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USS Ticonderoga: Life and Death on the High Seas

DOS - 1995

Alt names USS Ticonderoga: Verteidiger der Freiheit, USS Ticonderoga: Defender of Liberty
Year 1995
Platform DOS
Released in United Kingdom, Germany, United States
Genre Simulation
Theme Naval
Publisher Mindscape, Inc.
Developer Intelligent Games Ltd
4.33 / 5 - 3 votes

Description of USS Ticonderoga: Life and Death on the High Seas

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Life and Death on the High Seas

Mindscape's USS Ticonderoga lets you command a mighty Ticonderoga-class missle cruiser in this exciting real-time naval combat simulation. Beautiful to look at, thrilling to play and filled with multimedia bonuses, this game is worth a serious look, if you can put aside a few quirks in game play and handle the hardware requirements.

See the World

The Ticonderoga class cruiser is one of the most powerful ships in the US Navy. Featuring the Aegis battle management system and a full compliment of the latest in high-tech weaponry, this ship is fully prepared for battle in nearly any situation. USS Ticonderoga lets you select any of three theatres of operation: the Persian Gulf, the North Atlantic or the Sea of Japan. The conflict in each theatre is based upon a theoretical future (in the Gulf, for example, Iran has defeated Iraq to emerge as a regional power; the US Navy has been called in to protect shipping and other vital interests). You will need to use all of your ship's resources to try to keep the peace (and stay alive in the process).

Off to War

 Each mission is prefaced by a spoken briefing from your commanding officer. Be carfeul, though, because although the mission objectives are pretty clear, you may not get the entire story from the briefing (in one mission, you are required to withdraw your ship from the Persian Gulf, protecting yourself in the process... the briefing does not tell you that you have a time limit to complete the mission, or you fail!). At the conclusion of each mission, your CO debriefs you, and you are given a performance evaluation based on how well you met the mission objectives. Your continued success in the game depends on how well you complete each mission. Fare well, and you can move up!

The Battle Management System

You can control the operation of the ship in two ways: directly or through the "high-level command system." With direct control, you select the platform, target, weapon, and fire the weapon yourself through a system of NTDS-like (Naval Tactical Data System) control screens modeled after those found on the real Ticonderoga. You also are responsible for your ship's defense and navigation. Keeping all of these "balls in the air" while working toward your mission objectives can get very complicated, especially in later missions when you might be in charge of your ship, two or three others, and have air support as well! This is where the high-level command system can help. The system allows you to issue commands to your first officer, who then sees them carried out. You can issue nearly all of the necessary orders through the high-level command system, though you do sacrifice some of the finer control you have when doing things yourself. I have noticed some oddities in the system, and an e-mail from Mindscape alerted me that the high-level command system may not be available in some missions. Of course, you are not told for which missions the system is not available, making using it an occasional challenge.

USS Ticonderoga also offers a full compliment of weaponry, including the Harpoon anti-ship missle and two versions of the Tomahawk cruise missle (the TASM, or Tactical Anti-Ship Missle, and TLAM, Tactical Land Attack Missle). Also availble are two classes of the Standard (SM-2) series surface-to-air missle, ASROCs (Anti-Submarine ROCkets) and two types of guns. In addition, you have access to weapons aboard other ships in your group, and can also control the weapons systems of any air support that is available in the mission.

All in all, gameplay is fairly easy to learn, and there is a tutorial mission to lead you through the initial rough waters.

Flashy Flash

The graphics in USS Ticonderoga are rendered in sharp SVGA (640x480x256); it also has a host of "neato" multimedia enhancements that push it beyond other games of its type. In addition to the fully spoken briefings and debriefings, there are popup windows with full-motion video of missles launching (and hitting their targets), crew members responding to orders with "Aye, sir!" and screams of "incoming!" when enemy missles threaten. You can also walk around the ship and visit a number of locations, including your cabin where you can wash your hands, grab a sip of coffee, or stroke your pet cactus (I'm not kidding!).

The downside to this is that USS Ticonderoga only comes on CD and therefore requres a CD-ROM drive (and a double speed model at that). Also, the popup video windows can occasionally interfere with gameplay. Fortunately, they can be disabled easily if so desired.

Sound is a big part of USS Ticonderoga. In addition to the customary "whoosh" of a missle launch and the "bang" of guns, the soundtrack is fairly well done, and as in LucasArts' iMUSE system, the style of the music changes with the game situation. The voice acting here is good, perhaps leaning toward the melodramatic at times, but very effective within the context of the game. You'll need a SoundBlaster (or 100% compatible) to hear the sound in its full glory.

Performance Evaluation

Bottom line: USS Ticonderoga is a great game. Despite the (few) quirks, I highly recommend it to Naval warfare enthusiasts, and even to those who are unfamiliar to the genre. The game might be over a little too quickly for some (it only comes with about 20 mission scenarios), but Mindscape hints at add-ons in the future, which could give USS Ticonderoga a long life.

Review By GamesDomain

Captures and Snapshots

Comments and reviews

SVD 2020-03-07 0 point

I played the Demo on a PCformat demo CD when it came out.
It was a single mission but pretty good fun, different ways to tackle a problem.
Gui was interesting for it's day

Never found full game in store

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