In a market dominated by first person shooters and real
time strategy games, space combat sims have had a real hard time
getting a share these days. Games such as Descent FreeSpace and
Wing Commander Prophecy have accomplished this, but it was no
easy task. The creators had to make something new that would get
gamers hooked. Vibrant graphics, realistic physics engine,
interesting plot, and of course good weapons are all in the formula
to create a noteworthy space sim. Unfortunately the creators of
Tellurian Defense haven’t quite taken the initiative to create
something new and it would appear they are shooting for the
Tellurian Defense is based in the twenty first century, the
earth, of course, has suffered from an apocalyptic meteor shower
that destroyed everyone’s way of life on earth. Mankind struggles
to survive in this harsh new environment where tornadoes and
electrical storms are just a part of every day life. Just as
reconstruction starts moving, an alien race decides to take over
earth and destroy it’s inhabitance. That’s where you come in, you
are part of the Tellurian Defense team. Strapped into your high
tech fighter jet, you wage war across thirty different levels with
real landmarks around the US. Very original plot isn’t it?
Tellurian Defense’s graphics are almost well done, with
a few exceptions here and there. I chose to take in the landscapes
at 800x600 resolution and noticed very little slowdown on my P2
233mhz with a Riva TNT. However, a lot of generic seeming effects
are included in the game. Blue blast rings around explosions,
glowing exhaust trails, and all the other pieces of eye candy
gamer’s have come to expect from a 3d game. The action is
viewed by a chase camera, close up behind the ship’s vantage
point, or inside the cockpit, with zoom in and out features.
Landscapes aren’t pre-rendered and many times I noticed
mountains being built before my very eyes. This really detracts
from the realism and is also a result of my slower cpu speed,
therefore some gamers might not be effected by this. The ships are
very well done with a good touch of sci-fi in them. That is they look
like something right out of Star Trek. The story has a real
apocalyptic feel to it, but the game certainly didn’t give me that
impression. I did not feel as though I was racing at a few hundred
miles an hour through mountain passes or city streets. The concept
of speed really wasn’t apparent and I felt as if I was simply gliding
through these massive environments. It would have been better to
see a blurring effect on the ground as I passed over it or some
other indications of how fast I was actually traveling. For the most
part the graphics don’t make this a bad game. However, the
engine might be a little outdated because I saw nothing more than
simple shapes and nothing really caught my eye.
Customizability of controls has always been a top
priority for me. If I can’t manipulate every button on my keyboard
and mouse the game just won’t work for me. Tellurian Defense
supports keyboards, joysticks, and a little bit of your mouse.
Unfortunately the mouse was not customizable at all and no
options are given to assign buttons to it or even invert the axis.
Luckily, Pysgnosis decided that it would be a good idea to let
gamers customize their joysticks and keyboards, but only god
knows why they left out mouse button options. If you play Uprising
2 or Descent FreeSpace type games with a joystick, this won’t
phase you a bit, however, personally I find the mouse much more
accurate. Due to the simple fact that I could not use my mouse to
control the ship, Tellurian Defense became nightmarishly
frustrating. Controlling the ship isn’t the easiest task, it takes hours
to get used to and even the training missions weren’t enough for
me to adapt to the ships awkward physics. Tellurian Defense looks
like an arcade game, but plays like a hastily designed flight sim.
Even after becoming accustomed to the ship’s movements, the
game was still incredibly difficult. Sound effects consist of some
weird engine noise that is always present in the game and never
changes regardless of the situation. There are no roaring takeoffs
or spectacular fly by effects to create an atmosphere of intense
dog fighting. TD relies simply on the cd audio to create an
environment, and miserably fails. Owners of any EAX or Aureal
based sound card will be upset to know there is no EAX or A3D
support available in the game, so those fancy cards and your four
speaker setups will be going to waste.
Before flying a mission you are given the options to
customize your ship, down to the weapons and ammo payloads.
Weapons consist of lasers, chainguns, and various rockets. Once
your ship is ready to go, you are given a briefing on your
objectives, then you strap yourself into the pilots seat. Targeting
systems, much like those found in X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter, guide
you in the right direction towards your enemies, a feature I found
most useful. Multiplayer options consist of TCP/IP or IPX support.
Multiplayer via TCP/IP was incredibly lagged on my 56k
connection even with a DSL host. When the lag cleared for a few
moments, play consisted of aimlessly wandering the landscapes in
search of your opponent then ,in a confusing battle, blast him to
pieces. Due to the fact that most of the current gamers are
multiplayer addicts, Tellurian Defense has a very low replay value.
Multiplayer is just a bore, and the single player missions consist of
your average run of the mill escort or blow the aliens to pieces
I played it and then I hated it. Frustration, in games, is
one thing I do not tolerate. Gamers should not have to drop down
$40 to experience a migraine headache of a game. The controls
and physics of Tellurian Defense are its major pitfalls. The only
positive aspects are the decent graphics and a few cool weapons
here and there. No one in his or her right mind should pick up a
copy of this game, unless you have the urge to go insane.
-Pros: Average, but not bad graphics and fits nicely in the recycle
-Cons: Bad physics, horrible controls, lack of customization on the
mouse, bland story, lame missions, and poor multiplayer.