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Game Over Online ~ Tellurian Defence

GameOver Game Reviews - Tellurian Defence (c) Psygnosis, Reviewed by - Prolix

Game & Publisher Tellurian Defence (c) Psygnosis
System Requirements Pentium 133, 16MB RAM
Overall Rating 42%
Date Published Sunday, February 7th, 1999 at 12:44 PM

Divider Left By: Prolix Divider Right

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 clone market.

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 missions.

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 bin
-Cons: Bad physics, horrible controls, lack of customization on the mouse, bland story, lame missions, and poor multiplayer.


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