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

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

You Mean The World Really is Continuous?

Unlike nearly every other strategy game out there, where you complete a mission, and load the next one in the campaign, Earth 2150 takes an entirely new, and far more realistic, approach to a campaign. Your home base is always accessable. There you can do all your research, build all your units, and store money. Generally, your main goal is to get enough money to the spaceport to build the evacuation ship and get away from Earth as it hurdles toward the Sun. Therefore, all your missions focus, not on "kill the enemies", "raid the base", "take control of the region", but "get as many resources as possible", and "escort the resource convoy". Not that you don't have your fair share of taking out enemies in the way, or destroying a specific base that lies in the way of your empire evacuation. Everything you do in a mission, as far as resources and units affects the whole rest of the game. If you spend too many resources, you can't build any more units, and you can't do any more research. If however, you don't spend many and bring them all home, you've earned that much more money to use for the rest of the game. The "transporter" is the unit you use to ferry money and units back and forth between your main base and your mission base. After you select which mission to go into, you can bring your transporter in, drop off some money and units, and keep sending it back for more. The inverse is also true for a quick evacuation of the area, and leaving nothing behind in a base aside from the buildings. Nothing is ever a waste.

Real working headlights
A platoon heads out of the base
Main Base producing units
Search lights on aircraft add to the reality

And, as far as efficiency goes, remember how much you hated deciding between building a defense structure or a production building? No longer. Many of the buildings in Earth 2150 can also be upgraded to sport up to four guns, and a shield module. The models in Earth 2150 are splendid as well. Though the textures could have used a bit more detailing, the models are perfect. It's fun, once again, to see individual turrets moving around, and when a supply ship comes around, to see it extend a connection down to the unit it's supplying. It's fun watching the shadows, and solar collector actually rotate to the right angle that they should be given the Sun's position for that time of day.

Which brings me to the next mention of reality. You don't just send hordes of units firing away as they get slaughtered wave after wave. You normally have a very tight unit limit, allowing you just barely enough to survive. And don't expect them to fire forever. They have ammo limits. You must set up a air supply center, and have your air units go around and re-supply your field units with ammo. That pretty much negates a base charging strategy.

Too bad you can't see the moving water
Remote base site
Rallying after dark
Night Ops

One of the main things of the game that I have neglected to mention thus far, is the fact that it is a 3D RTS. Now, before you go complaining about 3D RTS's, remember one thing. This one's actually good! On occasion, the 3D controls can lead to a bit of confusion, but in general, the 3D engine enhances the game, and the realistic world it creates greatly. Looking at your base from anywhere is a wonderful attribute, and makes it so much more rewarding. Unlike other 3D RTS's, it is not just a gimmick or hindrance. It truly made it just that much more addictive. And, the interface in general is rather well laid out. As best as it can be for the amount of control you have in the game. A map and a main bar with tabs for each individual type of thing in the bottom, statistics at the top, build menus popping in from the sides, and a nice mouse interface for camera movement, it seems a bit more well orchestrated from Homeworld, and other 3D RTS's.

Not only is it a good land based RTS, but it also includes land, air, sea, and something that even TA didn't include. Underground! You can burrow units into the tunnels beneath the map and fight down there. Better yet, you can burrow all the way to your enemies base, build an exit, and flood their base with units before they even realize what's going on. Always fun to flank them as they attack your base (though the inverse is also true.)

Lastly, is the movies included in the game. While the intro movie isn't much to write home about, and even manages to die without running the game afterward many times, the game has a neat in-game movie system. A small window pops up in your display with a "News Update", usually about new research, or the progress of the evacuation ship. It also adds to the reality greatly.

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