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Starship Troopers

by Kristopher H.

Alrighty Troopers here it is. Based on the cult novel and major motion picture of the same name, Microprose has brought us Starship Troopers. A strategic game (more or less), with a third person perspective Starship Troopers will have ya killin' bugs in no time. The fundamental elements expected in such a game are all intact. Including troopers, missions, and bugs - lots of'm - big and small. In the game's beginning you're shown one cut scene - and a pretty mediocre one at that. But it resembles the current cartoon show in quality so maybe its not all that bad.

Like the novel and movie - the game is based on Mankind's war with an alien race that is by all accounts a species of BUGS! Oh and this is in the 23rd century too-can't forget that. You're sent on various missions in which you either have to eradicate an infestation and/or help your fellow comrades out of jams. You begin by selecting your strike team, usually a group of 12 people ranging in talent and experience. The more experience an individual has the better they will be in combat and they will also have access to more weapons for future missions. And believe it or not there is quite the litter to choose from. You then get to equip each trooper with whatever weapons you want him or her to use. Each mission ranges in its difficulty but all have the same motive - KILL THE BUGS!! This may seem mindless but on the strategic side of things can be thought provoking. For example, if you need to get access to a bug hole-there are bugs in front of you so you can use one squad to fight the bugs and move the second squad around them in order to nuke the bug's earthy origins. Yep I said NUKE…*GRIN* But you can't just go around nuking and blasting bugs away because your men will run out of ammo - which means you become automatic bug food. So there are some areas of attack planning that must be looked at.

Maneuvering your men is pretty easy. Select a group and click where you want them to go. You also have the option of how you want them positioned in formations. In order to help you move your squads around you can use a radar map, which shows degrees of elevation and where you can find the next bug. Also each unit has a level of ferocity. You can make your units become stealthy or put them into a fit of rage where they'll attack anything and everything that moves around them. Know not only are there the basic controls of the units but depending on the experience of the unit some can even have special skills - medics, combat engineers, snipers, and psychics. Some units can call an air strike to knock out those pesky plasma bugs or make a call in order to get the wounded troopers out of the fire. All units are helping in some way to complete a desired task, and giving you a wide range of options. With all these options it's a good thing there's a tutorial to help you figure things out…err...actually is the tutorial even useful?

Well, the tutorial IS good-but with the 'little' things: formations, how to chose troops, view who has what weapons, how some weapons work…etc….but aside from that it plain sucks. Playing a few missions I had to just hit keys and buttons to see what they did in order to figure things out. Probably one of the worst tutorials I've seen. And if you think the graphics in the tutorials are just bad in order to help you move along quickly to the missions-think again.

Graphically the game just isn't impressive. The troopers and bugs themselves move fluidly when running around and fighting but their looks could have been worked on a little more. Textures and such on all areas could have been worked on some more as well- with exception perhaps of the landscapes. Even the buildings and air units are more or less grey blocks put together in a fashion to look like a building or aircraft. You have the option of what resolution you want to set the game to along with some other knick knack graphic settings but not a lot of options in general.

When viewing the battlefield the camera is actually quite good. All you need is the right mouse button and you can move all around your squad. None of this twelve button scheme crap that some games offer- although a few times I was little irritated that I couldn't view my squad very well unless I hit the space bar to center in on them. For some reason if your units are separated the camera tries to view both of the them from an equal distance. This is fine I supposed when you have 2 living squads. But when you have some dead troopers lying around the camera is attached to those as well. It doesn't seem to want to let them go! awwww....such a sentimental game.

Starship Troopers on a whole is pretty well done. Yes the tutorial at the beginning of the game is well - bad. The graphics for the most part help you recognize that there's a bug on your ass and/or a bug frying your ass but when looking at objects such as trees, it make me think, "is that a tree, or a stick with green crap on top". But aside from some imperfections, you might get a slight gaming buzz for a little while at least. This game has constituents of both strategic play and role playing and yet that's probably arguable. If you're not a fan of the novel or movie then you might have some opinions of your own as well that go beyond even my own.


FINAL MARK

Graphics often look as if they need work-sometime the camera does too although it was a positive in this game.

Garbage tutorial...enough said there.

The game CAN be fun...for a while anyway. But it soon turns into just another game and essentially...that's all it is.

68%