The holiday season sees dozens upon dozens of action titles,
ready to capture the imagination (and dollars) of the casual and
diehard gamer. Featuring the latest in 3D advancements, tons of
weaponry, dozens of baddies, incredible level design, only the
fittest of the fit shall survive. We’ve also seen another trend this
holiday season, the nostalgic journey. Titles such as Pong, Space
Invaders, Q-Bert, and now Missile Command have made their way
to store shelves, hoping to rekindle the magic that once was.
Hasbro Interactive has played a big part, releasing all the above
mentioned titles (except Space Invaders, which was published by
Activision), and they’ve got a few more coming down the pipe. So
let’s take a trip down memory lane with Hasbro’s Missile
If you’ve played Missile Command at all before, you’ll instantly
recognize it’s gameplay. The objective, of course, is to execute a
counterattack against a massive alien invasion. You must protect
the cities, as well as your missile batteries, by destroying incoming
alien missiles. There are two modes of play in Missile Command;
Ultimate and Classic. The classic mode relives the glory days of
Missile Command. Everything is displayed in 2D and the graphics
are clean and colorful. There’s the standard set of three missile
batteries, mixed amongst a number of cities that you must protect.
Each missile battery contains a set number of missiles that you can
fire, and the whole scene is set to a variety of different
In terms of gameplay in the classic mode, it mimics the original to
a tee. The levels begin at a slow pace and pick up quickly as you
advance in the later levels. The alien fire begins to rain down at a
quicker pace and the strategy turns from shooting them all down,
to simply protecting one or two cities. In terms of testing one’s
reflexes, this game certainly does that.
The Ultimate mode offers a little more in terms of graphics and
gameplay. Instead of protecting a handful of cities from alien
missiles, you must protect various cities around the world from
alien invasion. A storyline is introduced in the Ultimate mode
via CG movies and various characters. The battlefield becomes 3D as the
range expands well above the normal field of vision. You can
rotate the screen left and right as well as up and down. A radar is
provided in the lower corner of the screen to provide an idea from
where the alien fire is coming. Also, Hasbro added ‘boss’
ships at the end of each stage. The objective of this mode is the
same as the classic mode, protect the cities from the incoming
missiles, but the gameplay and graphics are updated slightly.
Another key difference between the ultimate mode and the classic
mode is the ability to turn your points in at the end of the round to
purchase special missiles, smart bombs, electromagnetic pulses,
and much more. The ultimate mode provides a variety of different
weapons rather than just the simple missile that we’ve all come to
love in the classic mode. You can also use the points to increase
the number of ammunition your missile batteries can hold, or
increase the firing rate of the batteries.
Missile Command offers a number of different controller
configurations. You can use your mouse, keyboard, or gamepad to
move the cursor around the screen as well as fire your missiles
with. You might find that using the mouse or gamepad is easiest in
terms of moving the cursor around. It’s hard to move a cursor from
one corner of the screen to the other, in a split second, using only
the keyboard. Missile Command also feature multiplayer support
over the Internet, Modem, or LAN connection. What this offers is
the ability to team up with a friend to counter the alien invasion.
There’s no head-to-head features available.
If there's any complaints I have about Missile Command, it stems
from the original. It becomes far too hard, far too quickly. As
mentioned above, the strategy moves from one of shooting down alien
missiles, to one in which you strictly protect a single city,
because it's literally impossible to shoot any of the missiles down
after awhile. The gameplay is very simple in that respect, and with
that in mind it certainly won't appeal to a lot of new gamers.
Missile Command has always been a classic arcade title. Hasbro
Interactive has effectively recreated the original game in it’s
classic mode, and the ultimate mode offers a unique twist on the
original concept. The gameplay is nothing revolutionary. It's still
very simple and certainly won’t provide hours upon hours of fun.
Missile Command is simply a quick arcade fix and in that respect,
it does a fine job.