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.