MicroProse' This Means War! is set in a struggling near-future world that has been thrown into chaos by a virus in a computer game. Without electronic communications and technology, the best-developed countries must rebuild from scratch and the planet is suddenly anyone's to conquer. This conventional 2D real-time strategy challenges players with a series of increasingly complicated missions, each of which must be successfully complete to move on to the next. Units and buildings are selected with a mouse click, which then opens a context-specific menu of possible orders and instructions. Units can also be grouped into squads for easier control and more effective attacks.
In "This Means War", the world has plunged into chaos after a worldwide economic crisis and a global computer network crash-down. Several armed groups formed imposing their law with blood throughout the world. As a soldier of the FWA forces (Free World Alliance), your mission is to prevent the enemies from expanding their territories and to eliminate the threat that they represent.
This strategy game from MicroProse takes the genre by storm, changing the 2D standard battlefield view into a 3D isometric view a la Sim City 2000. Imagine for an instant what it can be to have an army with soldiers and vehicles marching into a city where the zoom level allows you to see every single unit. You will admit yourself that it is quite simply fantastic. That's what I thought when I first heard about the game several months ago, and you can easily imagine how eager I was to test it.
As mentioned above, your role will be to lead your troops in combat against the enemy forces. You have five opponents to deal with throughout the game. The first, Crocodile Ghandi, is a leader of an Australian-based Church of Universal Siblinghood. His plans to invade South America will force you to a counter-attack as his territories become too close to your boundaries. The other leaders are Mondo Khan in Asia, Napolienne in Western Europe, Sheik Omar in Africa and the Middle East, and Shadowhawk. Shadowhawk is known for being the creator of the virus that completely wiped out the computer's network. No one has ever seen him or her, reinforcing the idea of a myth with its hold of rumors.
Each of your opponents have different tactics as you will discover later in the game. Crocodile Ghandi is said to rely on strong defenses while Mondo Khan, like his ancestors, leads an army that sweeps everything away in its path but features a low-level technology. As always, you must use your enemy's weakness to turn it into an advantage for you.
"This Means War" is divided into missions in which the goal is to expand your own territories. Major Cassandra Clarke will give you the orders in the briefing just before entering the mission and will tell you about your enemies progression. A geopolitical map will then be displayed with several colored areas, each nation being represented by one specific color.
The main view is composed of a 3D isometric representation of the surrounding terrain. The relief and the vegetation is well reproduced with textured graphics and, unlike Sim City 2000 and Transport Tycoon, the slopes are smooth and realistic. The different structures you can build or start up a mission with range from habitat to industrial and military buildings. There are also specific structures for resources such as mines, oil wells, wind mills, etc. At the beginning of the game, you start with basic buildings needed for housing, food and training. These three elements are essential in the game because if you lack one of them, you might lose the war. Why? Your army needs support, and without population to provide new men and food to feed them, you will be in trouble if you don't correct the situation. The barracks will train the newly recruited soldiers you will send to combat. They will be armed with various vehicles built in the factories. You can produce light vehicles (Battle Bikes, Jeeps, Assault Vehicles, etc...), armored vehicles (Tanks, etc...), hovercrafts, artillery and air vehicles (Fighters, Bombers, Choppers, etc...).
The control of the various units is easy. Click on any unit (soldier or vehicle) then move the pointer to the location you want your unit to go while holding down the mouse button. If you select an enemy unit or enemy building for the destination, your unit will attack them. It is also possible to select several units at a time. If you click the mouse from outside your units and drag over them, you will select them and thus, be able to give them the same order. Groups can also be formed by dragging one unit to another. You can select which formation the group will adopt, which direction they will face, etc... and even choose a leader. If you want to give orders to a specific group, simply select the leader (blinking unit) and give him your orders.
However, unless you turn the game's speed to fast or maximum, you will believe your units move like turtles and react too slowly. What made me crazy was the delay between the time I gave an order and the time it was executed. The only solution I had was to increase the game's speed with the result of being attacked faster!
Overall, "This Means War" is a good strategy game and you will appreciate its nice graphics, the CD soundtrack and the various missions.
A post-apocalyptic real-time strategy game set in a world where a virus has destroyed nearly all computer technology and armies fight over the land and the technology on it. You work for the UN as its primary strategist and encounter such enemies as a religious nut, a Crocodile Dundee rip-off, and a spoiled countess.
People who downloaded This Means War! have also downloaded:
Theocracy, Three Kingdoms: Fate of the Dragon, Theme Hospital, Tribal Rage, Third Reich, Warlords 4: Heroes of Etheria, Transarctica: Arctic Baron, Total Control
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