Exodus: The Last War (Second Review)

Title           Exodus: The Last War (Second Review)
Game Type       Management Sim
Company         Sland Media
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   CD, AGA or Graphics Card
Submission      Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

Exodus - The Last War, is an RTS, a realtime strategy, a game with direct
ancestry to the Amiga classic, Dune 2. If you're still not clear what
I mean, its a looky-downy, point and click on the soldiers and tanks game.

Actually, while the essentials of gameplay remain similar to those in Dune
2, the appearance, and the sound, have advanced some little way. Exodus is
a very nicely crafted Amiga game with first rate presentation. I don't
have a graphics card, and I'm pleased to say that on my AGA 060 system the
game looks nice and moves at a perfectly acceptable rate in the game's
high resolution mode (not silky smooth, mind you, but what do you
expect?). This means that in terms of smoothness, the game is a lot more
playable on a given system that the slightly earlier Clickboom game,
Napalm. This assumes that you are not using a graphics card, which
presumably will reduce the difference to a point where it doesn't matter.
One up for Exodus, for us Amiga chipset users then.

Having said all that, I do find that generally I need to reboot before
running the game though, as it likes a lot of Chip memory.

Initially you are treated to a rather good introduction which details how
the two races, the Zelds and the Moroi, originally came into conflict, and
how due to circumstances beyond either race's control, they are plunged
into a final struggle for survival. After this you choose which side you
wish to be (each race has 20 missions) and then you can commence play with
Mission One.

As is traditional with this genre, you are not able to use the more
advanced vehicles and facilities initially, but as you play further into
the game, you are given deeper access into the "toybox" and can wreak
havoc and suffering on your opponent far more effectively, with a greater
range of weaponry. Of course, this is also true for him.

While I like Dune 2 and have been aware of the various clones on other
platforms, the RTG genre has never really grabbed me by the throat, so I
would not describe myself as an expert with this game type. Perhaps
understandably then, I encountered some difficulties on some of the
earlier levels that possibly more seasoned players would have sailed

One example in particular involved a snowbound mission, where you are
located on the West side of the map behind some mountains, with a just a
thin gap allowing access to the rest of the map - where the bad guys are.

Without spoiling it for you, the mission is to wipe them out (the
translation is slightly dodgy) but that's the gist of it. The thing is,
there are masses of them!

You can hold your ground for ages, harvesting the ore and buiding vehicles
and troops, but that doesn't win the mission. I ended out sending a few
suicide recce missions, that uncovered most of the enemy territory and I
was surprised at the amount of vehicles, which incidently seemed far
superior, arrayed against me.

I thought about the situation for a while and came up with what I hoped
was a battle winning strategy. Well, the plan seemed good, and my
execution of it none too shoddy, and sure enough the enemy took one hell
of a pounding, but after a desperate and hard fought campaign, my
attacking units were eventually wiped out, although not without inflicting
some damage themselves, and I was back to square one.

I eventually beat the level, but at this point, if I had been required to
give a serious criticism of the game I would have said that in some of the
levels there is more requirement for the bludgeon than for the rapier - in
other words, its not about subtlety and strategy so much as kicking the
life out of your enemy with the biggest and largest amount of boots you
can find.

Now as the game progressed and I played through the levels and encountered
a variety of situations requiring different solutions I changed my
thinking about this. I was delighted to find that the game has more depth
than I initially suspected, and some of the situations thrown at me were
both novel and surprising.

There are 'survival levels' where you simply have to hold off an
overwhelmingly powerful enemy for a given amount of time. In a similar
vein, there is a mission where you must lead your convoy of vehicles to
safety, again against a numerically superior enemy. There are water based
missions too, but the mainstay of the game is the good old standard battle
where your base is attacked from one or more directions and you must
defend yourself as well as producing sufficent vehicles so that you can
yourself eventually take the offensive and destroy the enemy's base.

These missions often took me five hours or more, and that's not including
the failed attempts - thank goodness for the Save Game feature.

The game has been very nicely produced with a large number of nicely drawn
vehicles and buildings. There are plenty of nice touches too, like the
repair vehicle that welds your damaged tanks, complete with high
resolution sparks, and the "sploosh" that you occasionally hear when
fragments of an exploding building happen to land in water. Perhaps a
touch more variety and catering for finesse on the battlefield would have
been the icing on the cake, but Exodus is a very nice game indeed, and its
authors should be proud.

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