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 (228 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 15, 2001

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Recommended By Curators

"If you like slower, strategic games, give this unique RTS a try. Finite unit count, story about time travel, adjustable vehicles and just...interesting."

Recent updates View all (2)

July 30

Original War updated to v 1.12.10.13 + dubbings added

Once more, due to efforts of Stucuk from http://owsupport.com/ Original War gets a new update.

Changelog:
Added: Support for 22 Steam Achievements
Added: Language Pack Support
Bug Fix: Am02 - Mikhail is rather aggressive (Issue 4)
Bug Fix: Am07 - JMM dies but mission successful (Issue 5)
Bug Fix: Bloody valley tree gives exp multiple times (Issue 11)
Bug Fix: Polish "From the Future with Love" - %d and %t (Issue 19)
Bug Fix: Cornell appearance Am10_cont (Issue 25)
Bug Fix: AM15, Connie Traverse (Issue 29)
Bug Fix: RU14 generic characters (Issue 31)
Bug Fix: Am15 W. Gorky event (Issue 34)
Bug Fix: Bug/Exploit. Chatting as others in the multiplayer lobby (Issue 35)
Bug Fix: All soldiers don´t attack legion in 2nd attack 15am (Issue 37)
Bug Fix: Crash at Start of AM15 under certain resolutions (Issue 39)
Bug Fix: Ru02 - barracks (Issue 40)
Bug Fix: AM11 Scout (Yamoko) (Issue 43)
Bug Fix: Am15 "No loses" medal (Issue 44)
Changed: Multiplayer Protocol Increased (Incompatible with previous versions)

As part of this update we have also added dubbing in French, German, Polish, Spanish and Czech.

21 comments Read more

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
9 of 14 people (64%) found this review helpful
19.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
You can have monkeys as suicide bombers

10/10
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
11.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
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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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 22
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)

9/10
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7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
One of the best game in the world. Has a great plot.
Game-play is very expanded and addictive.
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5 of 10 people (50%) found this review helpful
9.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 20
Great oldie, highly reccomend
Was this review helpful? Yes No
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
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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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
10.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
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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2 of 5 people (40%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 16
ok not the best game ive played and it kinda tacky and cheesy in parts aswell but its not a terrible game either in fact even though i wont play it all the time its one of those you can play on days where you really board for these among other reasons my personal rating for Original War is 5/10
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
Cool game!
Was this review helpful? Yes No
0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
Brings back memories
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 10 people (40%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
Nice. I beat this game in 7 minutes. :D I am not gonna help Burgerland to steal anything from Russians. And definitely not if is such a power as time machine in hands of the worst possible and irresponsible country :D
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3 of 10 people (30%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
I've played a million RTS games, this particular one has some good/original ideas and was made with love.
However:
After 17 mins I realised the combat is really bad and microing is non-existant.
If there is a video of this, I recommend you watch it first if you think that my judgement is a bit harsh after only 17 mins of playing. I bought it for like 80 cents, that's about the pricetag it deserves, the devs deserve to develop their skills and might eventually make that RTS game that we'll all know and never forget. This isn't the one.
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1 of 6 people (17%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
I wouldn't advise getting this game for the simple reason that it is not optimised to run well on modern systems. Increasing the resolution from the pre-set results in terrible frame rates even though the game runs with ancient pixelated graphics and for some strange reason even on the standard graphics settings there is terrible slow down whenever you enter a game menu.
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0 of 6 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 23
Voefully outdated and broken. Unless you're really ready to put up with a bunch of issues or are feeling nostalgic enough, avoid this game regardless of the price.
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4 of 20 people (20%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 21
Alright, so, I was intrigued by the concept of this game because I played quite a few older games when I was younger. Games like Red Alert, RA2, etc. Command and Conquer and the Generals series of it.

I tried opening up this game once I bought it and tried to get it to run. But even on my powerful PC, it only hits 3-10FPS despite me fiddling with some of the launcher config options. There's no real excuse for that, so I can't recommend this broken game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
19.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 27
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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103 of 109 people (94%) found this review helpful
61.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
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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33 of 37 people (89%) found this review helpful
14.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 28
I have purchased Original War three times; first in a bargain bin in 2002, then on gog.com and finally on Steam. Let me tell you why this is one of the finest RTS games ever made. A truly exceptional example of the genre but mainly for reasons that set it apart from most strategy games.

