"X-COM: UFO Defense" was one of the best games I had ever played in my life, therefore you can imagine the great anticipation with which I opened the package of "X-COM: Terror from the Deep", the new sequel from MicroProse.
It was not a complete surprise as I had seen previews and screen shots of the game on different occasions, but still, I must confess here how admirative I was when I first played the game. If you are not familar with the first episode, I hope to spark your desire for this game and its sequel because it is truly something every gamer must own.
This time, the only difference lies in their origin: the ocean's depth. Somehow, the aliens have created aquatic creatures or have developed mutants who can survive in a marine environment. As the commander of the X-COM organisation, you must protect Earth against the invaders and find a way to destroy them forever.
TFTD uses all the elements that made "X-COM: UFO Defense" a success, but it also adds new features that bring even more excitement to the game. The first thing you will notice is the graphics quality. They have been enhanced with effects like the water effect which gives a colouration to the objects, leaving wakes made by gas powered weapons, bubbles from breathing apparatus, etc...
The sites where you will affront the aliens will offer you a large variety with marine locations (each with characteristics depending upon the depth), harbors, islands, alien or X-COM bases and liners, all with multiple levels. The graphics are excellent with plenty of details and the size of the locations are vast enough to provide you with stimulating explorations. One other element that makes TFTD even better than the first episode is the music. The game supports the Gravis soundcard in native mode which undeniably brings an out-of-this-world music ambiance to the game. The sound effects for the footsteps and alien's screaming as they die are just so realistic that it is frightening (especially when you are playing in the dark and are home alone).
TFTD is a turn-based game, as was the first episode. During each turn you must move your aquanauts on the terrain to kill or capture aliens. Each aquanaut has personal characteristics like health, shooting accuracy, etc.. and you must use them wisely if you want them to return to your base. The Aliens' movements are hidden and you can only see them when one of your aquanauts is close enough and looking in their direction.
One aspect you must not neglect is the time units (TU). Every aquanaut has a certain amount of TU, and each action he or she does reduces them. When the TU reach zero or if the selected action requires a greater amount than those remaining, your aquanaut can not do anything else except wait for the the end of your turn.
Many actions can be preformed during your turn. A major part will be dedicated to moving your squad, but also for shooting at alien creatures. Depening on the amount of TU you have left, when you want to use one of your weapons, you will be given a choice of different modes: the aim shot, the snap shot and the automatic shot. They are not always available for all possible weapons. For example, the gas cannon cannot fire more than one shot at a time, but the harpoon can be used in the automatic mode. The aim mode requires more TU than the other two that use about the amount of TU. Beware that using the aim shot does not necessarily guarantee success, it it also depends on the aquanaut's experience which increases with missions and alien's killed. You can also equip your aquanaut, use devices such as sensors or medi-kits, stand or kneel and go up and with the lifts.
The goal of these missions is to find alien artefacts and dead or alive creatures that will enable your scientists to research the alien technology. This alien knowledge will allow you to design more powerful weapons and give you better chances to get rid of the dreadful creatures you will encounter in the deep.
TFTD's game is not only based on strategy but also on management. As the commander of X-COM, you must establish bases in strategic points around the globe. For this, you benefit from funds coming from the nations who pay your organisation in exchange of protection against the aliens's attacks. Funds will increase if you manage to prevent cities from being attacked or ships from being sunk, but they will rapidly drop if you fail your mission.
A base is made of various facilities like living quarters, laboratories, workshops, general stores, alien containments, sub pens, etc... and each of them will require money for their construction and maintenance.
The supplies are also very important in TFTD. It would be annoying to find out you do not have any weapons left in your sub just when you want to intercept an alien sub in the middle of the ocean. The purchase/recruit feature will allow you to order aquanauts, scientists, technicians, weapons and ammunition that will be delivered to the base of your choice after several days. If necessary, you can also transfer equipment from one base to another.
The storyline will unfold piece by piece thorughout the game while you capture live aliens and learn what they know. The ultimate goal of the aliens is to energise the core of the mothership T'leth that lies deep in the ocean to awake something terrible, something that might destroy humanity. Nothing more will be said about the story to allow you to discover for yourself what surprises await you in TFTD.
I could continue to write more and more about TFTD, but I feel like X-COM urgently needs me. So I must stop here and wish you only one thing: buy this game that we highly recommend. TFTD is just marvellous!
MicroProse UK Ltd., GRAPHICS ------------------ 92% The Ridge, Chipping Sodbury, SOUND ------------------ 95% Avon, BS17 6AY, England. MUSIC ------------------ 95% Tel: +44-(0)1454-326-532 GAMEPLAY ------------------ 95% INTEREST ------------------ 95% MicroProse Inc., 180 Lakefront drive, Hunt Valley, MD 21030-2245. OVERALL ------------------- 95% Tel: 410-771-0440
Copyright © 1995 Coming Soon Magazine! All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form or medium without express written permission of Coming Soon Magazine is prohibited.