Terra Nova


Looking Glass Technologies

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After "Flight Unlimited" last summer, Looking Glass Technologies is back with their second title as a publisher, "Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri". Described as a 3D combat simulator, "Terra Nova" uses a first-person perspective view that will surprise many by its game play and graphics quality.

Picture 1

The Centauri society descended directly from the original Jupiter colonists in the Terran system. Considered as rebels by the omnipotent Earth Hegemony, the two sides finally reached an agreement after repetitive fights between the colonists and Earth forces. With the help of the Earth Hegemony, the colonists left towards the Centauri star system to establish a new colony. "Terra Nova" begins 150 years after the first colonists arrived on NewHope, one of the eight planets of the system. Recently incorporated in the Strike Force Centauri (SFC), you play the role of Nicola ap Io, a young and valorous soldier.
Picture 2

The SFC is an elite squad whose members are equipped with Powered Battle Armors (PBA), inspired by the old hydraulic metal suits used on Jupiter's moons over a century ago. The PBA's represents the best in military technology with electronic sensors, targeting computers, powerful weapons and an impressive armor that effectively protects the soldiers. Unlike Mechwarriors which are robots exceeding dozens of tons, the PBA's are man-size and provide its occupant with a greater freedom of movement during battles.

Speaking of combats, the first two missions will consist in a training program to familiarize yourself with the PBA and its possibilities. You will learn how to move around using the map, how to use and select weapons and other equipment, as well as shooting at targets. With your basic training finished, you will be first assigned to solo missions against pirates who recently launched a series of raids in several areas. If you are successful, you will soon be at the head of a squad giving orders and strategies to the other members.

Picture 3 A complete briefing awaits you before each mission with a video animation showing the topography of the area and the objectives. You will hear the instructions from your superior who will explain to you which strategies to adopt. Then, you will be given several choices regarding your PBA suit, the weapons and equipment you will take on the mission, and if it is not a solo mission, the members you select for your team. SFC's members have individual skills that might make the difference in a specific mission. There are five possible skills: Reconnaissance, Weapons, Demolition, Repair and Electronics. With Reconnaissance, your teammate can detect an enemy presence earlier and will also remain undetectable. If you have to destroy large structures, you will need a demolition expert to do the job. As you have already understood, having the right elements in your team is vital if you want to complete the goals. By default, you will be given a selection of members that you can keep or change, though sometimes a member might be mandatory. You can also modify what members will bring with them during missions.

Once your team is outfitted, you will be sent to the battlefield and deployed from an airplane. You will find yourself in the PBA looking at the surrounding landscape through the Heads-Up Display (HUD). The first thing you will notice is the terrain on which you are going to move and fight. Even at the lowest resolution (320 by 200), it looks very realistic. Both ground and sky have textures and even the landscape reflects on the water's surface. In addition, "Terra Nova" features weather conditions with impressive visual effects such as rain, snow and thunderstorms. Rainy days never looked so real in a computer game before!

If you have more than 8Mb of memory and a Pentium processor, you will enjoy playing in the high resolution mode (320 by 400). The details are quite amazing and the realism clearly outdoes what the Voxel Space technology from Novalogic achieved in a game like "Comanche". Several options are available to reduce the level of details if the frame rate is not fast enough, but I found the game to be enjoyable even on a 'slow' Pentium.

If you think the graphics are the only good points of "Terra Nova", you are wrong. I particularly appreciated the sound ambience during the missions. When you engage in a fight against pirates or other enemies, you will hear the other team members reporting about the status of the battle, about their PBA conditions, etc. The sound effects for weapons, vehicles, explosions, voices, etc... use the Q Sound 3D Audio which has for effect to render a '3D sound', perfect to immerse you into the battle.

Picture 4 Through the 39 missions of the game, you will fight against pirates and Earth Hegemony troops. The missions are not too repetitive, some will have you to protect strategic areas or escort convoys while others will send you to destroy enemy devices or bases, intercept convoys, identify equipment, etc. Between missions, you will watch video movies showing what the life is like at Strike Force Centauri and how the recent raids by the pirates are related to Earth Hegemony forces. The videos that mix actors with computer rendered backgrounds will progressively unveil the story throughout the game.

Finally, after you have completed the game, you can always play with the Random Scenario Builder that generates a mission according to your preferences. You can thus select your difficulty level, the map you want to play with, number of enemies, mission objectives, etc.


Among the first person perspective games available, "Terra Nova" is the most innovative with a game play that is half way between "MechWarrior 2" and "Doom". There is one thing though that prevents the game from being perfect which is the lack of support for a network game that would allow a squad to be formed with three other human players. Fortunately, a multi-player pack will be coming soon!

System Requirements:

Pentium 60Mhz or better,
Min 8Mb Memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard Drive required with 30Mb free,
Double Speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
SVGA 256 colour graphic card and monitor,
Microsoft mouse or 100% compatible,

Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro, Sound Blaster 16/AWE32; Ensoniq Soundscape; Gravis UltraSound sound cards supported.

Developers & Publisher

Looking Glass Technologies,
100 Cambridge Park Dr., Ste 300,
Cambridge, MA 02140.

Technical Support: 617-576-3310
BBS Support: 617-441-0413

Internet Support: Looking Glass Technologies
Web site: www.lglass.com


In North America:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
18061 Fitch Avenue,
Irvine, CA 92714.

Technical Support: 714-833-1999
Fax Support: 714-833-2011
BBS Support: 714-833-3305

Hints: 1-900-288-4744 ($.75 per minute)

Web site: www.vie.com

In Europe:

In UK:

Virgin Interactive Entertainment,
2 Kensington Square,
London, W8 5RB.

Technical Support: +44-(0)171-3682266
Fax Support: +44-(0)171-468-2000
BBS Support: +44-(0)171-468-2022

Internet Support: Virgin Interactive Entertainment Europe
Web site: www.vie.co.uk/vie

In France:

Ubi Soft,
28, Rue Armand Carrel,
93108 Montreuil Sous Bois CEDEX.

Technical Support: +33-1-485-70554
Fax Support: +33-1-485-76291

Web site: www.ubisoft.com



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