UFO: Enemy Unknown (Third Review)

Title           UFO: Enemy Unknown (aka XCOM: Enemy Unknown) (Third Review)
Publisher       Microprose (1994)  (Rereleased by Acid Software/Guildhall)
Game Type       Combat Sim
Players         1
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibility   All Amigas (separate AGA and ECS versions)
Demo            Screenshots - aminet: game/misc/ufoeupics.lha
Game data/utils Numerous cheats/savegame editors - search aminet for UFO
Submission      Dennis Smith  Profiled Reviewer

Julian and Nick Gollop are responsible for some of the best turn-based
strategy games that appeared on the Spectrum and then the other 8-bit
computers, most famously Laser Squad and Lords Of Chaos. When they came to
write a new game on modern PC's they created perhaps the best of all such
games - UFO. The multi-player aspect of previous turn-based games (which
was something of a weakness, being slow and subject to cheating) was
dropped in favour of a sinister computer opponent in the form of an
invading fleet of aliens of many different kinds.

There are two aspects to the strategy. On the global scale you must build
UFO detection stations with space for interceptor aircraft, stores of
weapons, somewhere to keep your ground troops, space for scientific
research and so on. At the same time you must manage financial resources
and deal with the alien threat when it is spotted, sending planes to shoot
down the UFO's and to deploy ground troops to clear up afterwards. The
clearing up operations form the second part of the game, the isometric
turn-based section in which you move your troops around and take action
against the surviving aliens - who are armed and dangerous.

As the game progresses, you encounter bigger and stronger UFO's, with
bigger, more dangerous, more heavily armed aliens; in turn you must
research the alien technology and develop your own weapons to match. The
two sides to the strategy are perfectly balanced and the game really draws
you in. As you progress there are more challenges - you may find alien
bases or they may invade your bases, and ultimately you must discover the
source of the alien fleets and deal with it.

Written originally for the PC, the game relies on the heavy computing
power of the Pentium processors to make the game playable despite
less-than-optimised code for the alien AI routines and the screen
drawing. The Amiga coders have done a very good job, against tight
deadlines, to bring us a playable version of the game. It is lacking some
things though, such as the night-time missions, and it can be very slow at
times, patience-tryingly, especially when dealing with large UFO's, but it
has the polished presentation and all the playability of the PC version.
The sheer addictivity of the game overrides your frustrations and you'll
find it exceptional and enthralling to play.  Some would say that it is
perhaps too easy but there is sufficient range of difficulty levels to
offer a fine challenge to players of any ability. An all-time classic.

Category list.

Alphabetical list.