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Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

By Bobfish29-07-2013
MrJenssen (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

The Defence

Bohemia Interactive
Bohemia Interactive
Strategy, Shooter, Simulator
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core i5
AMD Athlon Phenom X4
Nvidia GeForce GTX 460
AMD equivalent
4 GB
4 GB

The Case


Carrier Command: Gaea Mission. A re-imagining of a little known, but well-loved, strategy game from days of yore. Made by those lovely people who bring us the highly praised, though flawed, ARMA games. How well do their talents translate across to a more sedate, though equally tactically oriented style of play? Walrus.

The Trial


Let me start by saying...Walrus.

Ugh, where do I even begin? Gaea Mission is a tough one to pin down. On one hand it has a compelling narrative (short version, not enough water on Earth and a new planet has been found with lots of it) and some intriguing blends of strategy and first person shooting. On the other hand, it has the fucking Walrus! Boy, oh boy. The Walrus! Don't even get me started on that abomination!

Yup, cinematics should just hide in the brush.

Yup, cinematics should just hide in the brush.

Unfortunately, that's my job, so here we go. The Walrus is an aquatic land tank - because that makes sense - on wheels with the pathfinding capabilities of a sponge. I kid you not. There were times when I'd set a path for my Walri (now officially the plural of Walrus because I bloody well said so!) which was nice, simple, straight forward and nitpickingly detailed enough to make absolutely sure I wouldn't run into any terrain too difficult to traverse. Like steep hills, swamps, bridges...open ground.

Then, because it bloody well wants to, one of my four Walri decides it doesn't like that plan, so it starts driving back and forth in a slight curve because... yeah, just because. The other three carry on happily as you like, until one of them decides it's bored, or tired, or the colour mauve reveals all the secrets of the universe. And it will just stop. Nothing else. Just stop and sit there. No matter how many times I tell the bloody thing to move, it will just sit there and do nothing. The only solution seems to be to take direct control of it, make it dock, then send it back out again.

Speaking of docking. You launch your Walri and - later on, the flying Manta - from an enormous carrier battleship, hence the name. After which you can point and click to control your units, either individually, grouped by kind, or by selecting any combination you feel like at the time. Or you can take direct control of one unit, which is especially useful if you want to do some sneaky scouting. Or for the final battle, but more on that in a moment.



Honestly speaking, for the most part, the game works the way you'd expect. It just tends to break sometimes, leaving a great degree of frustration and, in my case, eventually leading to the point where I kitted my Manta squad out with missiles and just killed everything. Literally everything. I was supposed to be capturing a command centre, which is the objective on all but the final map. But I'd become so enraged by the complete inability of my Walri to stop looking at their own bloody feet, I implemented a scorched earth policy. Which included bombarding my own units and blowing up the carrier. Because...because Walrus, really.

If it isn't obvious yet, the game is incredibly flawed. These aren’t small, annoying little glitches that lead to slightly frustrating situations. It's one of those all-pervasive cluster f...things that you can't do anything about but grind your teeth at and take up the jacksie like a good little bitch. But - and this is a very, very big but - despite all of this, I still recommend the game. Quite heartily in fact. I mean, there have already been patches to address the pathfinding issue, it's not something that's just being ignored. So they'll fix it...eventually...right? There's also the carrier itself. Undeniably my very favourite part of the game is direct, carrier-to-carrier combat. You don't have the same kind of direct control over the carrier as with the Walrus, leaving you to rely on point and click navigation. But you can scrap a previous waypoint and choose a new one at any time, leaving you to take personal control of one of the various heavy turrets on deck to blast the opposing battleship. Or go to the overview and watch them all unload devastating broadsides automatically as the two boats glide past each other. A truly spectacular sight to behold, let me tell you.

Strategic gameplay with Artificial Intelligence...nesless.

Strategic gameplay with Artificial Intelligence...nesless.

There are also, as I said, some first person sections. Beyond taking control of individual Walrus or Manta units. It's a bare bones kind of affair, but it works fairly well, and does do a lot to break up the inherently repetitive nature of this RTS. No weapon switching (though you can find an alternate weapon in some levels which can be used for the rest of that area), no jumping, just move from point to point and shoot things as they pop up in front of you. You'll also find that the largest amount of plot development dialogue seems to happen during these stages.

All in all, it's not a terrible game. The control scheme is simple enough so that, for the most part, you can play it almost entirely with one hand using the mouse if you really want to, making it one of those great games to have going whilst you're doing something else.

Though mostly unimpressive visually, it’s still decent enough. Water, unsurprisingly, is one of the most important textures in the game, as everything takes place on one of a series of islands in a massive archipelago. It's obvious that most of effort was put into making the water look as impressive as possible, and it really does. Beyond that, nothing truly stands out on a technical level, but little things like your units changing their appearance based on the armour and weapon loadout is a really cool touch. And watching your carrier square off against an enemy, even if it's only a flight of Mantas, is at times visually stunning.

This game has some depth to it.

This game has some depth to it.

The sound design is top-notch. Very sparing music that never overwhelms, always fits, and is suitably epic in places - this is a battle for the very survival of the Human species after all - accompanied by voice acting that is solid for the most part, though not the most memorable on record. It's adequate, with several British accents you wouldn't usually expect to hear in, well, much of anything really. This made the main character, Liutenant Myrik, in particular feel much more relatable. His thick, Southern English brogue makes him so much more than the typical, bland everyman most games favour.

The Verdict


On the whole, Gaea mission is an annoyingly flawed, though solid hybrid bringing together some radically disparate elements, but makes them work together. The story is deep, offering two endings, but neither of them is all that great. Not to mention, the only way to get the 'good' ending is by shooting down the chief protagonist in a player controlled Manta dogfight...which is all but impossible to complete without using the game's built in aim assist. Frustrating, to say the least.

Case Review

  • Audio: Strong throughout, with an excellent musical score.
  • Narrative: The premise is strong, though the execution does waver towards the end.
  • Repetitive: Though each island has a different layout, it still comes down to a case of finding the command centre and taking control or destroying it.
  • Visuals: Nothing more than adequate for the most part, though I cannot stress enough just how impressive the naval engagements look.
  • Walrus: Just...just...FUCKING WALRUS!
Score: 3.5/5
An annoyingly flawed Walrus.
Comments (4)
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Posts: 3290

Manta ray?

Posts: 1317

Opel Manta?

Posts: 3290

They are decidedly tedious indeed -.-


Manta's on the other hand...

Posts: 1548

Damn WALRUS!!!! I hated those things!