Star Command: Revolution
DOS - 1997
Also available on: Windows
Description of Star Command: Revolution
Star Command Revolution is a fun and highly underrated real-time strategy game with some interesting ideas, most notably the addition of shoot 'em up gameplay into the strategy mix.
The thorough review at Games Domain does a good job of explaining the pros and cons: "The game is set in a star system contended by four races - the Computrons, Nomads, Triumverites and Terrans all fight for control of the precious material called solinite, a material which is in limited supply. Gathering solinite is vital for shipbuilding, but also each race has another unique material needed to build its own ships, so harvesting your "own" resource can be just as important as denying an enemy access to theirs. So rather than both sides collecting the same resource, there's a little variety and some challenge in hunting out and collecting what you need. More so when the only ship capable of harvesting is your mothership, and if you lose that, the game is as good as over. Star Command Revolution has two modes of play. In standalone battles, players each control a force and scrap to the death, with a mix of up to three other computer or human opponents. In these battles players can choose their starting race and are plopped down into one of 10 battle maps, either of their own choosing or randomly supplied. The AI has 3 ability levels, the best of which is certainly quite competent. These battles have limited resources, so games tend to be over quite quickly - I've had games range from 5 to 30 minutes, beyond that I would guess is quite rare. So it's no problem that you can't save multiplayer games. In campaign mode one (or two) players travel between sectors in a quest to destroy four dreadnaughts and the evil Warlord Narvek. The multiplayer campaign means two players can team up to fight the bad guys, which is an interesting idea. They do, however, have to argue over who grabs which resources. The campaign is fought over some 30-40 maps which you can visit non-linearly - each sector has green hyperspace exits and these take you from your current sector to a new one, where you can view the galaxy map to check your progress. Completing a sector gives you a new ability, like level 4 Nomad ships, disabled enemy gun platforms, or larger material deposits. Defeating a dreadnaught has extra benefits, allowing your mothership to regenerate damage. While there are 64 different ship and "building" types present in [the game], only a handful are available to you at the start of a battle or campaign. The startup ships available are your mothership (which builds new buildings as well as harvesting), a space station (which builds new ships if you have the materials), a research building and a scout ship. To learn new ship and building types you need to leave your mothership adjacent to the research building, but while you're doing this you can't harvest resources unless they're very nearby as the mothership's cute little gathering droid only has a short range. Success is down to using good combinations of ships. If you can deploy multiple race fleets then fighter bases escorted by Shield DOCs and Point Lasers can be deadly, if they can travel to where you want; some maps have narrow passages to stop the large fighter carriers passing through. Each carrier has three fighters which can fly off to do damage to enemies at quite long range. They thus also make good defences for your main base and mothership. The variety in ships is enough to make you need different unit types deployed in combination to do well; no one unit is a killer unit, each has a weakness against something. Star Command Revolution is a unique blend of shoot-em-up action and strategy. As such, it has a refreshing feel to it. There's plenty of ship types to play with, and lots of variety to the action, which itself is smooth and very fast-paced. Bullets, rockets, lasers and other weaponry blazes across the screen at breathtaking speed. Battle is not for the feint-hearted. There are a few downsides, notably the single save slot in campaigns, the mysteriously vanishing solinite debris, and the lack of a scrolling speed adjustment. There's plenty of gameplay in the long campaign, though the enemy AI isn't a threat by intelligence but more so by volume. Thus the campaign tends to become more of a chore than an engrossing affair - perhaps GT Interactive needed to work more on the campaign AI to keep it up with the high presentation standard. The long campaign is also broken for 2-player to all intents and purposes because the reload option simply doesn't work. But in one-off battles, particularly multiplayer, the action is quick and ruthless, with games being pleasantly short to complete. Star Command Revolution isn't just a clone game, it has enough novelty in style and presentation to warrant a close look." Highly recommended!
Review By HOTUD
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