Windows - 1999
Description of Warzone 2100
Warzone 2100 was released as open source (GPLv2) by Pumpkin Studios in 2004. The community worked a lot on WZ 2100 since then, you can find the latest news and releases on wz2100.net. The game is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This release do not contain any video, you can download them on SourceForce.
Note: please avoid getting the game from Steam, as this version is unmaintained. Use the Community version from WZ2100.net
1999 is the best year for computer games of all types that I can remember. I have played PC games since the mid-1970s and never was the selection of games that I wanted to purchase during a given year ever higher than three or four games. There were times over the years when I would walk through the computer game aisles and hope and pray to find anything that would interest me enough to stop playing Civilization for the 50^th^ time. Now that I look back on those days, the benefit was that I would spend a great deal of time with one or two games and really wear them out before I moved on to the next game. This was by necessity and not choice because only a few games a year ever met my standards or captivated me enough to pay $40 or $50 to own a copy. Christmas time was a joyous season for all of the obvious reasons, but to the gamer it was the time when the mega-games would be released. The spring and summer became the haunts of games that either missed their deadlines or of efforts that the marketers believed could not compete with the Christmas crowd. Prior to 1999 I may have purchased five games during the summer during my entire lifetime.
How times have changed. This year there are at least five titles that I want to purchase that I have not because (1) I still do not have time to finish all of the games I already own and (2) I simply cannot afford to put such a huge monetary investment into my favorite hobby. This does not mean, of course, that I will not figure out a way to purchase the games at a later date, but until I free up some room on my hard drives, even an avid fan such as myself cannot rationalize the purchase of a game that will remain in its box for many weeks. Games such as Warzone 2100 certainly confound and confuse the PC gamer's strategy. These are the games which you really did not follow pre-release, nor notice any hype written about them. Then one day you read in Usenet or in some other forum about this great game that you never heard of. After a quick Internet search and some frantic emails to your gaming buddies, a cold sweat breaks out across your forehead as you realize this is another game that you must have, in addition to the other five you already crave. When this sequence of events occurred prior to 1999, I never had five games waiting in the wings and I always felt great about how I kept up with the information available in the newsgroups. I discovered Space Empires 3 through the Internet and was very happy. In 1999, discovering a game like Warzone 2100 causes some serious purchase planning and re-prioritizing. Fortunately I review games and our strategy editor asked for someone to review Warzone 2100 around the same time I was heading out the door to purchase it. This strategy can sometimes backfire as evidenced by my newly purchased copy of Imperialism II that laughs at me for buying it just before GDR received a slew of copies and how I still wait to purchase Heroes of Might and Magic 3, while hoping the game fairy will leave GDR a present.
Those of you that read my work here and in the newsgroups know that I am in no way shape or form a fan of real time strategy games. I will not rehash the arguments I've made about why I find most RTS games both boring and not real strategy games, but let me just state that I have bought two RTS games since I returned Command and Conquer Red Alert to my retailer. On the other hand the two RTS games that I have purchased, Total Annihilation and StarCraft, are joys to play because each makes the RTS genre more interesting in its own unique way. Warzone 2100 is sort of a hybrid mix of the game elements found in Total Annihilation and the story elements in StarCraft. It is true to the RTS "build up resources, build units, and conquer" techniques found in most RTS games, but Warzone 2100 takes the best elements of the RTS genre and creates a few new twists. Despite a few problems with the game's AI and graphics, I found Warzone 2100 to be a very satisfying RTS experience. I enjoyed the game so much that it has replaced Total Annihilation as the game I use to beat up on my brother and friends in multiplayer games. I recommend Eidos' fine effort with a few caveats.
Warzone 2100 includes typical RTS fare. The game is set in the future, there is a disastrous war, and you are the commander of one of the units that is supposed to scout out areas for new technologies to be used by your home forces. Complicating things is a Mad Max-like group of insurgents that start out pretty disorganized but who, as the game progresses, become very organized with powerful weapons. Your official title is "Command General" and your theater of operations is the Western United States. The single player campaign consists of three separate scenario segments that feed off of each other. The fascinating part of Warzone 2100 is how these campaigns are organized. Instead of the usual mission-based campaigns, the players begin the major campaign segments at a base area and all subsequent missions for that branch start at the base camp. You build up your forces, structure, and defenses of your base camp throughout the scenario. The individual missions begin after a briefing, however, you may play one mission after another within a single mission. You will accomplish one set of goals during a mission that might trigger another set of objectives that you have to complete before you move on to the next cut scene in traditional RTS fashion.
