Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds
Windows - 1998
Description of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds Windows
The chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one
War of the Worlds has quite a history in the various media. It's been the original book, a radio broadcast which scared the hell out of America, a film, a musical, a recent TV series that is best ignored and now a PC game. For those of you who don't know, the story is simple enough; in the late nineteenth century Martians decide they can't survive on Mars anymore, so they decide to invade Earth. They choose Britain as their primary target, because of its economic and military significance. The game is actually based on the Jeff Wayne musical, rather than solely on the HG Wells book. This has some bonuses, most notably in the quality of the music. Once Wayne's soundtrack blasts out in the opening video, you're in familiar territory.
You can choose one of two campaigns, the human or the Martian. The objective of each is to destroy your enemy's main base. The game is split into two modes. The war map, from which you can view resource levels, troop movements and factory output, is a rather nice map of Britain. The battle map has beautifully rendered landscapes upon which you can build factories, defences, facilities etc and attempt to shoot the hell out of the enemy. Changing between the two levels is a bit slow for my liking, although I don't have the fastest CD-ROM drive around, which may be the reason. Since you have to change modes to build stuff, that slowness can get a bit irritating.
Holding the line
Whichever side you're playing, the Martians take Scotland very quickly and the game then becomes focused on a frontline around Northumberland. It gets to the stage where both sides have fortified sectors on the border and are performing hit and run attacks on the other side's bases. The key being that when a main base is destroyed the sector automatically loses all its defences and facilities, as well as the ability to attack from that sector. A problem with this is that the border usually consists of three sectors, not really leaving much option for where attacks are likely to come from. This partly comes from the number of sectors on the map, but also I think from the choice of only using Britain as a setting. A world or European map might have offered more possibilities. Anyway, once this border is set up the fight is for who can make the most powerful machines or destruction and get them into combat fastest.
Resource management is the key, as always, to the game. Each side has three resources; there's Steel, Oil and Coal for humans, whereas the Martians require Copper, Heavy Elements and Human blood. Your machines build facilities to mine these resources in territories you control. You can only build in, and attack from, a sector where you have a communications base. Which makes these facilities a high priority, though luckily you get a few to start with.
One thing I was originally concerned about was whether the game would be imbalanced in favour of the Martians. Luckily this is not the case, and the game is actually very well balanced, while still giving the impression that the Martian vehicles are much more powerful than the humans. This works mainly because the Martian vehicles take longer to build and so are less numerous than the human ones. A Martian heat ray can fry a lorry in a shot or two, but when a Martian unit has twenty lorries to deal with, then some damage is bound to be done.
The AI is for the most part good. I often found the computer exploiting my weak points or attacking one sector. If I moved troops there, it would react and attack another sector instead. Unfortunately the AI didn't seem to make it to the pathfinding of the individual units, who occasionally wander blindly across the landscape into their own base's defences, like the wire walls, and blow themselves up!
There are two main problems with War of the Worlds. The first is that the game occasionally crashes when entering the battle map (and is slow changing modes when it does work). The second is that when you have a great number of vehicles on screen the game slows down quite a bit, even in low-res modes. This can make major offensives against well-defended areas far too slow. There is also only one difficulty level, so if you find the game too hard or too easy there's little you can do about it. Once you've completed the two campaigns there's not much incentive to try it again.
Overall War of the Worlds is a good game. It has a nice combination of strategic and tactical play. It's enjoyable, but is let down by the game speed in mass combats and the lack of replay value. It's worth checking out if you're looking for a game which is a bit different or if you're a fan of HG Wells or the Jeff Wayne musical.
Review By GamesDomain
How to play Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds Windows
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Comments and reviews
SuperNova10 2020-04-22 1 point
still got the jewel case... but lost both the CDs to the game :(
excellent game tho will be one of my first to play on my retro 98 PC :)
Paul 2020-03-18 0 point
I have been playing this game off and on, since it came out in 1998. I bought it for full price, and have never regretted it. I have always loved the musical by Jeff Wayne, so when I saw this in the store, I had to have it. I only played the Martian side once, because it just felt WRONG to play as them against us. I always try to get tanks and long range howitzers as fast as possible. Great game, and great music.
Bendy_Demon177 2020-03-15 0 point
This game looked so awesome when I saw it, And now i'm FINALLY DOWNLOADING a 1998 GAME!
Danhobs 2019-09-13 12 points
hi i downloaded the rip and when i load the game up it asked me for the human cd what do i do thanks.
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