The highly popular Command & Conquer real-time strategy experience was valued and commended among the gaming public to an extreme degree. It became so popular, in fact, Westwood Studios released an additional game in the series entitled Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
While the sequel didn't offer much in the way of innovation and was very similar to its predecessors, Earth 2150 uses many of the same ideas introduced in Command & Conquer and does provide innovations in graphics and brings new life to an older format.
Although you'll encounter many of the same Command & Conquer features such as building mines, troops and using harvesters to gather minerals in Earth 2150, the latter introduces a few new and interesting twists. The first is the ability to create underground tunnels. These tunnels can be viewed in an entirely different screen mode and once you've constructed a tunnel entrance, units can travel from place to place unnoticed.
Next, units can be programmed to perform certain functions so you don't have to constantly monitor them and the screen can be divided into thirds to view different areas. For example, if you have a lot of construction to accomplish and many fighter units sitting idle, you can program them to patrol between any two points.
A problem endemic to Command & Conquer is losing troops once you have too many in different areas but Earth 2150 refines the process and gives you the ability to control everything at once with greater ease. You can even divide your units up into different platoons which allows you to select a large group of units all at once simply by clicking on the platoon icon.
In addition, each unit can be programmed to perform multiple tasks allowing you to create multiple buildings or travel to several different areas; you can even order a unit to retreat if they sustain a certain amount of damage. Earth 2150 gives you much more control over the battlefield in comparison to other games such as those in the Command & Conquer series.
Another feature is the ability to transfer troops from your main base. When you begin a new mission, you have few troops and a building unit to create factories. You always have the option of building a landing zone in each new mission (sometimes it's already built) and can then transport up to ten units from your main base at the same time.
Often, you can focus on the other aspects of the mission more clearly if you can create more troops at the home base without building a weapons factory on the site of the new mission. This is a transition you will have to master to be successful because you're constantly switching from your home base to your current mission.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to gather enough minerals and materials together to build transports so you can escape Earth's demise. In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, you can only choose between two factions that function in the exact same manner while in Earth 2150 all three factions have distinct technologies.
The only faction that uses a harvesting technique similar to that in Command & Conquer is the United Civilized States (UCS). Harvesting for UCS works the same way as the NOD or GDI groups do in C&C -- the unit travels to the ore field, extracts the materials and transports them back to the refinery.
For the other two factions in Earth 2150, the minerals are collected by two different methods. The Lunar Corporation (LC) utilizes a fully automated Ore Extraction technology so transport of the minerals is unnecessary. The Eurasian Dynasty (ED) has ore extraction facilities you must first build; you need a refinery and a Taiga unit to transport the minerals to the refinery.
Along with the unique methods of mining ore, each faction has unique units and, therefore, a completely different strategy. Due to the differences of all three groups, Earth 2150 offers much in the way of variety in gameplay. While the graphical environment and overall image of the game doesn't yield as much, it's very memorable.
The 3D rotation is very smooth and easy to control yet the environment can be rather murky due to fog and cloud cover. At times, you can only zoom a certain distance away from the ground because you lose sight of troops due to the weather. The overall game image is very dark and is a reflection of the condition of Earth. While it provides some realism in the game, if you're looking for sparkling and shiny graphics, look elsewhere.
Fans of RTS games should be aware that Earth 2150 has many of the same functional attributes as most games in the genre. It is unique in its own right but, for the most part, it's not breaking ground. The storyline and special features create a new image for an old format.
It's just as fun and addictive as any of the high profile RTS games on the market (at the time of release). If you're new to the RTS experience, Earth 2150 has a leg up on many of the older games of the genre.
Graphics: Graphically, the game is stunning. The beginning movie looks fantastically realistic for being computer animated and the headlights for all the vehicles are crystal clear. The units and buildings look more blocky than games such as Command & Conquer but the 3D presentation makes up for it. Lasers are sharply colorful and weather effects, such as snow, are very well done. When it snows it doesn't just fall straight down, it travels back and forth to follow wind patterns.
Sound: Earth 2150 mimics other RTS games in this area. When you click on units they have independent voices and you'll be updated by news bulletins that sound like they're straight out of the 20th century (except the subject matter is very different).
Enjoyment: The game is every bit as fun as Command & Conquer. The missions are all segments of one large and ultimate campaign and this adds to the game quite a bit (rather than all missions being completely independent). The automation and programming features make controlling troops easier and allows you to track all of the action more fully.
Replay Value: Multiplayer battles can be fought over the Internet increasing long-term interest in the game. Plus, scenarios and skirmishes can be played after you've defeated the campaign mode. Like all RTS games, if you enjoy the image, the game will live on for quite a while.
People who downloaded Earth 2150: Escape from the Blue Planet have also downloaded:
Earth 2150: The Moon Project, Earth 2150: Lost Souls, Earth 2160, Earth 2140, Empire Earth, Dune 2000, Empire Earth II, Dark Reign 2
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