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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: March 8, 1998
To their credit, Microforum never tried to pretend that Armored Moon was going to be anything but what it is. When I saw that the news release on this game highlighted the fact that every copy would come with a $10 rebate in the box, I knew this one was going to be a doozy. It is essentially a real-time strategy game targeted towards people who are still using a 486 and are in need of a new title to play. Let that be a warning shot across the bow to the rest of you.
At the beginning of the 21st century the Earth was ravaged by disease and disasters. Humans, being the resilient little buggers that they are, formed a plan to colonize the moon using special new technology that had been developed…thus allowing us to see how bad we could screw up that celestial body, seeing as how we did so well on this one. Of course, it doesn’t take long before a large multinational group discovers the vast resources beneath the surface of the moon which will greatly affect the Earth’s future. In a show of real comradery the group, known as G7, starts redrawing the territorial maps that divide up the moon among the countries of Earth…and then just starts claiming everybody else’s territory, since the map redrawing was taking too long. Now you must lead the special military forces of Union 24 against G7 and bring peace and harmony back to the surface of the moon, blah blah blah.
The only resource you need to keep track of in the game is money. You’ll have some at the start and gain additional money from the towns that you control. Each town has a set value and will send you subsidies every 30 seconds of game time. You then use this money to create structures and call in units for the sole purpose of destroying the other guy. There are basically five structures in the game, not counting the towns (which you can’t build anyway): teleporters, control centers, energy towers, bunkers, and airports.
Teleporters allow you to call in desired units from the space carriers where they reside. Control centers allow you to control 10 units at a time. Energy towers provide energy to any nearby ground or flying units. Bunkers are defensive structures that attack any nearby G7 forces. They can be either gun bunkers, missile bunkers, or plasma bunkers. Finally, airports allow you to teleport in flying units.
The game only has a handful of units and each is pretty much named to represent exactly what it is. There are four main ground units in the game: gun, missile, laser, and plasma. Three of the unit types (gun, missile, and laser) have both a standard and heavy version, while there is only one type of plasma unit. The other three units in the game are cyborgs, fighter units, and suppliers. Cyborgs are used to capture an enemy town and bring it under your control. Fighter units are flying units that use plasma weapons. Suppliers are mobile units that provide energy to the units on the ground, which helps restore their shields.
So, each of the 10 missions essentially steps you through the process of taking over towns and destroying G7 forces. You are usually constrained by the finite number of units you can build in a given mission and a time allotment for completing the mission objectives. The enemy, on the other hand, can pretty much do whatever it wants and crank out as many units as it wants to. What units and structures you can build are predetermined at the start of each mission. A menu bar on the right side of the screen keeps a running tally of how many of each you have left to build. The game offers quick key commands that allow you to select all units of a given type or assign any grouping of units to a hot key.
Of course, just because you still have units left to call in doesn’t mean you can just have them whenever you want. You have to have the money to pay for them, which is usually helped by taking control of other towns. All you have to do is command a cyborg to enter the town in question and when it does you will begin receiving your subsidies. You can also get money by having your supplier recycle the bits and pieces left behind by destroyed enemy units. That’s really all there is to it. The manual provides a brief overview of the objective of every mission, which you will also receive before you begin each one. Keep your eyes on the time, your units, and your money supply, so you don’t run out of any of them.
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