Game Over Online ~ Urban Assault

GameOver Game Reviews - Urban Assault (c) Microsoft, Reviewed by - _NeD_

Game & Publisher Urban Assault (c) Microsoft
System Requirements
Overall Rating 64%
Date Published Thursday, July 30th, 1998 at 09:14 AM

Divider Left By: _NeD_ Divider Right

Look out Battlezone, there's a new kid in town. Well, actually never mind, cuz this kid ain't so great and you're still the best game in your neck of the woods. So, we have another real-time strategy game that also lets you control individual vehicles.

Microsoft supports Direct 3D, as is standard now. The graphics are only half-done from the general appearance of the game. There is filtering but textures far away shimmer due to the lack of MIP mapping. The explosions and effects are all sprite based so nothing looks all that realistic. The buildings can be shot down but they just split in half after a few shots instead of crumbling into chunks. The sky is also a static image with fairly obvious dithering artifacts. The individual tank and helicopter units are not particularly detailed either. At best, the graphics are competent but don't expect to be even slightly wowed by anything you see.

The sound was everything from dull to annoying. When you start to lose the computer repeatedly says "host station energy low" and does so every 3 seconds. Hey guess what? I heard you the first 50 times ok! And again it's one of these British lady voices that seem to be used for so many games. Why are British voices more suited for game speech? Make it an Asian voice or a Texas redneck. Do something original for once.

Force feedback is supported, so I initially thought that might add some fun. Actually it gave me a sore hand after 5 minutes of machine gun recoil. The control is pretty good but I would attribute part of that to my excellent MS force feedback pro stick. One thing that sort of bothers me is the fact that you need to use keyboard, mouse AND joystick to fully control this game. So you're constantly letting go of the stick to perform mouse commands. This makes you feel detached from the game every time you do it because you feel a lack of control as you flip-flop between control devices. Battlezone is a good example of how it should be done; it uses all keyboard shortcuts and the hat switch on your stick for cycling through menus. At no time do you need to use the mouse and overall, I preferred the method of control in Battlezone.

The gameplay isn't half bad, once you get over the control issues. It's sort of neat to be able to jump into one of your tanks and have actual control over their outcome. Note that I said *sort of neat*. It's a neat feature but it doesn't make a mediocre game great. This game is mediocre to say the least. The missions are oh so standard. Find enemy base, destroy it. Oh joy, that's a new one! I found the energy management confusing also. You have to "conquer sectors" to increase the amount of energy gathered but all that entails is driving through an area and firing a few rounds. When my base started to become low on energy, I had no idea how to get more. The game has an icon called "situation advisor" but it just said "all hope is lost". Oh great. It didn't even suggest a last ditch effort that could pull me out of the fire. I sat there for another 20 minutes, blasting enemy gunships and finally just let them kill me. If i was able to survive that long, shouldn't there have been a way to get back into the game? Maybe there was, but I didn't know it, and the game wasn't going to tell me.

Good stuff:
unit control is neat if unoriginal
force feedback and 3D support

Bad stuff:
confusing resource management
spotty graphics

Graphics: 12 / 20
Sound: 7 / 15
Gameplay: 15 / 25
Fun Factor: 13 / 20
Multiplayer Play: 5 / 5
Packaging: 5 / 5
Overall Impression: 7 / 10

Overall Rating: 64 / 100

Tested on:

Intel P200MMX
Asus HX 512k MB
4mb Matrox Mystique
Orchid Righteous 3D 2 - 12 meg
Altec Lansing ACS-48
MS FFP joystick


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