AMD Radeon X1900 XT
Developed by Gas Powered Games alongside the legend of a man who brought us the old classic, Total Annihilation, Supreme Commander has a lot to live up to. Ten years have passed since we have finally been gifted with a new game, that could very well push aside its spiritual predecessor, win its crown and reign from this day onwards as the new god of the genre.
Does Supreme Commander have what it takes to blast its way into the stars, or will it blow up in orbit? Read on to find out.
‘You have your orders, Lieutenant. You gate at 1130 hours. Dismissed’. Yes, Ma’am, I will. After a rather dull tutorial made up of some text, a few demonstration videos and a bit of fooling around with my own personal Armoured Command Unit, more commonly known as ACU, I seem to be judged as worthy enough to take the fight to the enemy. Basic training at 37th Century West Point sure doesn’t ask much of me. Ah well, it’s not like one of my minions will question the orders of an indomitable machine of war that is able to raise armies, buildings and destroy countless enemies with the same ease as Usain Bolt runs the 100 meters. I guess getting beefed up does count for something.
They came in peace...
The game is set around three different races, which couldn’t be more diverse. The United Earth Federation would be the closest thing we could relate to – a ‘normal’ federation of human planets representing the good old Homo Sapiens. Against them stand the Cybrants, former servants of the UEF, half human, half machine, fighting for their freedom, and the Aeon, a community of strangely trigger happy peace activists, that were inspired by the religion of a late alien culture. The Cybrants and Aeon themselves don’t have much love for each other either, so the stage is set for an epic clash and the conclusion of the greatest war the galaxy has ever seen – in this particular universe. The campaigns during this intergalactic FFA play during the closing hours of the UEF’s existence. A struggle ensues over an experimental device that seems to be existent in every single Sci-Fi game out there. Able to destroy whole planets with a mere click of the button, the ‘Black Sun’ is the last hope for the UEF and thus a primary target for both the Aeon and the Cybrants.
Depending on your choice of race, you’ll either protect this salvation or try to destroy the bloody thing in an all-out assault. The background to the story is solid and even surprising in parts. In what other universe have Cyborgs been only trying to rid themselves of human influence instead of acting as the aggressors? – I can’t count many. Yet, while the Cybrants reasons for militant actions might be unorthodox, the stories of each campaign do not prove to be the highlight of your Supreme Commander experience. A short briefing, prior to the mission, and voice communications during deployment, give the player enough to feel like he is engaged in a gigantic struggle, yet they do not reach their absolute potential. Your commanders will frequently pressure you to finally take that base you were ordered to storm 15 minutes ago, yet except spamming the voice communication every so often, nothing happens. The game could have introduced a hidden countdown triggering certain penalties or events if the player failed or hadn’t even attempted to launch his assault up to this point. As it stands now, these interruptions provide nothing but a nuisance.
Behold - The Hedgehog of Doom!
The campaigns themselves start off simple and, for now, let’s try to assist our human brethren - The cool ones…not the ‘let’s-make-the-galaxy-a-better-place’ hippies.
So here I am, feeling like some reject, on some God forsaken planet dubbed Capella by some person, sometime in the past. My mission? Well...it’s simple - protect the planet and kill everything that pops up as red on my screen. Splendid, that should do. But before I can even lift my finger, I get, in true military style, shouted at by my superior. Seems like he doesn’t take kindly to this rookie and yes, he is quite frank about it. Fair enough, you do your shouting Sir, I’ll just pass it on, that’s what the military is famous for anyway. A base is quickly established, the first enemy contact is light, and early successes make me forget all the Colonel’s shouting that hurt my feelings so bad. Time to look around and in true commander style, I don’t have to try to make sense of some little box somewhere along the bottom of my screen; No, a simple turn of the mouse wheel and I go zooming out so much that I can see the whole map, its geographical features, buildings, units and resources while still being able to send out orders. Oh yes, that’s what I am talking about; I feel like I am in charge, a great overlord, dictating more than a mere skirmish, but operating across a whole theater of war. Fear me mortals, for I am your doom.
Arachnaphobists shall flee before us!
Having completed the first few objectives, the mission continues and so does your operating area. The map expands, showing new features, giving way to new routes of attack and showing points of interest. As well as that, you are given access to new units and often are given a small, sneak peak, of more powerful machines of destruction to come.
- In the far future there is only war: Battles, Gigantic Battles
- Absolute Command: You are the shepherd and they will follow you to the gates of oblivion
- Great theatres of war: Zoom in, zoom out – command from a distance or get close and personal
- Diverse Races: Each race plays unique with their own strengths and weaknesses
- Sound effects: Close your eyes - You are now on a battlefield
- Soundtrack: With all that’s going one – You wont even notice
- Customization of your ACU: Questionable use of resources during the campaign
- Meager Tutorial: The campaign takes care of that
- Pathfinding: Sometimes it seems that they don’t have any TomTom’s in the future – but only sometimes
- ‘You still haven’t...’: Campaign voice messages are an irritation