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Review by: Jim Brumbaugh
Published: July 18, 1997
The aliens have returned with a vengeance in X-COM: Apocalypse from MicroProse. The previous alien encounter had left Earth contaminated, and had forced dramatic climactic changes which made the planet uninhabitable. We discover that a majority of Earthlings decided to venture out into space to colonize other worlds. Even so, a self-contained, self-sustaining city was constructed on the Earth’s surface, designed to provide living space under the toxic cloud which surrounds the Earth. This achievement was called Mega-Primus, and it was a huge success for many years.
Now, in 2084, four years of social decay have taken their toll on this once-proud testament to engineering prowess. Dimensional Gates have been discovered in Mega-Primus, and it has been learned that these gates are being used by Aliens to infiltrate the city from another dimension. As the newly-assigned Commander of X-COM forces, it is the player’s job to defend Mega-Primus from the Alien incursions, research new technologies derived from recovered Alien artifacts and craft, and discover a way to defeat this menace. However, since X-COM is a covert government operation, these goals must be achieved while remaining as concealed as possible, or funding for the program may be decreased.
The player of X-COM: Apocalypse is given a number of tools to achieve the goals as set out above. The first thing the X-COM Commander will need to examine is the Cityscape screen, which is his window to Mega-Primus. The Cityscape Display provides him with a view of the city, which shows all the buildings, roadways and connecting walkway tubes between buildings. This is the city that X-COM is sworn to protect, so while combat in this area is possible, the prudent commander is advised to keep such encounters to a minimum. Each building has an owner, and clicking on a particular structure will reveal the owner of the building and the names of any X-COM forces that are at that location.
The initial X-COM base is located in the basement of one of these buildings, and it is marked with a red icon. As X-COM forces grow and new technologies are discovered, it will be necessary for the player to purchase new sites upon which he can build additional bases.
At the base of the Cityscape Screen is the Control Panel, which provides information to the player and allows access to the numerous resources available to the X-COM Commander. The Control Panel consists of a Message Bar which will display reports of activities taking place in the city, an Options Panel that allows the player to change the map display or to save or load a game, a set of VCR-like controls which will pause the action or will advance play at one of five different speeds, the Game Time display which contains the time of day at that point in the game, and the Central Information Panel. There are a number of different tabs that can be clicked upon in the Central Information Panel that will direct the player to eight different areas from which the player can control his X-COM forces and resources.
The Bases Tab takes the player to the Bases Display, which shows the physical layout of each individual base. It is here that the player builds new rooms to allow for Alien interrogations, research, training facilities, housing of Agents and repair of vehicles. It is also from the Bases Display that the player can hire civilians into service for X-COM or fire existing personnel, and can purchase new vehicles or equipment, or transfer items between different bases.
The Vehicles Tab delivers the player to the display which provides him with information about the vehicles owned by X-COM. It is from this display that vehicles can be armed, can be sent out to investigate any area on the city map, and can be dispatched to attack enemy aircraft or buildings. If an enemy aircraft or Alien ship is to be engaged in combat, it is at the Vehicles Display that the player can specify the Attack Mode of his vehicles or set waypoints for them in the Cityscape Screen in order to provide them with a specific flight path.
Agents are the backbone of the X-COM force, and the Agent Tab gives the player access to to all the functions needed to supervise his Agents. It is from this panel that Agents can be assigned to Combat or Psi Training, ordered to go to a selected building or return to base, and equipped with Equipment already purchased and kept in the base’s storage area.
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