I'm not ashamed to admit that seeing this on the store page managed to raise a smile, along with more than a few happy memories of this absolute gem of a game from back in the day. Despite having this beauty on what we old timers refer to as a 'CD', (look it up kids!), I could not resist picking it up right away.
Any game that puts you in direct control of a nicely varied selection of modular vehicles then sets you free to cause mayhem and destruction throughout a well written & voiced campaign mode is worth a look. Steadily escalating your capabilities in a brilliantly paced way that ties directly into the plot throughout will make it well worth your time.
Adding to this tapestry is an ever increasing rosta of varied AI wingmen which all work under and alongside you to their own unique strengths and personalities. Making the very means of their inclusion a major plot point & using them to add some character to the overall campaign is a great touch. An early example of these would be your typical grizzled tank commander who will chew you out if given anything less than an artillery cannon to pound his enemies into dust with.
Yes, the characters are often familiar, but very cleverly done as this serves to guide you as to where they would be best suited on the battlefield. When put into their prefered roles, they truly do shine. Showing off some incredible ai for the day, they will carry out their roles with an impressive degree of independance. With their battle chatter and relevant feedback to you and each other adding yet another layer to their realism, they help make your typical mission feel extreemly vibrant and organic.
If only you could provide the player with an unbelivably intuitive command system for said wingmen, allowing you to issue on-the-fly instructions to these guys & gals.. who would then act on those orders in a contextually sensible way the likes of which are rarely seen even today. Yeah, you can do that. Want that hovertank to guard your resource collecter? 3 buttons. Transport chopper to bring your laser turret to high ground? 3 buttons. Deranged chopper pilot to provide you air support? Well you get the idea. All easilly done whilst blasting enemy factories/dodging missiles/going sightseeing.
Not a fan of sending commands whilst in the thick of it? Relax and enjoy the accessable yet thoroughly satisfying command overview screen where you can issue units waypoints, co-ordinate attacks, set up resource gathering, construction queues, and transport duties etc from the comfort of your very own holo-map thing. THEN
get back into the thick of it and blow the absolute hell out of stuff whilst you watch your masterplan unfold around you.
The sheer ambition behind this game managed to light a fire under me all those years ago, a fire which has been rekindled by simply seeing it on the store front. A genuine classic which I would put up on a pedestal beside the likes of Deus Ex & would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. If for no other reason than to get a good idea of what a game created by true talent and vision can -and should- feel like.
My only gripe is the lack of options to extend the life of the campaign after that first, (awesome), playthrough. Oh, and I'd absolutly kill
for a good multiplayer mode :)