The real time strategy genre is truly limitless, allowing the gamer to control and manipulate various units in a never-ending struggle to eliminate his or her enemy - Starship Troopers is no exception. The game, based on the multi-million dollar movie and original 1959 novel by Robert Heinlein, contains some of the best graphics displayed in the genre through the year 2000. The worlds are vast and colorful and terrain is rendered beautifully. However, the game does bear some obvious flaws.
Before playing, you're offered a chance to customize display options. You then arrive at the main screen where five different gameplay options are available. The first is officer candidate school, basically a pre-game tutorial. There, you are trained in the areas of physical fitness, formations, weapons proficiency and simulated combat. The second and fourth options allow you to load saved games - an unfinished campaign and saved game files respectively. The third enlists you in the military and begins a new campaign while the last option provides a means for editing game preferences (video, sound and so forth).
When you begin the game, you're given the option to select both your lieutenant profile and your platoon insignia. The default lieutenant is named Johnny but you can change his name and facial profile. When you are choosing your platoon insignia, you simply choose the symbol you want and name it accordingly.
During gameplay, you are briefed on your objectives before every mission. Starship Troopers' developers made a wise decision in adding vocal mission briefings. With sound briefings accompanying the text, you undoubtedly have a clearer idea of the mission requirements. You also have to appoint a strike team before every mission and, if there are specific items required to complete the tasks, you must equip the team members accordingly.
If you so desire, you can auto-select a strike team from the options provided. When you do this, the computer automatically equips all the required items for the mission. This is a very useful attribute since it can be a difficult and confusing process to customize team members on your own.
Once the game begins, you're confronted with jaw-dropping graphics and sound. The game's smooth textures and soft playing music are wonderful additions to the game's atmosphere. The lighting effects in the game are also very nice and the level of detail to which each individual character is rendered is superb. Starship Troopers' graphics strongly compare to its competitors such as Dark Reign 2 and Ground Control and, in certain areas like texturing, surpasses them.
For the most part, the game's camera works fairly well. If at any time your troops stray, a quick press of the spacebar centers you over them again. Sadly, this is all too common and being aware of the quick fix is important. Also, the camera's elevation is low to the ground and makes it difficult to see your enemies without right clicking on the mouse and moving your camera around manually.
Overall, gameplay itself is fairly enjoyable. You get to annihilate large masses of aliens using multiple weapons that, as mentioned previously, can be customized for each individual. Good examples include the MX Grenade Launcher, PRISM Light Rifle and MR-59 Missile Launcher.
Multiple team formations make gameplay more interesting and can really help if you are in a tough situation. One problem, however, is the speed of gameplay. Starship Troopers is relatively slow by default and, unlike many other real time strategy games, cannot be customized. Consequently, this aspect coupled with the handling difficulties of the cameras, means higher end machines are required to enjoy full effects.
Campaign missions tend to be repetitive and can become very tedious. The game's story lags and becomes stale quickly, resulting in a game that depends more on action and its war aspect then on plot. Even so, if you have a decent machine, Starship Troopers can be a blast to play.
Unfortunately, though, you won't be playing it online since the game is one of the very few RTS strategy games without multiplayer support. This is a huge downside since multiplayer action revolves around many of the characteristics emphasized in Starship Troopers. However, this game's single player is still very good and its graphics and sound make up for its shortcoming in game speed and story.
Starship Troopers is a decent game that appeals mainly to gamers desiring action-packed strategy. But, if you're looking for a good story, look elsewhere. Depending on what you're in the market for, the game can fill a need and, if action/strategy is your specific forte, Starship Troopers may just be worth a look.
Graphics: From the game's magnificent lighting effects to its ultra-detailed characters, the graphical representation is wonderful.
Sound: Though the game does not contain the greatest musical score of all time, it definitely works in conjunction with the game's wartime atmosphere.
Enjoyment: The game is fun for the most part (e.g., blasting aliens, destroying enemy ships) but due to its repetitive nature, full enjoyment quickly wears off.
Replay Value: Because the game possesses no multiplayer mode and only one single player campaign, there is virtually no replay value (unless it's one of personal preference).
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