From Microprose, the creators of the anticipated title Mech Commander and a host of others, comes the next game in a series of titles that are based on Strategy, Action and partly Adventure. X-Com interceptor is the next-generation title for the series since it boasts new features such an enhanced storyline, good graphics and the use of a 3D accelerator. I had not played any X-COM game before this title so I was eager to discover why so many people are fans of this series.
The grahpics in this game are pretty good, however, they are far from excellent. When it is compared to a game such as Descent: Freespace or Wing Commander Prophecy those games easily surpass it graphics wise. During the strategy sequences, however, the graphics are very good. The interface is easy to use and the commands are simple enough that a person who has not played a X-Com game before can learn quickly. The game supports all major 3D accelerators which is a real plus. However, the problem is that the game does not take advantage of really advanced 3D set features. Players are left with what some might call minimal graphical output with only a few areas in the game that contain features such as Hardware driven fog for explosions and coloured lighting for objects. I think Microprose wanted the game to look good on all machines so I expect that this title will run fairly well in software renderer mode on a good Pentium machine. Since this game takes place in space the traditional black screen with a few stars is used as most backgrounds for the action sequences. I would really like to see a game come along that changes this, however, this was not the case in X-Com interceptor. The weapons on each ship are generally well done with a few lighting/shadow effects when they hit their targets. This game does a good job of using a cockpit texture without the loss of frames on a descent 3D accelerator.
The sound in this game is what one would come to expect from a space title. When the player shoots lasers blast sharply and numerous amount of bass is used when the player moves the spacecraft. The normal stereo sound exists as well meaning that you can tell which way a shot is coming from but its volume and location. During the strategy part of the game the sound is made up of a few noises and speeches for a command being activated. I would assume that background music is included in CD AUDIO format and this would really help a space title like this where the user is sometimes just staring into space waiting for enemy ships. No advanced sound support exist such as support for Aureal's A3D 2.0/1.0 or even Microsoft's DirectSound 3D. This is really a shame since a title like this could really benefit from allowing the player to immerse him/herself into the game more greatly.
Since I had not played the game before I did not know what to expect. During the strategy part of the game I was somewhat confused in the beginning but I soon figured out that my main objective in the missions was to further and strengthen the human presence/force on the Frontier. What I did not like was the fact that the game did not go further into helping me out when I did not know what to do next which might be a problem for someone who has not played any of the other Microprose X-Com games. During the action sequences I felt right at home in the cockpit of my spacecraft. The controls were fairly simple to figure out and I assume they were re-programmable as well. Since this game is based on 1/2 strategy and 1/2 action I assume Microprose focused on both aspects equally. In that, they did not concentrate too much on the action part of the game by creating 50 different ships and neglect the strategy part of the game.
The game does a good job of providing an interesting storyline which is a must in a strategy title such as this. However, the bad thing is that the story line gets so involved with facts and references here and there that a new player just cannot keep up with what's going on and what the purpose of their mission is. A very fun game if you've liked the previous ones in the series, however, if you've never played the game before I would not recommend it.
The multiplayer in this title was alright to say the least, however, I did not like it since it lagged a bit when too many objects were on the screen.
All in all an okay pickup, but do not snag it if you have not played the previous ones.