So, I have originally owned this game for plenty of years as a disk version when it first came out, and you won't imagine how many hours I have spent on it while I utterly sucked at strategies like this. And it was a suicide mission, because this game is as unforgiving as you could imagine!
When it was for 0,97€ a few months ago, this game was practically costing like a steal. There was absolutely no other option for me to NOT get this game. If it ever goes on sale, and you are a fan of classic, old real-time strategy games, then I recommend you to buy this game as soon as it goes on sale. I mean it man, do it.
How, we know that this game is almost a decade old, the engine is not nearly as perfect as one would imagine as the developers created it with a limited budget, but they have still managed to make a perfect game contrary to all the reviews you see here, that bash this game for bad graphics. Yeah, it was made in 2001 or so, do you expect this game to have graphics like Crysis or Battlefield?
Anyways, I will list you in a few pointers what is good about this game, and what potentially bad things you can find here.
You can find good things listed below here:
+ Variety, unit design, faction difference: While most real-time strategy games out there did not have any visible difference between factions, this game does it just right. Factions are separated into three sides: Euroasian Dynasty, in other words something like space soviet russians on a conquesting rampage. United Civilized States, a faction where humans are nothing more but pawns while various artificial intelligences and robots control the government and battlefield. Something like America will become in the next century I guess. Also, there is the Lunar Corporation, a faction made entirely out of women who decided that they were sick enough of the war between both factions, so they left Earth and took the Moon for themselves.
Each faction has a different unit design and armanent, for example the ED has the primitive tanks, and equally primitive weaponry which was thoroughly modernized. You can expect twin cannons, rockets, but later on they will be equipped with things such as lasers that ignore the power shield, and even oin weaponry that stuns the enemy vehicles, allowing you to capture them!
UCS is entirely dedicated to robots, so you should expect something like mechs. Big grenade launchers, heavy rocket launchers, devastating plasma weaponry and tough fortress-like defensive buildings that will destroy an army before getting destroyed!
LC, as a peaceful faction, does not have much war-dedicated gear, but are still a great danger! Their vehicles are heavily armored and quick, and most of the time the electric cannons and missile launchers dominate the bulk of their forces. In other words, anything for anyone!
Oh, have I told you that you can design your own units? Of course you can! Pick your own chassis, and chose your own weapons! Do you want a heavy electric cannon with a rocket launcher on top of it? Or perhals a heavy electric cannon with a small electric cannon? It is all left for you to decide, and left for you to test it in the field if it can destroy your enemy.
+ Story. Well, in my opinion the story was pretty good. All three factions desperately fight against eachother for precious minerals to be sent into space, so they can create their own versions of huge evacuation ships after they figured out Earth was slowly falling into the sun from the copious amount of nuclear explosions happening across the globe. On the way, you can also see cutscenes which show the development of your situation, as well as the development of your technology. Hooonestly, The Moon Project does not have very good cutscenes, but Escape from the Blue Planet and Lost Souls go back to the better quality.
I won't spoil much of the story, so I guess you should experience it yourself a little. It is not the BEST, but also not the WORST.
+ Engine. As the developers had limited budget, they were forced to make an engine without all that fancy stuff you see in titles like today. But hey, they still made a pretty good job at it! While you can see this engine get used in other, less-famous games, this one has a level of detail that is just right. Weather effects, terrain shaping, more complex things like heat that can affect the way how vulnerable your units are. And I have heard it is also pretty simple to modify too, but do not take my word on it. In my opinion, this is a good example of a good engine made with a low budget.
Now, after praising this game a little bit, here are the things that I find bad, and things that you might find bad too:
- Missions. Some missions are just too hard, to be honest. And most of them are kind of repetitive, no matter what. Most of the time it is you quickly building your base, making enough units to defend yourself from the first attack, and then you will have to spend hours after hours on destroying the enemy base, together with an incoming flood of units till they run out of minerals and become sitting ducks. Yep, that can happen to you too, and sometimes it is simply frustrating. The worst that can happen to you is when two factions are against you, then you're up for one hell of a ride.
- Twists. Twists? Really? Well, how can you explain that a faction which earlier begged you on their knees for your alliance with them, suddenly stabbed you in the back because you have destroyed their sworn enemy with exceptional brutality? Doesn't sound good, now does it? That is a minus that can apply to the general story, because the game can be both good, and ridiculous at the same time.
- Bugs. You can find some bugs in that game, for example errors in unit names that look like you are looking at files after digging into the data of this game. There are also other bugs, for example with the resolution. If your resolution is higher than 1024-786 or 1280-1024, then your game is simply going to crash after you press F1 to open the unit design menu. The only way to fix it is to keep your resolution at the examples I have shown above, and you'll be good to go.
So, there are the pluses and minuses of this game! This game is both good and bad, but mostly good!
Now, since I have spent almost sixty hours on this game on Steam version, and on the disk version I have probably wasted month or a half playing it without a break, you can easily notice that I have a sentiment for this game, therefore I rate the game positively. If I had to give it a score, I would give it a score of 8/10. The factions and unit design are perfect, the story is half to half, the engine is pretty solid for a budget one, and the bugs are not many to find.
So yeah, 8/10! If you like oldies but goldies, then get this game! If not, then I can't help you.