Game Over Online ~ Echelon

GameOver Game Reviews - Echelon (c) Amnesty Visuals, Reviewed by - Rebellion

Game & Publisher Echelon (c) Amnesty Visuals
System Requirements P133, 16MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 66%
Date Published Monday, August 10th, 1998 at 11:20 AM

Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

In the distant galaxy of Ring World the inhabitant species formed an advanced society. They set their differences and conflicts aside to live in mutual understanding. They formed a peace treaty and destroyed their weaponry that they have developed over the long years of war. What wasn't demolished was hid in secret repositories on far-away planets of the galaxy. Many hundreds of years went by in peace. The memory of the dark ages of war faded. The planets of the Ring World became the Gardens of Eden. However, one day unknown spaceships showed up on the horizon. The beings on-board called themselves HUMANS. The inhabitants had to realize that the rest of the Universe did not live in peace as they had.

Uh oh, us Humans went in and done it again. Yah All, it's yet another RTS! This is a science-fiction type so it falls right along the lines of Starcraft (Three races in each - coincidence?) and Total Annihilation (funny how some of the units look very similar).

The mission, should you choose to accept it (tough call there), is to lead one of the races to victory by completing race based scenarios. The races are pretty different from one another, which is a good change from matching units in some of the other lame RTS's. Some are more powerful but cost more and take longer to build, some are faster, blah blah .. I'm sure you've all played enough RTS's to know how this all works.

Here's some background on your races:

The Aruthas are the inhabitants of the deserts of ESHYL. They have well-developed technology and live primarily underground. The Aruthas are intelligent, unpredictable, treacherous and merciless. Their aim is to slave all the other inhabitants of Ring World and dwell in tyranny.

The Eriins are the adherents of peace from the sunshiny blue country. Their technology is mediocre, but they have a very strong scientific background. The Eriins want to restore the peace of Ring World, at any price. They consider themselves as the most advanced beings, as the leaders and masterminds (even Gods) of all Ring World species.

The Trasks are an ancient nation from the turbulent and fiery KULGAN. A tough and rugged species, used to the constant volcanic activity in their homeland. They are well-known for their lack of intelligence, folly and brutality. Their aim is the extermination of all ther beings of Ring World and the seizure of their possessions.

You know that sounds all nice and well but it doesn't really fit in with the intro part with the peace and the HUMANS interfering. I would have assumed it'd be the aliens kicking the humans' asses and not each other. I don't know where that all came from, but RTS's and plots usually are pretty vague.

It's not a BAD game, just not a great one. It ONLY runs in 640x480 which pretty much sucks cause unless you've got a 10" monitor you're going to be playing in a window. I hate playing games in a window. If they aren't full screen, then I don't particularly have much interest in them. The graphics are pretty good though, somewhat Total Annihilation-ish, since there's animations on all the buildings and everything's robotic looking. No 3DFX/Glide or whatnot, but since barely any RTS's do, you shouldn't be expecting anything. The sidebar is pretty nice and it slides between building production and unit production. The explosions are decent, units smoke when damaged, buildings burn. All pretty nice looking.

The sound is pretty nice. You can tell there's a battle going on someplace else on the battlefield based on volume. The explosions sound pretty real. The buildings sound real cool when they're burning, especially if its your opponents buildings that are burning. The little intro for Amnesty Visuals is pretty nice too, kudos to them.

Gameplay is okay. It's pretty much standard RTS. The major difference in Echelon is the right mouse button is used for moving around the screen. This takes some getting used to, but it's okay. I still think being able to move to the top of the screen and it moving up is a MUCH better idea, but this one works. There's no overhead map, which is a bad thing. I always like to see what's going on. The sidebar is a little big, but you can hide it. Good idea there, more RTS's should use that feature. It has quite a few units, including ground, naval, and air, giving it a good assortment of troop variety, not anywhere near as many as TA, but TA had TOO many.

It's somewhat fun. RTS is soupy genre full of soggy noodles. This one's only somewhat soggy so just take a big sip of broth with it while you're tasting it. It's HARD though. The computer has the habit of bum rushing you and you're pretty much screwed. It always seems to have more units then you and knows to attack you when you're weak. I hate that. I prefer to have somewhat of a chance on occasion.

No multiplayer here... big downer. You can't get away with a good RTS without multiplayer. That's a big letdown to the serious gamer that wants to take his new found skills out on his would-be victims, er friends.

It's not a bad game, if Dominion (cough) wasn't enough to hold you over till the Westwood games come out and you don't have the hardware to play Wargames, and you REALLY need a RTS to play, it's probably worth a look. Some decent ideas in this game, so I really wouldn't mind a big developer checking out some of it's features.

Well poor Rebbie is spent after reviewing three games on this rainy Sunday. Till next time, happy gaming!


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