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Review by: Pete Hines
Published: September 19, 1997
In the 21st century, things are pretty screwed up, especially our genes. People can’t survive on Earth without liquid evolution drugs, or L.E.D. In L.E.D. Wars, you attempt to help your corporation survive on the rather desolate planet that remains by producing L.E.D. pills and eliminating your enemy, and taking all his L.E.D. too. If you are familiar with any of the above-mentioned real-time strategy games, then you will have no trouble picking up on L.E.D. Wars. You progress through a series of 14 missions, each requiring the completion of several objectives, which always includes the elimination of any enemy forces. In some missions, you will begin with a small number of buildings or units, but in others you may have to start from scratch. Success depends on mining enough L.E.D. and oil to supplement production of any needed buildings and units.
Everything in this game centers around some combination of three important resources: L.E.D., power, and oil. L.E.D. is obtained by cultivating and planting seeds, then harvesting the crops when they are ready and returning them to the refinery. Power is produced through Quantum Plants and provides energy for buildings. Oil is obtained by building drills and then is used to construct buildings and all vehicles. To plant more crops, which can be used to produce more L.E.D. pills, you have to produce seeds which can be spread by a seeder on fertile land, and then harvested when the time is right.
Twenty buildings are available in L.E.D. Wars. They range from barracks for building troops and vehicular factories for motorized units, to seed factories and refineries for the growing and cultivating of L.E.D. Buildings require one or more of the three main resources in order to be constructed. The game is set up in such a way that you don’t have to put buildings right next to each other in order for them to have power, a feature I find somewhat annoying in other games. In fact, you can plunk down a building just about anywhere, which is especially handy when you find an L.E.D. field far from your base and you don’t want to have to make long trips from the refinery — just build a new refinery right there.
The game contains a hierarchy for both units and buildings. So, what building you decide to construct will impact what units you will be able to create, and also determines what other, more advanced structures will be available. For example, building a radar will not only allow you to see what is going on in other parts of the map, outside of your immediate view, but also enables your barracks to produce rocket troopers. Research facilities will expand the possibilities and make you a much more formidable opponent.
Mostly, you will want to spend your time blowing away the other guy(s). While the 14 missions in the game vary as to the focus, they are not too different. Each starts you with a given number of buildings and units. Your task is to survive and eliminate all opposition. The game does have a storyline that moves you from one mission to the next, sort of. Some missions will be to attack an enemy base or reclaim some L.E.D. fields, while others will be rescue missions or assassination efforts.
L.E.D. comes with an editor that allows for several possibilities. First, you can play the levels as stand-alone games and allocate additional resources to either side. If you find a level too hard to complete, add some additional units and resources, or even a few buildings. On the other hand, many gamers like to add to the challenge of a game and the editor allows you to see just how tough you can make the enemy and still defeat him. Also, the editor allows for customized maps that can be created for multi-player games, or contests against the computer.
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