The campaigns initially contained non-adjustable time limits, however, later versions of the game now include the ability to turn this feature off. Some players complained about the time limit, however, I found that it really added to the pressure that one feels trying to complete the missions. Granted this is an artifact of the, some would argue, artificial time constraints, but my tactics really changed once I turned the time limits off. The missions start off easy and get progressively harder to finish. The difficulty with turning off the time limits is that units gain experience through a ranking system that affects the accuracy and power of the individual units. You could conceivably cheat by turning off the time limits and artificially make your units the highest experience level. There are three linked campaigns in the game and each campaign has roughly ten missions each. A nice tutorial is included that teaches you the game basics.
The interface is nice and contains all of the information you would need to command your troops. The game's interface makes it very easy to do complicated things quickly. You click one or two buttons and you can research items, build units, issue orders, etc. Building units is very easy and you can set up a variety of queues through the interface. You can set up looped production or infinite production queues. Unfortunately you cannot set production loops for your individual construction units, so you must order them to build one thing at a time. Resource management in the game is pretty easy since you only have to worry about your oil production. Power production never seemed strained the way it is when you try and produce some of those big weapons in Total Annihilation. Generally if you defend your resources you will not have too much trouble pumping power to your units and structures. Information about your resource production is available through the interface.
The graphics and sound are quite nice with two caveats. The 3D terrain is breathtaking in spots. You can position your camera angle in a variety of positions, including the ability to be directly above the rear of your units as they head into battle. You can zoom in and out, although I thought that the highest zoom out wasn't quite high enough. One difficulty I encountered was with inertia as I moved my mouse over the battlefield. Sometimes you will zoom right past the point you want to go to. Explosions are nicely rendered and fires burn with gusto. My major complaint with the graphics deals with the units. They simply blend together too easily and are very difficult to tell apart. This becomes a significant problem when you have older technology that looks like newer technology. Each unit is essentially built using the same body with variations in weapon or system. Body types can be upgraded, however, generally the units look very similar. Machinegun units look alike. Repair units look like flame units. It can be quite confusing at times. The sound in the game is pretty good though not spectacular.
There are a number of interesting Warzone 2100 features worth mentioning. Units exist from one mission to the next. You can "recycle" the experience in older units to new units through the factory. There are a wide variety of individual AI settings including guard, return to base when damaged, various aggressiveness settings, and different range to attack settings. Indirect fire is included in the game and is useful when attacking cities or camps with high walls. A combined arms strategy is encouraged and you need to include many unit types in your combat group. Repair units, for example, are a must. They obviously repair units, but the fascinating thing is that they will repair units on their own with no direct orders from the player. They seek out damaged units and fix them right up. There is a very extensive research tree with all sorts of technologies to learn. This translates into the ability to create a host of different unit and building types.
Unit design is emphasized during the game, although I did not necessarily think it added very much to my overall enjoyment of experience. You are pretty much limited by the technologies you have researched and there did not seem to be any reason to keep old designs. I guess I did not see how my designing the unit was more fun than having the design automatically appear as a new production choice. If you could customize your choices through colors, sounds, etc. then this system might make some sense to me. The way Warzone 2100 creates designs does not allow for this type of expression, so what is the point?
The AI in the single player game seemed pretty good, but the multiplayer skirmish AI revealed a number of weaknesses. In general Warzone 2100 reminded me of Total Annihilation in its early release. Removing the time constraint revealed a number of scripted occurrences that could not be described as contributing much to the enemy AI. To the game's credit, units generally ran away when they were being pounded and did not try to fight to the last person unless the situation required it. If they ran into an ambush the enemy usually turned tail and fled. They also used combined arms and would lazily lob indirect fire rounds at guard towers that could not hit them. They seemed to probe my lines every now and then and I usually had to seek out the offending enemy camp and put them out of business to stop these pesky attacks. The AI is particularly weak in skirmish mode and not very challenging. The enemy does not seem to understand proper base construction and is relatively easy to defeat on any difficulty level.
