Ever wonder what it’s like to be one single cannon fodder-like unit in a game of Command and Conquer? Now you can find out.
Westwood Studio’s Sole Survivor is the latest release to the Command and Conquer lineup. However, if you are expecting the usual "process ore, build base, build units, destroy the enemy" foray, you’re only have part of the equation right.
The only thing listed above that would describe Sole Survivor is "destroy the enemy." Sole Survivor is an online-only game where you control ONE UNIT and attempt to destroy all those around you. Units range from foot soldiers, to humvees, to tanks, all the way up to the Mammoth Tank powerhouse. There are also dinosaur units and biological forces as well to add into the mix.
At first glance, it would seem as though the tanks would be able to easily overpower foot soldiers, but that is not the case with Sole Survivor. Many things can happen on the field of battle to shift the odds. Take the complex role of power-up crates for instance.
Scattered all over the map are various color-coded power-up crates. Standard brown crates are various power-ups, including extra armor, speed, firepower, range and rapid fire. Brown crates can also result in a unit being teleported, toggle stealth mode (no one can see you unless you fire or are smoking), reveal the entire map or uncloak all players.
But if you feel like getting too greedy, watch out. Those who are fully powered up might get a surprise when picking up a brown crate: an ion cannon blast could melt you to scrap. Ouch!
Steel crates provide a mega-boost to one of your attributes without the risk of teleporting, stealth or ion cannon blasts. Green crates provide a full recharge, but at the risk of possibly triggering a nuclear bomb. Finally, the red crates are known as Armageddon crates, as they destroy EVERY unit on the map.
Sole Survivor’s gameplay is basic total anarchy, especially since the goal is to destroy everyone you see. There are also some very well done Capture the Flag modes present. There is the usual Capture the Flag which could be played by up to 4 teams, and a new Football style mode where a single flag (ball) must be carried over to your teams goal zone. And when you consider that up to 50 people can play at one time, that could result in some very impressive battles.
On the other hand, having 50 players could also result in extremely slow game play. I played Sole Survivor on my Pentium 150 with a 33.6 modem, and sometimes the lag was so extraneous, that at one moment my tank stood still and the next: it jumped off the screen. Only later did I find out that my unit was destroyed. This is one game that shouldn’t be played during peak hours, but when it does run, it’s a great experience.
My suggestion for this game is to play it when you think that your Internet provider is fairly open, and it’s best to play a game with between 10 and 20 players. That way, you can enjoy a tough challenge without worrying about lag getting in the way.
As for getting started, all that is required is a Pentium 90 with 16MB of RAM, a 28.8 modem and an existing Internet connection. Internet providers Mindspring, Global Network, and Earthlink have membership kits for new users, and Westwood has their own free chat program included to launch you right into the action. If you can deal with the sometimes bad lag, Sole Survivor is a definite plus to the constant monotony of Quake and C & C online clones. And it’s a darn good game in its own right.