Description of Full Metal Planet
One of the most underrated sci-fi strategy games ever made, Full Metal Planete is a wonderful hex-based games that successfully bridges the gap between serious wargames (e.g. Reach for The Stars) and light-weight strategy games (e.g. Nuclear War). More importantly, FMP makes the genre appealing years before Blue Byte's better-known, and shallower Battle Isle.
The game starts out like any other 4X galactic conquest games. You and your opponents' goal is to mine as much metal from a planetoid as you can, within a 24-turn limit. In practice though, this is best achieved by annihilating the opposition with the range of combat craft in your possession in order to seize their production. Your army includes tanks, super tanks, and attack boats, as well as support vehicles such as barges and crabs (futuristic carriers). The hex overlay is optional, but useful in gauging where your units are.
Gameplay is turn-based, with a novel twist: FMP allows you to fully transfer movement points, so you could use all your movement points on one or two vehicles for a blitz, instead of moving every unit inch by inch. Attacking requires at least 2 armed vehicles to be in range of your target, and all areas that are in range of those attacking vehicles may not be entered by the enemy on his turn unless they use of the "second arrival" maneuver. This allows you to enter a protected zone if your next move is sure to destroy the vehicles that are protecting it. It sounds complex, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be busy formulating some grand strategy that will annihilate enemy units in one move.
These chess-like rules are what make FMP a lot more fun than light wargames, without being overbearing. On the surface, fans of Battle Isle may scoff at FMP: it has much fewer unit types, and the goal of collecting some mundane metal may sound boring. Make no mistake, though: FMP has one of the best combat module I've ever seen in a strategy game. It requires thought, planning, seizing opportunities, and working quickly under pressure. There is almost no luck or randomness involved in your victory, so you can take all the credit or blame, and the computer does not cheat.
If you like chess or hex-based wargames but wish for a more accessible experience, FMP is an elegant solution, and a must-have. Two thumbs up!
Review By HOTUD
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