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Earth 2150 By John "Award" Del Percio, Sept 12, 2000
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Developer :TopWare
Publisher :SSI/Mattel
Release Date :June
Demo Available : Yes - Download
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

The Grim Future

As though knowing the planet is doomed isn't bad enough, there's one other tiny little catch. The governments of the two major empires still can't manage to get along with eachother, and in the last few months of existence, insist on waging war against each other. Each empire has it's own specialties and drawbacks. That in itself is a first for an RTS. While StarCraft and the like had three species that were entirely different, they seemed to have a unit that was nearly identical to a unit on the other side. In Earth2150, you'll notice a difference immediately. The Lunar Corporation is perhaps one of the most unusual humanoid species in a strategy game I have seen. They have three major advantages over everyone else. They have hovertanks. That means that all of their vehicles can go over water, and climb mountains with ease. They also believe in efficiency. Instead of unit harvesting units like the UCS, or the two buildings, plus transports of the ED, their mines are combined onto their refinery's making them a single automatic building. They also don't need construction units, or separate buildings for military and civilian vehicles. They construct everything in orbit and drop it down as they need them. So you can build anywhere, any time. Nothing like the joy of dropping down a guard tower in the middle of an enemy base, without warning. Obviously, they are the ones with the high-tech space theme.

Floating the buildings in
A scout recons the plateau
Venturing into the darkness
Transport stands ready in LC Main Base

Overpowered you say? Hardly, they have many distinct advantages, but are far weaker than the others. The UCS has "Mech" type units, as well as rather well armored air vehicles. Poor old Europe (sorry, Rage) managed to go a bit backwards in the future, still using helicopters and tanks, while everyone else has anti-grav technology. This is the part of the game that still manages to confuse me. While it doesn't affect the game much at all, it simply appears odd that there are a fleet of Panzers that manage to wipe out my patrol of anti-grav tanks with energy weapons! Seems a bit off to me.

Aside from the units themselves, the balance is fairly good. Each side has very little beyond resources that they share in common. Everything is different, yet well balanced. While it, unfortunately, doesn't have the hundreds of units that TA had, you'll have one nice feature to offset that. You build your own units. Yes, that's right, you pick the chassis, the weapons, everything. You can make some rather interesting units using that philosophy.

Skirmish in the plains
Underground warfare
A UCS base steams in the morning dew
The mission selector screen

Given all these perks of the game, it is rather unfortunate that they chose the resource model that they did. The energy resource is rather nice. UCS and ED have reactors and power plants, while the LC must rely on solar power and batteries Everything you build must lay inside the power grid, otherwise your buildings will not receive power, a rather realistic touch. The raw materials, on the other hand, did not turn out so well. They chose a StarCraft style model of only so many resources per mineral deposit. You spend all that money to build mines, only for them to become useless in little time.

The game does truly focus on reality, though. It has, by far, the most realistic seasonal and weather patters of any game I've seen. It actually has a clock in the game as for what time of day it is. The weather patterns will come for realistic lengths of time, as will night time. The sun slowly fades out as it should in real life for the given season and (my favorite feature of the game) the lights come on on your buildings and units. Yes, that's right, there are lights. My only suggestion is that they should have also made a "light tower" unit, as some spots can get dark at times.

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