Each new RTS war game seems to try and top prior models in graphics and 3D realism. Mayday: Conflict Earth reverses the trend with nearly cartoon-like graphics, small resolution, and gameplay that predates the Command & Conquer series. World War III has broken out and you must choose to support one of three factions, each with a few different sounds and units. Unfortunately, the missions are practically identical since there is only one objective -- kill. Later on in the game, you get better units given to you slowly over time, without any research on your part.
Units appear almost plastic in nature, but all serve the same purpose, namely, crushing the enemy. Video briefings are different, but the actual fighting and units are the same for each faction. The focus is on defense and offense, not earning money for refining minerals or construction. In fact, buildings have a sort of revolving door policy; any type of unit, yours or the enemy, can occupy them only to be rousted immediately. This frustration is similar to the issue in Command & Conquer, with the exception that only engineers could do so in that game.
Though not technically advanced, Mayday: Conflict Earth can prove more difficult than similar RTS games because scenarios require more planning than full-out attack. For example, in the second United Continent of America mission, you're given a small fleet of troops to take over a base in the sector. The base has a war factory and more troops, and the only exit is via two narrow bridges which you can't destroy because you're outnumbered. The best strategic approach is to send units to both bridges and attack from both sides. The problem stems from the fact that you must repair vehicles manually during the heat of battle by clicking on the repair vehicle, then the unit to be fixed. This operation was automatic in Command & Conquer.
Regardless of which faction you choose, enemies start to attack very quickly right from the start of the game, so you have to move fast. It's not particularly difficult, but manufacturing units and preparing for battle as soon as any mission begins is mandatory. In some missions, no manufacturing is allowed unless you overrun an enemy facility, which results in access to only a limited number of units.
For some gamers, these features may offer more difficulty and a relief from the mineral-mining, unit-producing madness of other RTS games. Chances are, though, that most will simply be frustrated by the difficulty imposed at the expense of variety and development. The storyline isn't solid enough to justify the simple level objectives. Commanders of all factions say predictable things about destroying the enemy and show sign of illogical hatred during debriefs.
Mayday: Conflict Earth is a very simple game, with a tired story that's been done countless times before. Even games like Machines, with its non-existent storyline, have astounding unit options that allow for creation of units of mass destruction as you progress. Missions last for hours, simply because you can move your building units anywhere and continue producing even when surrounded. In contrast, Mayday: Conflict Earth missions are over before you can blink, and frankly, they're not much fun.
Graphics: Units look like poorly drawn cartoon characters at the lowest resolution, and are too small at the highest resolution. For an RTS game released on the eve of the 21st century, graphics are surprisingly weak.
Sound: The generic techno music, typical gun-blasting and minor explosion effects are totally forgettable.
Enjoyment: Without the ability to develop your army in any of the missions, gameplay is uninspired. No research is available for new units. Additionally, some missions offer only a small number of troops, which makes the task more difficult than it needs to be. The lack of a solid storyline hurts.
Replay Value: With three factions, replay is feasible but each group is too similar to the other two. Multiplayer allows for up to four players over the Internet.
People who downloaded Mayday: Conflict Earth have also downloaded:
MechCommander 2, MechCommander Gold, Man of War II: Chains of Command, No Man's Land, Medieval Lords: Build, Defend, Expand, Lords of the Realm III, Master of Orion 3, Medieval Conquest
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