Laser Squad is by the same designer as Microprose's classic X-Com: UFO Defense. It brings to the table an immersive gameplay environment as well as many innovative ideas that weren't available in any other game of the time.
In Laser Squad you control a group of "marine"-like soldiers (and the occasional cyborg). Before taking them into battle, you must buy them weapons and armour with a predetermined amount of credits, taking into account the individual abilities of your squad. Unlike X-COM, the soldiers do not gain experience over time.
There are 3 missions in turn - in The Assassins you must face down Sterner Regnix and his guards, Moonbase assault challenges you to destroy the OmniCorp database, and Rescue From the Mines eschews violence in favour of a rescue mission. These are viewed from above and progress in turns. Laser Squad also features a 2-player "hotseat"-type gaming option.
Ancestor worship is going out of fashion, but back in the good old days all you needed for a religion was to stuff your dead relatives' graves full of tat in the hope that they'd put a good word in for you on the other side. If you're a fan of X-Com or Jagged Alliance, though, it's time to pay your respects, because Laser Squad is the game that really started it all. Programmed by software god Julian Gollop, Laser Squad is a tactical turn-based strategy game featuring only a handful of missions but huge replay value.
Despite rather basic graphics, Laser Squad has a lot of style, from the units (the names Sterner Regnix and Android Barker are forever etched in my memory) to the equipment available and the battle locations. Like most turn-based strategy games, Laser Squad allows your soldiers to use opportunity fire during the enemy's turn, though it is more costly in terms of action points than in other titles in the genre. You'll also find different firing modes, a nice selection of equipment, and a clever implementation of psychology. Troops can panic or go berserk and start firing madly all around them. This can be bad news if that trooper happens to be the one holding your heavy weapon! I especially liked messing around with timed grenades, explosives, and even lightsabres. Yes, you read that right; on top of all this gaming goodness you can outfit your troops with lightsabres and turn them into lethal hand-to-hand combatants. Choosing armour and equipment is a nice feature that gives you plenty of ways to approach the missions.
As a bonus, you can play this game in hotseat mode, and if your friend doesn't mind looking away while you take your turn, this can be highly entertaining. I'm giving this game a 4, not just because I loved it when it first came out, but because it's still a whole lot of fun. Special mention must go to the AI, which puts up a good fight and isn't easily fooled into doing stupid things. That isn't to say it's flawless, but it plays like an intelligent human, which is pretty rare in any kind of game, strategy or otherwise.
If you enjoy turn-based strategy, then you are sure to enjoy this. My only real criticism is that it could have been easily made into much more. Where, for instance, is the map editor and unit editor? Fans could have had many hours of fun creating and swapping missions. Had Mythos included one and a few extra missions, I would have had no choice but to bump this up to 5 out of 5.
Incidentally, if you like Laser Squad, then you could do a lot worse than check out Laser Squad Nemesis, a play-by-email game that is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, at $60 a year (!) it's not especially cheap, though there is a playable demo to download and try out before you buy. It's a shame they don't just offer the option to buy it outright, as many fans have been requesting. It has a highly active community, though, and if you're going to make offerings to any deity, I'd say Julian is as good a pick
Long before any of the X-Com games was made, Krisalis created Laser squad - turn based, squad strategy game (it was made for C-64 and Spectrum computers, and later for PCs). Equip Your soldiers with guns, ammo, explosives, medical kits... and complete the mission. There are many things You can do with Your soldiers such as ducking, aim shots, auto shots, planting explosives and many, many other things. What I really like is that once You kill an enemy You can search the body and get his equipment, but if You kill him with explosives or rocket launcher it's impossible to search him. These little things make the game more realistic and fun to play.
A relatively unnoticed game at the time of its release that suddenly became heavily sought after after the phenomenal success of its successor X-COM, Julian Gollop demonstrated his knack for deep and addictive strategy games in this early PC release. Control a squad of futuristic soldiers in 5 large missions. X-COM veterans will be right at home with this one, as it is obvious how the gameplay would later evolve into a classic that rocketed Julian and his company Mythos to fame and fortune.
Curiously enough, Laser Squad also features a great 2-player option that is missing in X-COM games-- co-operating with your friend to win a scenario is much more fun than letting the AI handle it.
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