The tactics that work the best in Warzone 2100 are those tried and true in most RTS games. Use your most experienced units, group units, and direct their fire at one or two units at a time. The sensor unit is a very effective method for increasing the accuracy of your units and one should be assigned to each battle group you send out to engage the enemy. One neat unit is the commander that works as an intelligent sensor unit. You assign other units to the commander and it directs the fire of the assigned units. There is nothing tactically revolutionary in the game, but you won't be able to mass produce one type of unit and expect to win the campaign scenarios. This game shines as a multiplayer game because of the variety of units and tactics that you can use. It is not quite as diverse as Total Annihilation, however, the games are interesting and more visually stunning than Total Annihilation.
I had fun playing Warzone 2100 for a number of reasons. It does not attempt any revolutionary design changes from standard RTS fare, but it does combine many of the elements found in other popular games. I really enjoyed the structure of the campaign games. Building up your base and gaining attachment to your field commanders enhanced the experience. The terrain graphics are some of the best in RTS games and really immerse you into the action. The more adventurous should try the close in rear view and try and fight their battles. You see the enemy when your units do and it is quite a different experience from other RTS games. I was not bored with the single player campaign because there seemed to be enough variety to keep me interested. Yes, the bottom line is that you are usually simply seeking out the enemy and destroying it. Sometimes you go on transport missions away from your base, but you generally are looking for technology and enemies. Some have criticized this aspect of the game, but I guess I do not have lofty expectations for this genre. The point of these games is to seek out enemy and destroy it (with the accompanying nice explosions and sounds) and most follow this formula in a tried and true fashion. I also appreciate the lack of resource management complexity. If you play the game with the time limit on, it is very difficult to imagine how you could manage a complex resource system within the game's parameters.
This is not to say that the game is perfect. The pathfinding AI can be frustrating at times. It is not the worst I have ever seen, but units do wonder around a bit if not closely monitored. You cannot select a unit and click a final destination far away and expect that the unit will necessarily take the path that you think makes sense. But the unit graphics, skirmish AI, and pathfinding oddities are the only faults I find with this game. Otherwise, Warzone 2100 is a joy to play as a single player game and even more fun as a multiplayer clash. If you want to sit down and play a game that allows you to seek out and destroy your enemy in interesting ways, then Warzone 2100 will make you very happy.
Review By GamesDomain
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Eagle9r 2021-10-23 1 point
It has gone for Steam, it's still free, whoever wants to download it!
Nick 2019-09-22 0 point
I downloaded just for fun years ago on a Linux machine and I loved it since then.My problem now running it on Windows is first of all I cannot save the game no matter what(version 3.3.0).Secondly,the voice that was saying "ok commander" when I was moving my tanks is lost in versions 3.3.0,2.3.9 and 2.3.5.But in 2.3.9 and 2.3.5 I can save my game.I think I have to find that version that worked the best for me in Linux.Anyway,great game!!
MrBumpy 2019-05-05 2 points
This is the probably the best RTS ever made, if only because this was played for more hours than any other game until Diablo II. It is so simple, yet so complex that we had printed out the tech tree and hung it on the wall to make it easier: https://i.warosu.org/data/vr/img/0035/26/1475089159457.png
The game has since gone open source a few years ago and you can find an active group improving, maintaining, and playing it at https://wz2100.net.
jean marie 2017-03-20 0 point
es muy buen programa , como introduccion a los juegos con inteligencia propia .......
SuperHappyFunTime 2016-01-31 0 point
an enjoyable RTS game that I lost hours upon hours to.
I think they also had this out on the original PSX , if you
have never played it then give it a try.
FURDMICH VON ZIEGENBURG 2014-11-07 0 point Windows version
@WHAT GUNS, I do not know how to save it, but you could get the opensource remake of the game which is very similar.
What Guns 2014-10-25 2 points Windows version
An awesome game that works great except it wont let me save the game so kind of pointless unless you can play it straight for about a month or so. Maybe I am doing something wrong. If so someone tell me what.
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