.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
54.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
One of my favourite games of all times!
My top 5 would be (Original Wars, Fallout2, Jagged Alliance 2, Silent Hill 2,3, Grim Fandango)
Great Storytelling! Great animation sequences (both the Hand Drawn for the americans and 01's for Russians) I felt like I was there the whole time, replayed every mission several times, tried to take every medal without save in master strategist difficulty and unlocked all futures! This is a game where every choice you make counts! Full of great ideas and innovation! I played this game back in 2002 and I was really amazed by it! Now that I found that it is supported by steam it was an instabuy! Why this game is one of the best:
It is an rts with rpg elements! Different voice,face,background story for every troop you have! if you shoot with someone his soldier skills will improve, if you heal with someone his scientific skills will improve, if anyone dies, he dies forever!
You can make choices in the game that affect the future!
The american and the russian campaigns focus in the same story from two different sides, you have the choice to either stay loyal to your superiors in rank, defy them and take leadership or abandon the army focused factions and join the alliance of american and russian scientists! Each campaign has it's own feeling and both are amazing! In the american campaign you will search for siberite and blue will be your favourite color! In the russian campaign you will search for alaskite and red will be your favourite color!
*Spoiler alert* In the American campaign you can build your own base (Epsilon Base) from the scratch! Make the bulldozers clean the field from the rocks and trees and then start building your base! It will take you some time to built it but the buildings you made will stay in the same place you built them through out the campaign and you will feel like you are having an impact with the game! And after your Nemesis Gorky Burns your base down you will feel furious to see your creation destroyed! You will have choices like who will you appoint commander of the base when you leave, should you interrogate/kill/release a prisoner and should you go out of your way to help your friends or not?
You will also develop Bombs of mass destruction, train apemen to gather resources or make them soldiers or teach them to drive tanks or explode on enemies! or train them to be suicide apemen that drive tanks full of explosives! control tanks with remote towers or AI, hack enemy AI tanks, research alien artifacts with unique properties, become major, take the russian communist quiz to prove yourself an ally of the cause, kill endangered species millions of years before they become endangered, become invisible or shoot time alternation bazookas!
If you like hamburgers,time travel and/or mother russia, you will like this game.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 16, 2014
13 years after release - still original and great!
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
47.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 3, 2014
Reviews really are not my thing, but for a game like this I simply have too.

This was one of my first RTS games ever played and frankly it has been stuck in my head since I played it as a child, now years later I find it on Steam, play it and god it still holds up today, I admit the game does have its issues, but the good far outweighs the bad, I will list everything, but keep in mind while there is some small facts in this, most of it is opinion.

I'll start with the bad:
- Voice Acting isnt the best, and in times even messes up its audio making a character speak with different voices.
- Graphics are old, I say old, not bad, back then the graphics were nothing special but they got the job done.
- Slow Paced, If you want to learn this game or just see everything it has to offer, or even just steamroll missions, you need to be patient, things take awhile to start up, building bases, some missions forcing you to wait time limits, the game itself showing you its features and unlocking things bit by bit on each mission,
- Game suffers from start up difficulties and is fussy on how it wants to work, even if you have a really powerful computer, Original War will downright refuse you if it isnt set right. but these problems can be fixed with some tweaking with settings depending on the system, I'm sure that most if not all Original War players had to do something to make the game run properly.
- No Skirmish mode with AI, only players, a mod is apparently being worked on but I don't know for sure. Sure, playing with players is more fun and how its meant to be played, but a little practice would be nice so you have a feeling of the difference in pace from the campaign missions.

And as for the good:
- Open ended story/campaign, the campaigns in this game have so much dialog, possible results and effects with decisions, I have fun messing with the game still after all these years just repeating missions to find all the dialog and effects on a mission, you can branch them out on each playthrough and it will save them going from worst to best result, plenty of replayability if you have the patience. remember, the results of one mission can easily effect another, be it good or bad, the mission after, or a mission much later in the game.
- Characters/RPG elements, This game doesnt allow you to spawn more troops, besides from vehicles and buildings, the people what you have is what you get, if someone dies, your not seeing them again. this makes you want to keep each one alive for multiple reasons outside of keeping the base running, characters are far more efficient at most if not all tasks depending on their class, each class can be leveled up granting them slight stat boosts in defense/attack while being more efficient at the role they are in. This causes tension when a battle starts, should you send remote or AI forces at the enemy? having mediocre stats but can be rebuilt, or should you send your valuable characters with better stats, but irreplaceable on death. The stats of a character are important even when building a base, the higher level engineer you have not only chages how fast a building can be made, but also the quality of its defense increases too, two of the same built at different leveled enigineers, the higher level building will have higher natural defense.
- Easy to Control/Responsive, In an RTS being able to command your forces and view the map is critical, while Original War does have hotkeys, you don't need to use them to be effective, you can play this game pretty decently with just the arrow keys, mouse and shift key, sure you might not be as fast as the pros and in multiplayer the experienced likely know how to group everything well with presses, But its nothing to worry about, in my opinion an RTS needs functionality in its hud and controls or it breaks apart. This has it and is easy to use.
- Speed up/Slow down bar, to counter the bad of the game being slow paced or being fed up of just watching your men do a slow walk from point A to point B and repeat, or even just the time it takes to do a certain building, research or vehicle you can speed the entire game up which saves time, you can also slow down the game speed too which is useful for doing those hard decisions in which unit to attack or even just to time the retreat just right for maximum damage to the enemy and minimal damage to your own forces.

