Got a high-powered machine and really enjoy the real time build and conquer games? Then you owe it to your self to check out Enemy Nations from Windward Studios!
Similar to such games as Starcraft, Red Alert, Age of Empires, etc., Enemy Nations takes real time strategy and combines it with the best of the real time builders likes of Civilization, War Craft and Heroes of Might and Magic! The resultant real time builder / strategy game is truly worth the investment in time and effort to become familiar with.
The minimum platform is only a 486 / 66 machine but to truly get what this game has to offer you need a lot more. The video requirements are intense but worth the time to acquire. The game runs on the minimum platform, just not very well. It is slow and sluggy and I would not recommend trying it on anything less than a 200 MHZ or better Pentium II with 64 MB of RAM and, of course, the video card as per the requirements.
My machine is an Intel Pentium III 500 MHZ, 128 MB of RAM and with the latest Voodoo 3 3000 PCI video card and in trying to get the game to run properly I found that I had severe video driver problems. (And I thought my machine was running well) The Windward Studios technical support staff deserves special mention here as they did not treat me like some novice gamer and responded within 24 hours to each of my e-Mail messages. Even when it became apparent that it was drivers that were the problem, they still helped out. Cudos to the Windward Studios Technical Support Staff. This alone makes them stand out in the current sea of real time strategy games!
Enemy Nations is not for everybody and there is a significant learning curve to become proficient with the control interface and mechanics of this truly impressive game. Visually appealing yet intellectually stimulating at the same time, I think I died and went to heaven! The graphics are something to see, thus the need for good video equipment. There is lots of stuff going on at the same time in this game.
The terrain is random for each game and there are four different resources that need to be found, defended and harvested in order to make the arms and armament necessary to gain control of the planet under contention for whichever of the 12 races you choose to play. Wood (forests), Oil (little oil barrels), Coal and Iron all need to be found so that the appropriate building can be built over them (the cursor will turn into the floor plan for the building which will turn nice and white when over a sight that can support it) and then the computer-run trucks will begin lugging the materials back to the Smelters, Refineries and Steel mills that require them. Oh did I mention that resources will deplete and that you MUST defend your buildings from the other greedy alien races you choose for your game? Did I also mention that you need to build a Vehicle Construction plant to turn out the Trucks and Cranes that you will need to expand your settlement?
Are ya getting the feel for this yet? You also will need to build farms, office buildings and research facilities (a slight SimCity feel as well here) in order to succeed in your attempt at total world domination. While you are doing this the other players, human, computer or Internet (again your choice here) will be doing the same thing trying to gain control of the world for their race. What a grand melee this can turn into!
I mentioned a learning curve for this game earlier in this review. It is not all that difficult to get used to; it just takes a little time and effort. Don’t expect to install and immediately run your first game! The manual is a great place to start this process. Also included with the game is a multi-scenario tutorial that walks you through the beginning of a game from planet landing to conflict with your neighbors in a step by step method! Between the manual and the tutorial you will be ready to take on any level of AI opponents or human opposition of your choice, after a little while. The wealth of information, presented on the screen, along with the various pull down screens available to you will become integral parts of your control center for takeover of Dacton IV (the LAST planet in the universe that can support life and is uninhabitable). How’s that for a final conflict!
The building sequence takes on a very logical pattern. Build farms to feed the people and houses for them to live in. Harvest the lumber, coal, iron and oil to feed the smelters, power generators and refineries that will produce the material that will allow you to beat your opponents on the field of battle (which hopefully will be their background and not yours). Build the Vehicle Construction Plant to turn out the means to expand your settlement and the Army camp to turn out the troops to defend your holdings and conqueror your opponents’ holdings and you are ready to face the opposition! Do not forget to provide office buildings for your people and the ever important research facilities that will allow you to upgrade weapons, discover new vehicles, capabilities and technologies as one that falls to far behind with research will have a much harder trek to total planet domination. Remember as well that multiple research facilities will speed new technology development and provide your forces that technical advantage over your enemies, whom ever they may be. Find this all a bit daunting? Don’t, as the computer will let you know when you run low on housing, resources, and power or office facilities.
The 12 possible races each have their own unique strengths and weaknesses as well. From the aggressive battle oriented, to the meeker research oriented, to one race that is weak in everything just for the game where one player has way more game experience than their opponents. And there is everything in between as well.
As I said in the beginning of this review, if you have a good machine and enjoy real time games (building or strategy) you owe it to yourself to give Enemy Nation from Windward Studios a crack. You will probably come back again and again. A solid 4 GiN gems for this impressive title!
I for one am anxiously awaiting their next release!