UFO - Enemy Unknown (Second Review)

Title		UFO - Enemy Unknown (Second Review)
Game Type	Combat simulation
Players		1
Compatability	AGA and ECS versions
Submission	Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

I was initially put off this game because it didn`t work very quickly on
what I felt was my relatively new and shiny 1200. And it should have, darn
it. It wasn`t real time, texture mapped 3D, was it? Anyway, after buying a
friend`s 030 accelerator, I went back for another look. This time my
expectations were not so high and I was happily surprised with the game`s
playability, indeed, I`m quite sure the game is perfectly playable on
plain 1200 providing you`re keen, and can put up with the delays when the
computer is thinking through it`s moves.

Okay, the game itself: UFO, has a very similar scenario to the Gerry
Anderson TV classic of the same name. You`re controlling a hastily
assembled international defence force against what starts as a series of
raids by a race, or more acurrately several  races, of Space Aliens! The
game is played initially from a main control screen where you can view and
magnify any part of the Earth, and it is here that you select the country
to build your first base. In UFO you`re not really that concerned with the
sea and oceans, so it makes sense to place your base where it will be able
to protect as much land as possible. Pretty soon, providing you`ve
purchased some radar equipment, you`ll be notified of an incoming UFO and
if you`ve got an interceptor, you`d be well advised to bring the bounder

The interception sequence is not like a flight simulator or anything, but
it is quite nicely organised with it`s own GUI. Assuming you successfully
bring the Aliens down, you can now send in your ground force. Being as
this is their first mission, don`t expect anything too amazing from your
people. They have yet to acquire the skills and experience that will
transform them to near SAS standards. This part of the game, is conducted
in a format similar to Laser Squad, and seems to me to be a pretty
realistic simulation of controlling a small Infantry mission. The game
calculates what you can see,  and what remains hidden, and most
importantly allows you to allocate how much time you use for each turn. By
using less time, you will accomplish less, but you will then have
sufficient time in reserve to respond if, during the Alien turn, Johnny
Six-legs sticks his bonce out of a window and starts blasting his death
ray in your direction. Common sense stuff, like not charging in like
Rambo, making sure you make good use of any cover, positioning your
soldiers in such a way that they can offer mutual support, and attempting
to cover all the angles as oppose to turning your back on an area likely
to be filled with hidden aliens, all these things hold true in UFO, and to
some extent it is probably quite educational.

My only problem with the game, is that there are an awful lot of these
missions that need to be run before you complete the game, and I have to
admit that, for the moment anyway, I`ve run out of stamina. That`s just me
though, and a great many people have nothing but praise for the game, and
I must say that the unfolding plot as you progress through the story is
pretty compulsive. I haven`t  even mentioned all the research projects you
can initiate, have I?!  No real complaints then, UFO is worth the original
asking price, and at today`s prices represents very good value. There is
now an ECS version which will also run on AGA, it has less colours but is
supposed to be quicker.

It's a few months later, and I've now finished the game. I stand by what I
said, but I have to report that I now admire the game even more than I
did. A very exciting final mission where you're not concerned with
capturing aliens or recovering artifacts, just zapping the insectoid scum!
Brilliant. I had thought that the game was good but a little too long
winded, but now I think it's just about right. There are avenues of
research that I haven't properly explored such as the Psi powers, which I
mean to investigate in the future. Very satisfying stuff.

Category list.

Alphabetical list.