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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: October 9, 1998
KKnD 2: Krossfire takes place roughly 40 years after the last struggle for survival on this grim planet. The last struggle took place between the Evolved, who lived on the surface and survived despite the effects of the nuclear war that had taken place there, and the Survivors, who made their living underground. This battle, played out in KKnD, featured the “standard” units of the Survivors vs. the Evolved and their mutated units, including giant scorpions and elephants complete with weapons. Now things have gotten even more interesting.
Those who fled the battle last time have allowed their respective races to live on (New Survivors and Further Evolved…but for the purposes of this review I’m going to refer to them as Survivors and Evolved). Now they’ll clash again, only this time it won’t just be with each other. A group of farming robots, called the Series 9, have basically become self-aware and now possess some serious firepower that they want to unleash on anyone they can find. They’re not too happy about being abandoned by their former masters and they’ve only got one thing on their minds now: revenge. Things are about to get really, really ugly.
The game is broken up into three separate campaigns, one for each race, for a total of 51 missions. Each campaign is played out on the main map that breaks up the surface of the planet into multiple sections. When you begin a campaign and choose a side, you’ll be presented with several options for your next mission. Select one of these options to get to the mission briefing and then get right into it. After you complete the first set of missions, you’ll be given a number of additional missions to complete. Essentially, you’ll work your way across the map in a non-linear/linear sort of way. You can complete the missions in any order you like, but you need to finish before you can move on. You can have several campaigns going at once and have them saved to different slots if you like. The computer will keep track of how far you’ve advanced for any of the three races in any slot you select.
Each territory you can select tells you who the enemy is for that mission, what the tech level is, and other such information that helps you select where you want to go next. You can also save within any mission at any time. You don’t actually get to name your saved game files, but rather the computer names them for you. Each file shows the name of the mission — good luck remembering the name of the last one you played when you have a bunch of files to choose from. To help with this problem, the file name also contains the date and time that you last saved each file, so you can simply look for the file with the most recent date and time to pick up where you left off. The only thing you can’t do is include clever words in the file name to remind you what the heck you were doing when you saved that mission.
Once in the game you’ll notice that things have changed since KKnD. The terrain is interesting with a lot more detail and effort than last time. Things look much crispier; putrid water looks a lot like putrid water; and the bombed-out cities make a nice backdrop for some of the missions. Underground tunnels connect different parts of the map that cannot be accessed any other way unless you have an aerial transport. Combat underground is pretty tough to do successfully, but the effect is still cool. Also, things like cliffs are not only more realistic looking, but they play a more important role this time. High ground is a definite advantage because you can’t shoot up a cliff with ground units, so you can put a couple turrets or tanks up high and have them pummel anything that moves on the road below.
All three races pretty much use the same structures. These include buildings to produce power, construct units and vehicles, repair them, or research new tech levels for the different buildings you have. Researching higher tech levels allows you to do things better and faster. You’ll get more power from each drop of oil, or repair vehicles quicker, or build more powerful and advanced units. Each side also has a variety of defensive structures they can build to help protect their base. These include different types of turrets that are effective against infantry, vehicles/animals, or aerial units.The Series 9 robots are sort of similar to the Protoss in Starcraft. They’re somewhat mysterious in nature, having converted from your standard John Deere tractors to serious killing machines.
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