15 July 2014

Moonbase Commander (2002)

Game score: 75%
Platform: Steam, PC

I recently saw this game on Steam and I just had to buy it. I played it before... 10 years ago or so (it was released in 2002) and I remembered how much fun I had back then. Then I remembered I even wrote a review for it! So here it is, my 10 year old review of a game that is still as fun as it was back then. Enjoy it!

This game will probably go by unnoticed. Shame, since Moonbase Commander is one of the most original and most entertaining games lately! It might not have stunning graphics and sound, but if it’s fun that matters then this is one great game!

So, what’s the story of this game? It’s quite simple – four companies are fighting for domination of the Moon. That’s all! There are no more details of the story, you will not be briefed about the current situation on the field, nothing! As the single player “campaign” starts, you will play as Niceco Company, then move on to Dewolf, then to System 7 and finally complete the game as Alpha team. Each company offers 4 missions and if you play for about 2 hours per day you should be done in less than 4 days. And I was just beginning to completely enjoy my superior strategy…

The game plays as follows: you construct various structures such as air defense missiles, energy collectors and radar towers as well as fire missiles, bombs or crawlers. Each component can be constructed only in the hub. Hubs are the cores of each “base”. When you want to build a component, you need to select it, pay the price for construction, then aim and fire the component in the wanted direction. New component will be connected to the hub and will be destroyed if hub is destroyed. Hubs can also construct other hubs, but note if the main hub is destroyed so are all others and you have lost. Each component has its price of 1, 3 or 7 energy points. When you start the game you will be getting 7 energy points per turn, but finding energy sources and placing energy collectors gives you extra 3 energy points. Your goal is simple – destroy enemy main hub(s) or place an energy collector on a specific energy source and hold it for a set number of turns (you will be told about your goal).

There is total of 18 components and weapons that can be “fired”. Aside from previously mentioned hubs and energy collectors, you can also build air defense (protects you from various air attacks), towers (provide larger viewable area when fog of war is turned on), shield (protects an area from everything) and so on. On the other hand, guided missiles are great if you are not aiming well, EMP disables shields, hubs and other structures, bombs are dumb and you need to aim well and finally, crawlers are ultimate weapon of destruction… but the move real slow. There are other weapons and components but you need to find something on your own!

Once you complete the single player campaign, you can still play skirmishes versus up to three opponents or in team with a computer against other computers. There is a multiplayer game option but you can only play it online via GameSpy.

The graphics and sound are much below today’s standard but such game doesn't need them anyway. Although the game can only be played in 640x480, everything looks real sharp and nice. Sounds are limited to the usual set of beeping, booming, crashing and whistling, with a voice commentary from your superior’s computers.

Overall, the game is quite fun but it doesn't last long enough. After I was done with the campaign, I lost interest, as I never enjoy playing skirmishes (they just seem pointless to me).

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