Game Over Online ~ Warzone 2100

GameOver Game Reviews - Warzone 2100 (c) Eidos Interactove, Reviewed by - Rebellion

Game & Publisher Warzone 2100 (c) Eidos Interactove
System Requirements Pentium 166, 16MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 81%
Date Published Wednesday, April 14th, 1999 at 03:56 PM

Divider Left By: Rebellion Divider Right

C&C clones, once the scourge of the gaming community, have been relatively few and far between in the past few months. The year 1998 itself was a pretty poor year for the RTS games as well, with very few highlights (Starcraft, Mech Commander). The eagerly awaited C&C Tiberian Sun continues to be delayed, so what's a gamer to do? Warzone 2100 is the best answer to that question.

Eidos has put together a game that definitely opens up the 1999 RTS game market with a bang. Combining gameplay styles similar to Total Annihilation with 3D graphics similar to Wargames, Warzone 2100 has a lot of potential.

The plot places the game in the future, as the world wakes up from nuclear winter. Your forces have emerged from underground and you will lead them toward recovering artifacts to rebuild civilization. You're not the only faction, the rival New Paradigm is out to make sure you don't make it. Not to mention, there'll be mercenary scavengers to worry about as well.

The isometric view many gamers witnessed in Wargames is also used here. There's similar controls over the views so you can spin around the action and change the position above the map. It moves very smoothly so camera control is easy to use. The terrain is well rendered, but neither it nor the units have very much detail to them. Humans are very tiny, so they're basically three or four pixel sprites. Fire, fog, and the standard complement of 3D effects are here. The smoke could be a little more interesting, but nonetheless it's good environment for a RTS styled game. D3D, Glide, and software rendering are your choices with a few different resolutions up to 1024x768.

The audio can be a little boring at times, but it does help to create the environment. It's just lacking a real grabbing appeal. Weapon effects sound too much like kids toys then high powered attacks. It uses cd audio as well, so there's some decent background music. There's plenty of effects, they're just missing the punch to stand out.

Gameplay is not real unique, but it does stray a little from the usual RTS roots. Resource management isn't very detailed in WZ. You gain your energy from oil derricks, but they're unlimited and you don't harvest it. It does do a better job when it comes to unit commands. You have many options for movement, including having the unit retreat for repairs or changing its attack range. Although this increases possible ideas for strategy, versus the computer, it still comes pretty much down to rushing with mass troops. Control over your units is a little weak, as they tend to have a mind of their own, which for the most part is useful. Units like the repair vehicle, will automatically carry out duties without human intervention. Units will also break to intercept incoming enemies, but it still works better for you to co-ordinate attacks yourself.

Warzone has one of the more innovative elements in an RTS in recent times. Instead of Total Annilihation's download-a-new-unit method, WZ uses an ingame unit builder. It works just like unit creation in Alpha Centauri did. Artifacts gained from destroying enemy bases, allow you to gain new technology at the component level. This lets you mix and match parts to create over 400 different units. This definitely adds quite a bit to a somewhat stagnant genre. The technology artifacts also work for buildings, allowing you to upgrade to improved structures as you gain more advanced technology.

Another interesting aspect of the gameplay is that many of the levels use the same base. All your developments at your primary base along with your units will remain between missions, so you'll usually have a strong jump off point. This definitely gives it more of a campaign feeling since your accomplishments roll over.

Multiplayer is great as well, supporting all the usual bells and whistles. It's filled with a few different games, more than your usual old RTS. With up to eight players, it meets the bill for a good online RTS. It also allows you to do speech with the others playing with you which is quite nice. No lag at all on my 56k connection so most should do fine with the multiplayer.

It's a little too bland to be a real attention getter, but since we've yet to see a decent RTS game in quite some months, this one does a good job. I know C&C2 should be coming soon, but until I see it, I'm playing Warzone!

Highs: Alpha Centauri-esque technology progression is cool, good multiplayer features
Lows: graphics are a little dull, unimposing sound effects


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