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Review by: Josh Horowitz
Published: September 27, 2001
There have been many companies in recent years trying to achieve success through today’s popular computer entertainment trend: the real time strategy (RTS) game. This particular genre seems to fit perfectly on the computer platform versus living room console systems: They often require precise mouse movements, numerous keyboard commands, and a good amount of patience and strategy usually absent on an eight-button controller operated from the couch. Some would argue that the pinnacle of excellence in RTS titles came through Blizzard’s best-selling program, Starcraft, an offering with the right amount of play balance, multiplayer action, tactics, and shoot-em-up fun. There haven’t been many programs that offer the same wholesome entertainment of Starcraft, but new developers continue to step up to the plate. Now Fever Pitch Studios serves up a fresh helping of strategy gaming with their newest release, Conquest: Frontier Wars, a title that attempts to take RTS to a new level of massive space combat goodness.
Conquest has a bit of a storied development history. It was originally designed by Digital Anvil Studios, a Microsoft subsidiary headed by Chris Roberts of Wing Commander fame. Roberts’ direction can be seen in the storyline as well as the movie-like cutscenes, which have a distinct Wing Commander flair. After nearly being scrapped last year, Fever Pitch Studios and Ubi Soft commandeered the project, bringing their touches to a game hoping to redefine the RTS genre.
The story behind Conquest is standard military science fiction fare. In the future, the Terrans have begun to explore the far reaches of space, thanks to a new technology that allows safe travel through wormholes. During one expedition, the science vessel Andromeda, helmed by Admiral Hawkes, finds itself thrust into the middle of a civil war involving a new insectoid alien race called the Mantis. The Andromeda is destroyed in a collision with a Mantis warship, and all aboard are feared lost. The Terrans learn about the incident when they pick up the destroyed ship’s distress beacon, and after investigating, they discover that the lost beacon only marks the beginning of a much larger conflict.
As commander of the Terran forces, it is your duty to construct bases, gather resources, and build massive starfleets to combat the Mantis, who appear poised to conquer Terra itself. Along the way, you discover new allies and uncover devious treacheries while trying to bring a resolution to the interstellar conflict. New tactics come into play as you deal with multiple star systems at once, all connected by wormholes. Supplies are not unlimited, and it is your job to ensure that supply lines between your home system and explored regions remain intact by building special jump gates. Careful navigation through space is also important, as dangerous asteroid fields, nebulae, and black holes can impede your progress.
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