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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

X-Com: Interceptor Review

Calvin_Hubble By:
Calvin_Hubble
06/05/04
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE  
PLAYERS 8- 8 
PUBLISHER MicroProse 
DEVELOPER  
RELEASE DATE  
MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
T Contains Animated Violence, Mild Language

What do these ratings mean?

Only If You're an X-COM Fan

As the gaming world has evolved, different "factions" of gamers have emerged, each with unique likes and dislikes: Flight-sim'ers, racers, 3D action'ers, RPG'ers, and real time strategy'ers to name a few. Right now, 3D/action and real time strategy gamers seemes to have emerged as the two most popular.

Many newer games have made a valiant attempt bridge the line that separates the two. For example, Battlezone, a 3D action game that also allows players to build structures and produce units like a strategy game. X-COM Interceptor, MicroProse's latest, also makes an effort to fill this gap, letting players manage, expand and defend different bases, structures and resources in a real-time strategy mode while at the same time making them take on the enemies first-hand in a 3D space-shooter mode. While the game has a lot of depth and complexity for a real-time strategy, the 3D-half resembles a half-baked version of the X-Wing and TIE Fighter series, with outdated graphics and awkward controls.

X-COM Interceptor bears a strong resemblance to its older and successful predecessors. For one, the story. Basically, as in all the other X-COM games, the player is battling a war against aliens, only this time it takes place in space. As you may or may not remember, older X-COM games combined the real-time strategy (RTS) overhead aspect with turn-based action for actual fighting sequences. X-COM Interceptor has replaced this turn-based action with not-so-up-to-par "space combat". Like the others, it does have complexity, depth and a high learning curve. Expect to spend a lot of time playing any of the X-COM series.

Graphically speaking, however, X-COM Interceptor is simply outdated. While the RTS user interface has a nice, spacey look to it, it cannot compete with those big guns on the market today (how about Starcraft and Total Annihilation to start). The graphics are not bad, showing some intricate detail (like the ability to zoom in and take a closer look at stars), as well as some 3D (you can rotate your base to take a look at different parts). Still, "not bad" doesn't quite cut it in the gaming industry.

On the combat side, graphics are even less impressive. While the interface strongly resembles that of the X-Wing series (the ability to transfer energy from power to shields and back, the ability to link fire, the ability to transfer shields from the back to the front, just to name a few examples), it is clearly overmatched in today's gaming world. Ships travel at an unplayable speed and actually hitting your target is extremely difficult. The 3D objects, mostly other ships, have a decent look to them and there are some impressive effects like, for example, the trails of a missile or a shock wave emitted after an explosion. These are, however, overshadowed by all the other little "nasties" riddled throughout the game.

If you're going to attempt to play X-COM Interceptor, you had better have a lot of time on your hands, not just to play the game, but also to learn how to play the damn thing. Basically, it is your job to manage and expand the space "frontier". Using funding earned by protecting profitable outposts and ore processing plants from malicious aliens, you must build and expand bases, develop new technology, and learn from alien technology all while maintaining a somewhat "alien-free" frontier. Believe me, this task is harder and more complex than it sounds, as you must deal with a whole slew of problems and obstacles thrown at you all at once.

In the end, it is rewarding to see your progress conquering the frontier. X-COM Interceptor does have multiplayer support, but only the 3D space mode is available. This means that all the atrocities of the single player combat will be experienced in multiplayer, while the joys of the RTS mode are absent, even though that is by far the better part of the game. In general, X-COM Interceptor just won't work well over an 8 person LAN.

Many fans of the X-COM series will like X-COM Interceptor as it incorporates many aspects of its prequels, as wwll as advancing the xcom storyline. On the other hand, those who enjoyed the turn-based action will be let down because of the fact that it was replaced by a sub-average X-Wing clone. In spite of its depth and complexity, X-COM Interceptor will simply fade away into mediocrity in the very near future.

C Revolution report card
  • Good Depth
  • Long Playtime
  • Some nice visual effects
  • Outdated Graphics
  • "Space Action" is poor X-WING Clone
    Reviews by other members
    No member reviews for the game.


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