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Head 2 Head Review: Submarine Titans

The Match-Up:

Name: Tristinian (a.k.a. Commodus) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Adventure, Action/FPS, Sims

Favorite Games: Baldur's Gate, Half-Life, Unreal Tournament, Red Alert, Jedi Knight.

Tristinian

Topher

Name: Kristopher H. (a.k.a. Topher) e-mail me

Favorite Genres: RTS, RPG, Sims, Action/FPS

Favorite Games: Starcraft, Red Alert and Duke Nukem

Tristinian: DEAD DEAD DEAD! That's what a lot of people thought the 2D perspective RTS was after the success of Homeworld and the general disappointment surrounding Tiberian Sun. Since then, 3D RTSs seem to be the main RTS style being pumped out-at least with any fanfare. Force Commander, Armada, Earth 2150, Ground Control, Dark Reign 2-you name it. But Submarine Titans might be that special something that revitalizes the 2D perspective RTS even before Red Alert 2 makes it on to the scene.

Topher: Submarine Titans is something, but i wouldn't say it's special. But it is definitely a boost to the 2D RTS scene. From Ellipse Studios, Submarine Titans has Graphics, Story, GamePlay....all well done in 2D perspective, but using 3D mapping and movement in terms of terrain. Set in an apocalyptic time on earth where the planet collides with an asteroid, extinguishing almost all life on the surface of the planet. What remains of the human civilization is now living underwater. About a hundred years go by and humans have survived well enough to form into 2 factions-both of which want to control the planet. A war erupts between the two and at the same time an alien race appears who also wants to rule the planet and its resources. Thus now we have 3 races to play with and watch!!

Tristinian: Yes, you would have thought more developers would have learned that a 3rd side to control in an RTS was becoming somewhat of a necessity in modern day RTSs, but at least Submarine Titans got it right. You play as either the White Sharks, the Black Octopi or the Silicons. Unlike the technology based Sharks and Octopi, the Silicons are more organic in their structure types and weaponry. So if you find that the more technological sides are not to your liking, you always have that 3rd option-and ALL sides are practically perfectly balanced.

Topher: yeeee haa!! Balanced is right - I've never seen a game so well balanced before!!!! Nor have I seen a game with so many upgrades. Holy #hit!! I think this might be one thing that kinda annoyed me-ya i like to upgrade but man it takes a lot of time to get bigger and badder weapons. But bigger and badder they are!! And also different. At least in the options you can determine what tech level you start a game off at. Also, the learning curve of the game can be quite high. The human races, once learned, are easy to control and build and conquer with. But to suddenly switch to the Silicons, you really have to use your head and change your strategy. The look of all the different races is noticeable too. The humans again have familiar structures and units when compared to each other but to the Silicons - the don't compare at all except in some functions.

Tristinian: Yeah, the sides are very well balanced and the tech tree is amazingly deep-you won't be bored of it anytime soon. And i must say, the music works extraordinarily well in this game. The soundtrack is perfect.

Topher: Definitely. And i like how it changes when you get into battles-kinda like a movie when the plot changes. The unit speech was, well....talk about robotic. But a fun thing you can do is change them yourself with the configuration utility you're given, with Submarine Titans. But although going through and changing everything to Homer Simpson wavs would be cool - it would take a damn long time. Other options within the game are pretty standard. AI Level, Graphics settings Sounds....yadda yadda yadda....you get the idea. Graphics wise you can set it from 800x600 to 1280 x 1024-obviously the higher ones are more appealing and add more detail, but you can still play the game quite well on the lower settings.

Tristinian: Absolutely. Not only does the game look great, but because it isn't that demanding, many people won't have trouble maxing out the game's graphics at 1280 x 1024. Using a Voodoo 5 powered system on a P3 500, the game ran perfectly smoothly with detail and res maxed out at 1280 x 1024 WITH 2 x FSAA turned on as well. Pretty damn sweet-crisp and clean....the way the units and buildings were meant to be seen. (our screenshots were taken at the lowest res of 800 x 600 to show how decent graphics still look at that setting though)

Topher: If this is the next step for 2D RTSs, I'm definitely in a fit to see what Westwood has done with RA2!! Also the cut shots at the beginning of the game aren't of the greatest quality but decent in their own right. Controls is where i think the game is a little disappointing. Your units can maneuver on various depths (which makes sense with an underwater terrain) but it's difficult to manage when you have a lot of units and are in a battle. Obviously the AI can manipulate this feature easier as you will see in the game, but even with no 3D, Sub-Titans adds more then just one view of the game. You can zoom in and out with ease, and even turn the map around and look at the battle from a different angle. I liked this feature and only found it a little awkward sometimes.

Tristinian: Yeah, it seems like Sub-Titans has given the 2D RTS sub-genre a swift kick in the ass before Red Alert 2 could come and save the day as many of us were expecting. And regardless of the 3d terrain being somewhat of a problem to navigate on slight occasions, sub-titans is certainly keeping the 2D generation going.

Topher: i still think RA2 will come in and kick Sub-Titans butt royally - but its definitely a nice preview of things to come.

Tristinian: Well, we'll have to see. This game speaks for itself in terms of quality and i think accomplishes everything it set out to do. Problem is, it might not get the attention it deserves with the more hyped games out right now and games like RA2 looming. But..hey. How would you rate it?

Topher: True it does accomplish a lot, and probably wont get the attention it should, but such is life in the world of gaming. I'd rate it a healthy 82. Marking against some controls, robotic sounds, and lack of story telling - at least at the beginning. But the tutorials although somewhat slow and boring is well done, along with the added utilities your given and the ability of using future add ons. And you Sir Tristinian?

Tristinian: me? well...this game is solid. Solid to the core. But, i too thought it lacked with some of the cinematics that would have made things a little nicer and a slightly easier to manage unit system with the depths etc. But, i'll have to go with 86. Damn good (not to mention the top to bottom coverage of multiplayer options) and it is lacking in very few areas. If you liked Red Alert and wanted to capture some of that old magic with some much needed additions and improvements, pick this one up.

 

Tristinian's Mark
Tristinian's Final Words
Topher's Final Words
Topher's Mark
86%
If you liked Red Alert and want to capture some of that old magic-get it
accomplishes a lot, but probably wont get the attention it should
82%

Submarine...but not Sub-par...

One of the funny things in the game is how often you can send construction ships to just 'drop off' buildings to be constructed in your opponent's camp. Since buildings construct themselves without the need of the construction ship sticking around (for the Sharks and Octopi anyway), it makes for some effective tactics particularly near the start of a skirmish.

 

The command hub that the silicons use is not unlike that which some of you may remember from Force Commander. Difference here is that this one is both useful and attractive. You can expand your research capabilities by adding more extensions onto the command center and make some really groovy stuff.

 

Tired of just one type of turret for defense? Don't worry, Submarine Titans gives you a #hit load of items to use for your enjoyment in terms of defensive structures.