Carrier Command

Title		Carrier Command
Game Type	3D Combat Sim
Company		Realtime Software, Rainbird
Players		1
Compatibility	All
HD Installable	With WHDLoad Patch
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Don't look for texture mapping or complex polygons in Carrier Command,
it's got playability instead. Actually it looks very nice, and plays
smoothly on the lowest spec Amiga. The game itself puts you in command of
a futuristic Aircraft Carrier/Assault Vessel. Apparently, some years ago a
Fuel Hunting ship, the Delta, discovered a newly formed archipelago of
volcanic islands, each capable of supplying much energy for the use of
mankind. Two special Carriers, the Epsilon and the Omega were then
designed and built, although after sea trials, the majority of
modifications were only incorporated into Omega, resulting in it becoming
a more powerful vessel. You know what's coming, don't you? Yup, the Omega
is hijacked by terrorists, the sinsiter STANZA Organisation, and they
threaten to capture and destroy all the islands unless they are paid off
to the tune of 15 billion dollars within the next few hours. Well, paying
them off isn't apparently an option, so it's down to you to take the
Epsilon against her superior sister and stop her. In Churchill's terms,
"Sink the Omega!"

 During the game you must capture islands, building a logistic network
that will keep you supplied with the many types of equipment that you'll
need. The main and frankly most sexy of these, are your Manta fighter
aircraft and Walrus amphibious assault vehicles, but both these need fuel
as well as a range of weapons that you must see are produced. You'll soon
find that the Mantas and Walrus vehicles need frequent replacements.
There's loads more in the toy box though, from your Carrier's Defence
Drones, which can be positioned around your Carrier when in hostile
situations, to the awesome Hammerhead surface to surface missile, which
requires you to launch a Viewing Drone before you can guide your missiles
in to their target.

A clever feature of the game is the nature of your enemy. The Omega is
from the outset almost invulnerable to your attacks, but if you are
successful in extending a network of islands beyond your Base island;
Vulcan, and in so doing can weaken the enemy's own supply network, he will
become more susceptible to your firepower, and although never a pushover,
can be successfully engaged and defeated. I remember at the time of the
game's release, some people complained about the short delay when
travelling from one island to another. I don't see a problem, while the
game is action-packed, it is not simply a shoot'em up, and this time
provides you with a few useful moments to anticipate your enemy's
intentions, update your own strategy and keep track of your vital supply
network; possibly changing the location of the stockpile island to suit
your current situation. The mapping in Carrier Command is beautifully
implemented, you can switch from Navigation mode to Resource mode at the
click of a button, effortlessly zooming in and out to enhance your
perception of the situation. You'll be deciding what risks are worth
running, what islands are expendable and whether your Carrier can reach
your objective without diverting to refuel and losing valuable time in the
process. It really is absorbing and fun.

You can easily tell a lot of love was lavished on this game by the various
icon controlled screens, the numerous viewpoints, the vitally important
maps and the sheer functionality of it all. You'll love piloting the
aircraft, driving the amphibious vehicles, and hopefully (in the fullness
of time) carving the enemy Carrier up with your own ship's weapon systems.
For those of you interested in such things the original game design of Carrier
Command was done by Ricardo Pinto who later became part of The Assembly
Line, producing games like Cybercon 3; Mr Pinto being responsible for much
of the game's eerie atmosphere that made it so special.

I remember in one of my first games, if not the first game, I decided my
best course was to try and engage the enemy Carrier at the earliest
possible opportunity. Well, I successfully predicted an island she would
try to capture, and steamed into the conflict at full speed with the
intention of causing much gloom and dispondency. In the event, after
losing a pair of my treasured aircraft, which only seemed to inflict minor
damage on the enemy vessel, I came under such intense fire that my hangar
lift was disabled, and I was unable to launch any further aircraft.
Fumbling frantically with the unfamiliar controls, I had just enough time
to inform the repair crews that the lift should almost certainly be
treated as a priority, before being blown out of the water. Great stuff.
A classic? Most definitely.

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