Design. Deploy. Destroy.
Following a technical error in the satellite defense system, nuclear warheads were fired at Washington, Beijing, and Moscow. Minutes later, ground based sites fired in response to the launch. Millions died as nuclear firestorms wiped out the world’s cities. Less than a million people survived the Collapse. Earth broke into hundreds of small rogue groups, and, as you would expect (they’re humans after all), start battling each other over territory.
Warzone 2100 is a real-time strategy game set on the remnants of Earth. With fully 3D terrain and a complex unit design scheme, Warzone 2100 was a compelling PC title. Eidos has now released it for the PSX, and thankfully it holds up rather well.
You start off with basic design crafts called the ‘Viper attack unit’ or builder unit. As you complete scenarios, you’ll find artifacts, each of which can be researched to unlock a new unit component or make an old one more powerful. You can create up to 2,000 unit designs with 400 different kinds of technologies. The main distinguishing factors among your units are experience and the five weapon types. Warzone 2100 lets you transfer a unit’s experience when you scrap an older unit to build a newer one. This puts an emphasis on carefully using your units, rather than simply drag-selecting them and throwing them in waves at the enemy. Creating the vehicles and implementing their overall effect is easily the most fun element in the game.
One of the problems with playing a real-time strategy game on a console system is the lack of a mouse. For those of you who don’t own a Playstation mouse (just about everybody), playing Warzone 2100 with the standard controller is awkward. It’s not impossible, but it takes some time to get used to. Just about every single button on the controller is used with plenty of variations, so there is a relatively steep learning curve as well.
Like its vehicles, Warzone 2100 is packed with a wide range of controls. Gamers can manufacture, research, build, design, check intelligence reports, use the transporter, command leading troops, and order around units. There are a ton of orders you can give to the troops, which makes you feel truly in command.
One unique feature not seen in many other RTS games is the way the campaign progresses. When you complete a mission, you don’t start from scratch in the next mission; you carry over your units and technology with you. As you move through scenarios, you play on the same map, but the playable area gets bigger and bigger. Another cool feature is the way Warzone 2100 lets you assume command of a single vehicle and drive it around. This feature works great for getting your units exactly where you want them. If you’ve selected a group, you’ll control a lead vehicle and the rest of the group will follow you.
With all these nice features and options, there are some minor flaws. The graphics are fuzzy, the sound is uninspiring, and there’s no in-game save feature. Also, Warzone 2100 falls into the console RTS trap by not having any form of multi-play. It’s too bad.
Those minor annoyances aside, Warzone 2100 is a complex title that strategy fans should definitely check out.