The first two good things though are what really seal it though, its one of those things you have to see for yourself so you can understand, its very gripping, provided you don't mind doing a few reloads as you learn from mistakes. I guarantee it will happen.

For the things in middle.

- Soundtrack suits the factions and moments, but sadly they are short and repeat often, I don't mind it but I'm sure some may get annoyed with its frequent looping. I'd say its best music is the Main Menu music.
- While I said the voice acting isnt exactly the best, I do find it amusing in moments, its the type of bad that can make you laugh at times depending on your sense of humour.
- Similar to the soundtrack, sounds effects are also repeated over and over, its always the exact same gun fire sound and explosion for everything, again, this can be annoying if you want variety or don't like things being heard over and over, but to me anyway, they are decent enough to keep you satisfied, you know what the intention for each sound is and it works.
- American campaign cutscenes are nicely drawn in front of you as the protaganist talks to you, I think its a nice effect, the Russian ones are done much differently, while I like them too for the sake of them looking and feeling different for obvious reasons, the American ones are in my opinion better to observe just for the artistic touch.
- In game cutscenes are included too, but while I get some are nesscesary at times for moments in the game and to know what's happening, some of them are utterly pointless and waste your time doing something unnesscary, example, your given orders and told what to do, but instead of game just loading the next part, it decides to wait as you have to sit there and watch characters move out the map which you cant control or influence, and being the slow paced game it is, at times it can take awhile, nothing too big mind you, but it can be an irritancy to me.

Well I think I've ranted enough, but overall this is a really fun game and I do recommend picking it up and giving it a try at least, I believe it needs more respect than what it got, suire its my inner nostalgic child demanding that but seriously, the title is right, its certainly 'Original' in how it plays.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 3, 2014
A great combination of RTS and RPG. With a nice original story taking place in the far far past. The whole thing becomes even more interesting in multiplayer as all three sides are very different and apply different tactics.

A pity the planned arabian datadisc never came out (officially, one can play the mod version), but you can still enjoy the US and Russian campaing which allow you to see the conflict from both perspectives and enjoy the twists and turns temporal travel has on history.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 8, 2014
Playing this game (unfortunately, pirated version) from the days when it was released.
NEVER seen ANYTHING like it since.
Looking for it on Steam since... Well... Since I got the Steam. Because I just want to tell "thanks" with my money.
Now I got it totally legit.
Long story short, if you like the sound of unique experience with enviroment where your peoples is your main and most valuable resource, non-linear storyline and ability of totally lose the game without a single shot fired — go and buy it. Right now.
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6 of 9 people (67%) found this review helpful
35.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 15, 2014
Most probably the greatest RTS I have ever played. With Steam support you're able to join battle in great redesigned multiplayer menu with IRC support and I would say that it's the biggest killer feature since it was the only weak point of the non-Steam version.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
53.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 10, 2014
Cold war gone hot 2 million years in past? 10/10.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
40.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 11, 2014
10/10 great value, pretty unique game with good story line
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 13, 2014
some people are just graphic nazis i give it a 10/10
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2 of 2 people (100%) 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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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
68.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 25, 2014
Love this game!
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 24, 2014
Hands down one of the best, if not the best RTS game I've ever played. It's one of a kind, has an amazing story and the gameplay feels fresh even after all these years. It represents the kind of quality you will rarely see in modern titles. Give it a chance and you might just find yourself with something you will enjoy for years to come. It's a bit of a forgotten diamond, if you will.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
9.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 22, 2014
Just a lovely game from my youth so my review is kinda affected by nostalgia.
+ Interesting game mechanics
+ Two campaigns with multiple in-game choices
+ Great dabing quality (at least for original czech version)
+ Fun
- Old good graphics (may be issue for players nowadays)
- Not that many multiplayer matches played (weekends better)

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9 of 16 people (56%) found this review helpful
3.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
One of the best game in the world. Has a great plot.
Game-play is very expanded and addictive.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
73.7 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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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
41.1 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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