Despite the puzzling reticence of the developers to link Strike Squad with the previous title set in the Consortium world of Tegel's Mercenaries, anyone playing it will be absolutely convinced that the game is a sequel. If not a direct sequel, since events do occur ten years after the initial confrontation with the very same insectoid race of K'Kistiks and the obvious fact that the same designers created both games, then at the very least it's a kissing cousin. There have been a few changes made to playing options (two-player mode) and some in-story additions in the area of gear available to your commandos. There are still twenty mercenaries to choose from on any given mission but this time your Strike Squadconsists of only four for any individual sortie instead of six as in the previous game. No direct mission assignments are given ala General Tegel as was the case in Tegel's Mercenaries. You ease into missions based on innuendo and conversations pieced together as you and your band head into the wild space yonder to do battle. In fact, game play in Strike Squad is decidedly non-linear in comparison to the earlier title.
Even with these seemingly cosmetic changes in Strike Squad, the area that needed change most was inexplicably ignored. The interface is still just as awkward and unresponsive at times with one very huge exception. Thankfully, the user now has the welcome option to play either real-time as before or change to a turn-based mode. Playing in turn-based mode exacts its price on game play in relation to the pace of the action but the tradeoff in being able to know exactly what your troops are doing and controlling their actions should please most gamers. Since the designers went to the trouble to include a two player mode in Strike Squad, it's surprising they didn't allow for modem play. The setup now for two players is nearly an impossibility because one person uses the mouse while the other must labor over the keyboard. In this mode, adding joystick capability would have been the only saving grace, but as it stands the split screen of two player mode requires close proximity of the two players and the awkward mix of keyboard and mouse just doesn't get the job done. The overall premise of Strike Squad is a bit on the questionable side when you suddenly realize that what you and your band of mercenaries are really going after is High Commander of the K'Kistiks. You must pursue the High Commander in the thin hope that eliminating him (it?) will end the heretofore well coordinated frightful advance of the bad guys. Not likely, but you do what you can I suppose. The manual does give a nice rundown of the twenty mercenaries you can choose from for each mission. Missions, instead of being starkly separate as in Tegel's Mercenaries, do have a tendency to develop nicely from one to the next in a quasi-adventuring style.
Graphics: Improved. The use of 3-D like backgrounds viewed from an angled top-down perspective is effective and makes the game look considerably better than its predecessor.
Sound: Average. Nothing special.
Enjoyment: Had two player modem capability been added the enjoyment factor could have gone through the roof. However, because of the limitations playing same (split) screen, it's best to go solo against the computer for most comfortable game play. Of note is the increased number of races, equipment and weapons available in the game over those found in Tegel's Mercenaries. The storyline (final solution notwithstanding) and the way it plays out with user choices in determining long range missions makes the game more interesting and holds together in a significantly better way than the disjointed missions of the previous title.
Replay Value: Even with the twenty mercs to choose from, under the more developed storyline missions end about the same every time played. Not much to recommend replay here.
Strike Squad is a squad-based tactical strategy game, much like the later X-Com from Microprose. Strike Squad is the sequel to Mindcraft's Tegel's Mercenaries.
The Consortum is falling prey to an alien race of insects, called K'Kistiks, that move from planet to planet and dry their resources. One last planet, Berok, remains for the Consortum resistence, and its distress beacons have been dispatched to call for aid, in the attempt to gather mercenaries from around the universe toward their cause. Your character in the game, in turn, is a successful mercenary commander, that is after personnal revenge against the K'Kistiks, for having destroyed your home planet Bao and killed your loved ones.
Choose your mercenaries, that rate very differently in a variety of skills (from shooting to medical), and battle your enemies in either real-time or turn-based.
The game features some management elements also, and you get to purchase weapons and tools from dealers.
Also, the game features a 2-player, split-screen mode, and the players can either play as allies or enemies.
Mindcraft's last game and follow-up to the horrendous Tegel's Mercenaries boasts many improvements over its predecessor, best of which is the thankfully halfway competent AI that is now capable of halting your advances. Control a team of mercenaries in tactical combats (your pick of either real-time or turn-based). Overall, an introductory-level X-COM wannabe that could benefit from brighter AI, more varied missions, and a better interface.
People who downloaded Strike Squad have also downloaded:
Sudden Strike: Resource War, Stratosphere: Conquest of the Skies, Steel Soldiers (a.k.a. Z: Steel Soldiers), Sudden Strike 2, Steel Panthers 2: Modern Battles, Tegel's Mercenaries, Steel Panthers 3: Brigade Command (1939-1999), Stronghold: Crusader
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