by Ian Mobley
Do you like strategy games that will really get you thinking? I’ve been playing a great one! It is named EARTH 2140. This challenging game takes place in a bleak future where humans depend on robots for their survival. It has over 50 missions to keep your mind busy. This game is rated T for Teen by the ESRB no doubt due to the violent story.
Many years in the future there have been numerous wars and bio-weapons have destroyed the earth. It is so hazardous that humans live underground and send robots and androids to the surface to collect materials that they need to survive. But now the resources are running out and the two large forces of the world are fighting to get the last of them. there are two major powers. The United Civilized States (UCS) control the Americas and Western Europe. The Eurasian Dynasty (ED) control the rest of Europe and all of Asia. Southern Africa and Australia have been so polluted that not even robots can go there (therefore being taken off of all maps). To play the game you choose a side and lead your army to victory!
Installation is easy and there are lots of short films throughout the game to help you play. Once you chose whether to be the ED of UCS you decide if you want to play it easy, medium, or hard. I suggest easy because easy is pretty darn hard if you ask me. You then go to a map of the world and by mousing over the map it will reveal where your game will begin. You can modify options such as sound and music. The database allows you to preview all the buildings, soldiers, and tanks (or giant chicken walkers) of both sides. the UCS soldiers look like the Terminator!
You receive your mission briefing and in the beginning it’s pretty simple, but within about five missions it gets challenging. To move your units simply click on the desired unit once or drag over an area that has several units to select them all then click on the place you want them to go. To attack click on the enemy and your units will move forward and attack. You can build troops at the BioCenter or Robot Construction Center. Giant tanks can be transformed into buildings which then create more robots. A “General Offense” sends your troops off on an uncontrollable rampage against all your enemies, attacking anything that gets in the way. Keep an eye out for the enemy. Your defense towers might accidentally shoot a missile at your own base.
As you progress along you get new weapons and buildings. After some time you will return to the same map as at the beginning but you now have the opportunity to chose different places. Each location has a little movie at the beginning and right away you get a new machine or two. As you get more advanced the UCS army can acquire buildings that shoot deadly long range plasma blasts. The ED gets nuclear missile silos, but they can only be used once. The cursor will turn a different color when these advanced weapon are available.
If all of your buildings are destroyed or captured you have failed the mission and have to try again. If you destroy something you weren’t supposed to destroy you also fail. If you’re successful you get another mission. I don’t know how the game ends because I haven’t gotten there and I’ve played for at least 20 hours!
One strategy that I have found is to create a place (such as an island for hovercrafts) to use as a base of operations. After you've cleared the area of the enemy and set up a wall of defense, you can launch your attacks from that spot in relative safety. In addition, you can destroy any approaching enemy thus protecting your troops. Your base is most effective if it's set up near an ore field because you need a mine to get raw materials which you can sell for cash to fund your operation. One never-fail strategy that I have found is the use of scouting missions. Use a cheap but fast unit for this job, not a giant, heavily armed machine. By doing some scouting you can figure out where the mine fields are and where you should set up base. It's also a good way to find the enemy. There are other techniques of attack that help but you'll just have to find out for yourself.
Overall I found this game challenging and fun. I have played similar games such as Red Alert 2 and the Command and Conquer series and I think this game is their equal. the graphics are good and the characters are cool. It is a great way to spend a Saturday where you have nothing to do.
System Note: Playing the game on an OSX machine in Classic mode screwed up the user account making it impossible for me to log out without multiple hard restarts. I set it up on an iMac running System 9 and it worked fine, although it seemed slow compared to the other computer. By e.p.i.c. Interactive Entertainment