Let's talk about what it does that may not be so different but is instead allows us a comforting familiarity with what we've come to expect from Sci-fi RTS games. As is a staple of the RTS Genre the single player comes with two campaigns, a Russian and American/NATO campaign. There is the cliché'd sci-fi super-rare-new-resource, and of course it's a green crystal.

What sets Original War apart from most RTS games is... Well, quite a lot actually. For one; it's set in a world where time-travel is possible. Russia and America are vying for control of a new-found substance called Siberite (known as Alaskite in the Russian campaign.) Both superpowers decide to use time travelling machines to go back and move all the green-glowing-good-stuff to their respective territories, so that when the future comes around they'll already be in possession of every valuable deposit of said resource. For the soldiers embarking on this mission; it means a one way trip. Speaking of soldiers...

Throughout the story you'll be given a single protagonist (American's get Macmillan, Russians get 'Gorky') and if they die, it's game over. The rest are cannon fodder. Likeable cannon-fodder. The problem with liking these human meat shields is if these characters die, that's it. They don't come back. Given that each character has stats based on what you had them do most (building vehicles, constructing fortifications, shooting enemies, or researching space-time anomalies) they get better at it through an EXP system. Even if you don't find yourself liking their dialogue (impossible), you sure as hell will miss their efficiency. Certain characters dying affects the story too, sometimes in a grim way (this is true of both campaigns).

This is but a brief overview of the game, there's a lot more off-the-wall design elements you should experience for yourself and for it's price, Original War will not disappoint. It's difficult to find anything to dislike; The RPG elements are unobtrusive, the cheesy dialogue is heart warming and with memorable characters such as Colonel Powell and Lisa Lawson (to name but a few) I cannot reccomend it enough.
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27 of 29 people (93%) found this review helpful
139.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 25
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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21 of 24 people (88%) found this review helpful
36.0 hrs on record
Posted: August 22
This is my favorite game of all time. I found out about it through a demo disk that came along with a game magazine back in 2001 and was instantly hooked. I must have spent a good 50+ hours playing the demo alone before I finally managed to get my hands on a copy of the full game.

I still to this day bring Original War up regularly in my gaming rants about how unique and inventive it was, and how disappointed I am that it didn't get the attention it deserved. I'm glad to see it on Steam now and it's fun to see how pretty much everyone else that's played it feels the same way as I do.

Besides compatibility issues this game has aged extremely well. I still play it from time to time over 900+ other newer games I could be playing. While it is an RTS it actually plays quite a lot like an RPG, in that you don't mass produce anything and the few units you get to control all for the most part have their own stories and personalities. When they die they're gone for the rest of the campaign (unless you restart, which will become a habit if you're anything like me and can't let a single person die ever) which makes you actually care about who you send out and think more carefully about the most optimal ways to get all your soldiers out of each mission alive. A lot of official reviewers back in the day complained about the voice acting but personally I love it. Sure it's not super serious and amazing but I find that it adds more charm to the game, makes me laugh and makes the experience generally more memorable. I frequently find myself doing impressions of the more 'unique' characters like "Oleg Kazimirowicz Gleb" (you'll understand when you run into him) and lip syncing all the story dialogue when I go back and repeat playthroughs.

You have to assign characters to research new technologies for weapon, building and vehicle production as well as go out into the world and collect enough resources to sustain that production. In singleplayer it's all tied into the story very well. There are also dialogue options and decisions you'll get to make that strongly impact the outcome of your game and who will survive.

As far as I'm aware, the online community is still very much alive for the game however it still seems to be mostly Czech and Polish folks playing (as those two countries were basically the only places where the game was decently advertised). It's because of this that the first words ever I learned in another language besides English were polish, back in the GameSpy arcade days. They were swear words (go figure).

There's also a website called 'owsupport' that actively releases patches/fixes for the game and as their name suggests, provide support for the OWar community so if you ever need help that's the place to go.

Overall it was an underrated, poorly advertised game that deserved a lot more credit for it's ingenuity than it received and I highly recommend buying a copy and giving it a go.
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