Dark Colony Review

Nebojsa Radakovic
Dark Colony Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1 - 8

Publisher

  • SSI/Mindscape

Developer

  • N/A

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PC

rating

A Dark Day for My Computer…

Dark Colony is the latest in a string of real-time strategy games

to hit the market. In the near future, humans will colonize Mars

in order to extract a precious gas called Petra-7. The problem

is, a group of refugee Roswell-type aliens has also laid claim to Mars

and are not happy about the filthy humans trying to pollute their

atmosphere with oxygen. What’s more, 60 million years or so ago,

Mars was inhabited by an extremely advanced race which left some

ruins and artifacts around. Finally, Mars is populated by a

number of indigenous creatures which roam around aimlessly. And

we thought all Mars had was maybe some microbes!

Dark Colony’s game

play is much like other’s of its genre. Players build a base, build a unit to

collect the ‘money’, and build fighting units for attack and defense. Base construction

is fairly limited in Dark Colony. Only four buildings may be constructed,

and 2 of those may later be upgraded. All base construction is centered around

a concrete spire, which severely limits design. Once the four buildings have

been constructed and the two upgraded, that’s it. You are also limited to the

one concrete spire, which means that if you are on a large map, it can take

ages for a new unit to get to the front line.

The unit mix is about average. Standard infantry, heavy assault

and artillery units are available. A disappointment is that each

side has only one air unit, which is pretty weak. I would expect

that in the future, the air war would be just as important as it

is today, especially on a planet with weaker gravity such as

Mars. I was disappointed to see that the two sides in this game,

Humans and Grays, are extremely similar. The only differences

between the two sides are the unit pictures and the fact that

Humans fight better in the day while Grays fight better at night.

The artifacts left behind

by the ancient race that once inhabited Mars are a nice touch. It helps to compensate

for the sameness of the two forces. The graphics are also nicely done. I especially

enjoyed the nighttime effect with colors becoming faded gray and the units viewing

radius decreasing.

The computer’s AI

plays a very aggressive game, which is a welcome change from the

type of AI which just sits there fortifying until you come and

attack. The player’s own units are actually quite stupid. If

you have a group of units standing on sentry, and a group of

enemy attack, perhaps half of your forces will engage the enemy

while the rest just stand there and do nothing to help. You must

make sure all nearby forces help when you are under attack,

otherwise your troops will just stand around while the soldiers

just next to them fight the attackers.

Perhaps I’m griping, but the amount of headache a documentation error can cause is like a

bad joke. No one laughs and no one appreciates the time that was

wasted on it. The box of Dark Colony spells out its system

requirements pretty plainly and accurately. In fact, I think it

is without error except for one small point, the mouse. The Dark

Colony
documentation says Logitech users must have driver version

6.42 or higher. Don’t believe it! You must have version 7.2 to

run this game. I didn’t know this and so through an odd set of

circumstances, my DirectX was messed up and it took 4 hours to

fix it. Bottom line, get a new mouse driver.

As real-time strategy games go, Dark Colony is a little below average.

If it had come out 2 years ago, before Warcraft and Command

& Conquer
, it would have been something special. Unfortunately, it fails

to distinguish itself from the other games of its type already out there. It

really has little to recommend it when compared to the other real-time strategy

games out there except for its aggressive AI.

 

REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating3
Agressive AI
Interesting Setting
Only 4 bulidings & 1 air unit
Fails to Add to the Real-Time Genre
Humans and Aliens are Too Similar
Get a New Mouse Driver!