Transport sits down at the broken “plate”. The outcome of this task depends on whether the state will continue to fund X-COM or we will sign our complete uselessness and the end of the Earth will come. The fog clears, I can see the aliens. It’s too late, I’ve already made my move. One of my soldiers dies, but the rest manage to survive in the meat grinder and successfully complete the task. The bitterness of victory. Leaning back in my chair, I assess my reserves of resources and realize that this is a matter of seams. At least with this victory, I got myself a few days of peace, during which I will have to finalize my strategy and be ready for the next visit of the alien invaders.
This is how I remember my first experience playing the original X-Com back in 1993, which was sold here and in Europe as UFO: Enemy Unknown. Two and a half decades have passed, but that game is still one of the best for me.
When a few years ago I heard that a remake of the legendary title was launched, I wondered if it was worth it? Despite the nostalgia and rose-colored glasses, the first part of the franchise was a great game that is not easy to beat. Luckily, 2012’s Enemy Unknown turned out to be a great game. To be honest, even better than the original dearly loved by me. It is a pity that not all games in the series are like that, there are enough black sheep in it.
In the end, I made a list of all the games in the X-Com series, ranking them in order of publication and without bothering with popularity ratings. But we already know which of them are beautiful and which deserve to be forgotten, right?
X-COM: UFO DEFENCE (UFO: ENEMY UNKNOWN)
X-COM: UFO Defense (UFO: Enemy Unknown)
Original. The legend that started it all. And you know, she looks good in her age. Do you know what else is beautiful in it? In fact, there are as many as two games in UFO, which was very rare in those days (remember, the eighties at that time only three years passed).
First: Geoscape mode, the art and mechanics of which were well ahead of their time. Yes, it doesn’t look the best today, but it still works great. Perhaps there are more tactics in this management than the 2012 remake.
X-COM: UFO Defense (UFO: Enemy Unknown)
Placing your first base in North America is not at all the same as in Europe. However, to understand the reason, you need to read the manual for the game, so go ahead and google it! The bottom line is that a bad start can ruin your entire game closer to the middle, which will be a very unpleasant surprise for you.
- Imagine that you, like myself, are playing it in the pre-Internet era. If you get stuck somewhere, you can’t just google a solution. No, you will have to write a letter (on paper!) To one of the many gaming magazines and wait a month for the latest release, hoping that you will be answered. Or wait a few years until search engines are invented.
- And this is even BEFORE you sent the transport to the downed UFO, where the fun began. If, for example, you forgot to load the weapons of your soldiers, then you could immediately evacuate. You can’t fight much with empty cannons.
You can of course get started with the series straight from the 2012 remake, but I still recommend giving this classic a try if possible. Despite its venerable age, she is able to give you many pleasant hours.
X-COM: TERROR FROM THE DEEP
X-COM: TERROR FROM THE DEEP
Terror From The Deep was the same UFO, only underwater and much more complex. And I only recently realized why: too many fans of the first part complained about the lack of high complexity. And then it got too late.
The second game of the franchise looked prettier, but under the new picture was the same AI and the same enemies that received a reskin. This fully explains the fact that the grenades flew under water at the same distance as on the surface. The game turned out to be more atmospheric, dark and … cramped. It is logical, because the action takes place on the seabed. And it’s still 2-in-1, where the Geoscape and the tactical part are just as wonderful as they are.
– Let’s make X-COM not on a global scale, but in a city? And let’s call the management mode Cityscape. Let’s call the city Mega Primus, it’s still the future! How do you like it?
– Cool! Let’s do it, just add real-time battles!
And they did just that.
The third game was the last good game in the series for many years. Real-time combat has added personality to Apocalypse and has nicely refreshed the franchise. Moreover, the players had a choice to fight step by step or in a new mode with the ability to pause and issue orders to their fighters. A whole new race of aliens had emerged, and trying to keep the city’s semi-criminal factions in check was a nightmare.
It was necessary to take into account the collateral damage that you caused to the city during the hostilities. If you bring great inconvenience to one of the factions, they will not just stop youfinance, and, in the end, will come to your soul. And it’s good if they only demand to return their money. Otherwise, you’ll have to fight them like bloody aliens.
Vikings: War of clans
From a management point of view, Apocalypse was similar to the rest of the X-COM games, differing, perhaps, in real time. She looked good for her time and, despite some oddities in economic relations with gangs and arms dealers, became almost a revelation in the genre.
Stop begging for money from different countries, let’s go into space. The strategic component is in place, but it is greatly simplified and has ceased to be step-by-step. Instead, you pilot a space fighter like in Wing Commander or X-Wing vs Tie Fighter. The only pity is that the Interceptor is neither one nor the other.
Frankly, I was really looking forward to this game. In its own way, it was very innovative, but the tasks very quickly rolled into a routine, and there was no way to miss them. I had to fly on the same missions over and over and over and over again … The multiplayer also raised questions, since it was only possible to fight against other players.
The Interceptor had its positive traits, but overall it was disappointing and frustrating. It’s a shame that we didn’t get to see the great game that it could become. The excellent potential, which could result in a whole separate direction of the franchise, was irretrievably ruined. It’s a pity.
X-COM: FIRST ALIEN INVASION
X-COM: First Alien Invasion
If you’ve never heard of this game, then you are not alone. I strongly doubt that you would play it even if you had the opportunity. I haven’t had the chance to try it myself, but judging from what I’ve read about First Alien Invasion, I’m in luck.
Yes, this is X-COM. And yes, it had to be played by email. Just think of email! Even in 1999, the idea was so-so. However, it is still better than the films of Uwe Boll.
To draw a conclusion about the quality of the game, it is enough to know a simple fact: it is not so easy to find a normal screenshot for an article about it.
Game not available on PC digital services
The moment when the developers (or publisher) wanted a third person shooter in the X-COM universe. It was played like a brainless, I beg your pardon, console arcade game, which was too lazy not only to polish it, even to test it properly. Imagine a shooter in which every (every!) Time you automatically switch to weapons picked up from the ground. Whether you like it or not.
Not that the game was very bad, no. Rather, it was nothing. There is nothing in it that deserves your attention. If you’re looking for something retro-inspired, buy yourself a PS1.