Game Over Online ~ Spellcross

GameOver Game Reviews - Spellcross (c) SCi, Reviewed by - Enigma

Game & Publisher Spellcross (c) SCi
System Requirements P133, 32MB RAM
Overall Rating 61%
Date Published Wednesday, September 2nd, 1998 at 09:38 PM

Divider Left By: Enigma Divider Right

Spellcross is basically an old fashioned fantasy turn-based game brought to you by SCi, the same people that created the fabulous Carmageddon. Knowing this, I was anxiously looking forward to this game. As a fan of turn-based strategy games I was even more excited.

The first thing to strike me was the fact the game runs in DOS/4GW and not in a modern DirectX fashion. Today, a game that is DOS native is just plain old-fashioned. That aside, the gameplay is full of flaws. It starts out with the slow and repetitive manner of play (point, move, shoot, kill, end turn) and ends with the dull graphics and the annoying sound effects. Nonetheless, it can be fun for the diehard TBS fan.

As I mentioned before, the graphics are best described as dull. The units are not animated, and when they move, it looks as if they are just copied from one place to another. There are 70 playable units, each with their own characteristics, but they don't add anything special to the game. The terrain is actually well painted and looks nice. It's a shame the units look as if they were stapled to it.

The sound in the game is among the most annoying I have ever heard. Unsurprisingly, the units respond with a short phrase each time you move them or attack with them. The only problem is that they only have 2 or 3 phrases. And when you play a game such as this, when the gameplay consists of moving the units and attacking ALL THE TIME, it becomes very annoying very quickly. The midi sound is ok, although it's nothing special. In short, the music is best described as functional, no more.

If I had to describe Spellcross in one word, it would be "dull". You see, the manner of play is very repetitive most of the time, although at times it's quite fun.. Real TBS (Turn Based Strategy) games fans would find this game pretty rewarding. On the other hand, hard-core Starcraft (Real Time Based) fans will find this game boring and very slow. The game consists of two parts: the mission itself, which is called the tactical phase, and the planning & management part, which is called the strategic phase. In the strategic phase you choose which areas your scientists will research, buy more units, control resources, and basically control your army. The mission itself is a normal turn based game, with action points and so called "strategic planning". The missions are actually quite tough, and you often find yourself loading games over and over again. The AI isn't very good, and you sometimes feel as if the programmers just put lots of enemies on the screen instead of putting less enemies and coding a decent AI code for them.

At first, I thought this game deserved a low score, but after playing it some more I actually started enjoying it. If you're one of the last fans of the disappearing TBS genre, I suggest you grab this one.

Fun Factor:
It's actually a half-decent game. It needs some more polishing in the graphics department, and maybe in the gameplay department, but it's still rewarding and quite fun.

There is no multiplayer support in this game, which is surprising for a strategy game. It's almost common place now to include multiplayer in these types of games.

Overall impression:
If TBS games aren't your cup of tea, don't bother. Otherwise, it's a half-decent game, but it won't resurrect the dying Turn-Based genre.


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