For a game that seems to rely on flashy graphics and explosive arcade battle fireworks for its appeal, Ultrabots is a surprisingly intense and complex strategy game above all else. Even though each of the three Ultrabots units can be ordered to carry out built in command routines, you still have a wide range of tactical decisions and monitoring requirements to keep you hopping from unit to unit and place to place. There is a great deal of action going on at any given time on the various battlefields and your job is to make sure it's coordinated and supported by appropriate units. Control of action is somewhat reminiscent of NovaLogic's Space Hulk but in completely different surroundings.
As commander, you sit in a cozy little Situation Room back at basecamp and direct your three types of robotic troops through the instantaneous medium of a control panel on each unit. The Ultrabots each have very specific purposes and distinct strengths and weaknesses causing constant coordination, especially when units get into trouble. For example, units have limited self-repair facilities while in the field but once those limits have been reached, a somewhat weak battery pack takes over as the unit heads for basecamp for full repairs. Unfortunately, the batteries drain quickly thus requiring a rescue mission that consists of establishing energy nodes (or a network) that provide enough power for the crippled unit to return home.
The main fighting unit is the Humanoid ultrabot that packs a devastating array of weapons, armor and peripheral equipment in its role as alien robot exterminator while the smaller Scout units provide the "eyes" of the operation through reconnaissance missions and sensor equipment. The middle ground is filled by the Scorpion (Net Builder) that, while excruciatingly slow and ponderous, is essential to establishing a relay network of energy nodes to keep the other units charged up while they're out in the field. The Scorpion contains an impressive array of defensive gadgets and technology to allow it to penetrate and survive enemy territory but needs the occasional assistance of the Humanoid ultrabot for protection.
Thirteen missions (basically city locations), each with the simple objective of enemy extermination, serve as the game world in this first-person perspective (from inside an Ultrabot), action-filled game. The Ultrabots interface supports mouse, keyboard and joystick control with the mouse being the most effective. On-screen battle graphics are impressive and the control panels within the units and the training options are well developed. The view windows from the various units are on the small side but the upside is the smooth scrolling graphics and landscapes. The strategy elements of Ultrabots are well designed and provide above average challenges for both novice and expert gamers alike.
Graphics: Cockpit art is well done but doesn't reach out and grab you to the point where you can suspend your belief that you're anywhere other than in front of a computer screen. Battle sequences and explosions are better than average but don't have sufficient depth to render them awesome.
Sound: Fairly intensive sound effects and game enhancing music.
Enjoyment: Keeping track of every single movement of every single ultrabot on the battlefield is difficult, thus making use of the computer controlled routines mandatory in some missions. Dozens of units can be employed at any given time and many of the missions begin with enemy units dangerously close to the area of operations. Mastery of controls must become second nature before full enjoyment of the game can be realized.
Replay Value: Lots of different approaches and multiple strategic plans can be developed for most missions.
An alien vessel had approached earth along an elliptical orbit, at first mistaken for a comet, and launched pods at the surface. These pods disembarked giant alien robots which then carved out a path of destruction, attacking cities and removing life. In desperation, the world unleashed it's nuclear arsenal to stop the robots, in the process adding to the devastation. The broken remains of humanity gathered the pieces of the destroyed robot invaders and learned enough of it's manufacturing and design to copy the designs and build their own. Manufacturing their own armies, they prepare to repel an anticipated invasion that will come with the alien vessel's second pass....
Ultrabots is a single player first person robot simulation game. The player sits in the cockpit of one of the robotic fighter and is able to attack with weapons specific to that model. The player can instantly switch his location between any robot currently in play via a strategy map. There are three different models of these robotic assault machines. The Humanoid model is the main fighting model and average speed, The Scorpion model is slow, has a powerful stinger tail weapon and can lay down or dismantle the power grid. The Scout model is the fastest type but has light weaponry. These robots only operate within a certain proximity of the "power grid" and function only on a limited amount of battery power when leaving it's proximity. The power grid can only be extended through use of the Scorpion robot which should be protected due to it's slow speed and vulnerability. Each damaged robot can be repaired at the player's base after a short delay. Success on each map comes when one side is able to reach the enemy's base and destroy it, halting any further production.
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