Even if Enemy Nations belongs to the growing category of real-time strategy games, it offers several features never seen before that will bring a wind of fresh air to the genre. At first glance, the game resembles Deadlock (Accolade) and This Means War! (MicroProse) put together, taking the best advantages of both games. Graphics are brilliant and look even better than those of Accolade's hit, and the real-time engine is flying compared to the speed in MicroProse's game. In addition, Enemy Nations includes multiplayer support to let you play with friends across several connection possibilities including the Internet.
What strikes out when you first play Enemy Nations is the richness of the graphics. As amazing as it seems, you can play with a resolution of up to 1600 by 1200 using 8, 15, 16, 24 or 32-bit colors. Rarely has a game offered you so many choices regarding graphics! The advantage of playing with high resolutions is that you can have several windows simultaneously displayed on the screen. For example, this allows you to keep watch on your base while monitoring your attack forces in another window. While this feature has been introduced in other titles before, none featured the same simplicity and ease of use than Enemy Nations. Moreover, each window is completely resizable, and if you desire that the main window occupies the entire screen for example, there is nothing against it! Both, buildings and units, are rendered in 3D with an astounding level of detail. Unlike other games where buildings looked too small on the screen, they appear monumental in Enemy Nations. Most structures in the game are animated (smoking chimneys, pumps, belts, etc...) when they are fully working, and again, the level of detail is incredible. You will see smoke and fire on damaged buildings and vehicles, explosions, burnt traces, and more. Vehicles and military units also benefited of the same attention for the graphics and sound effects. With 30 different structures and 19 types of units, plus a randomly-generated map terrain that changes every time you play, there is plenty enough in Enemy Nations to keep you glued to your computer.
Enemy Nations is not only a real-time strategy game in which you must eradicate all other races on the planet, but is also based on an accurate and rich economic model. You must first build a strong industry before you can defend yourself and attack your enemies, and this will start by extracting raw materials from the planet's surface. At first, wood, iron and coal will help you produce energy and steel required for the construction of the larger structures. Oil will then be used to provide your vehicles with gas, and later to produce energy when you acquire the technology. Another resource, the xilithium, used for advanced military, will become available when you have done enough research. What is also new in Enemy Nations is that resources have to be transported to where they will be either used or transformed. If you build an efficient network of roads, it will reduce the transportation time, thus your productivity will be increased. In general terms, it is best to locate your factories where there is the best synergy (e.g. coal mine and iron mine near the smelter to produce steel, an oil well near the refinery, etc...). When you start the game, only a few buildings will be available for you to choose from. With research, your scientists will work on better ways to produce energy, invent new weapons, and on how to build larger houses and offices. With a research and development tree containing over 50 items to discover, it should provide you with enough variety.
The race you choose at the beginning will condition your game. Each race features one or several particularities in a few domains, such as birth rate, military superiority and research. A brief description is given for each race that resume its advantages or disadvantages. The other parameters that will heavily influence the game are the difficulty and the size of the map. A small map will automatically put you in a situation where you will most likely have to share resources with your enemy, and confrontation will be almost immediate from the beginning. On the contrary, choosing a large map will leave you alone for a certain time before you spot any enemy presence. It only depends on how much time you want to spend in the game, from one hour or less for a small map to several hours for the larger one. Note that at any time you can save your game, so it doesn't really matter how much time you have left when you play with Enemy Nations, you can always load a previous game.
This won't be exactly the same in a multiplayer game, although it is still possible to save in a multiplayer session. But having all other players again at the same time might not always be easy. Here, the map size selection will definitely mark how much time you want to play with your friends. A great deal of work has been done to ensure players who rave for multiplayer games will be able to play no matter what type of connection they choose. Whatsoever you prefer, LAN, Internet, Modem or Serial, Enemy Nations can handle it, with no limits for the number of players (tested up to 20).
No doubts that the developers at Windward Studios have a winner with Enemy Nations. Let's hope that their publisher (Head Games Publishing) will do justice to their well crafted game. Enemy Nations has a great potential that you will be eager to explore. The adaptive and unpredictable artificial intelligence of the game will assure you a great challenge, enhanced by the intuitive interface and the spectacular graphics of the game.
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Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom, Emperor: Battle for Dune, Enemy Infestation, Dune 2000, East Front 2, Empire Earth, Empire Earth II
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