The review of Starship Troopers: Terran Command, a real-time strategy game based on Starship Troopers – Space Infantry, full of giant insects.
Starship Troopers – Space Infantry it is one of those films that did not make sparks in the cinema, despite the fame of the director Paul Verhoeven, who with Atto di Forza had made a bang, and despite the large budget spent to produce it. Even the criticism was rather lukewarm towards him, so much so that the fate of the film seemed to be oblivion. Thanks to the home market, however, over the years it managed to regain ground and became a work of worship, re-evaluated a little by everyone, including criticism and capable of giving life to various sequels.
It has failed to become a huge brand like a Star Wars or others, but if you are reading the today Starship Troopers: Terran Command review it is evidently because the war between humans and arachnids has also managed to find its place in the collective imagination.
Who are the good guys?
If we talked about the film and not Robert A. Heinlein’s book Space Infantry, from which the film is based, it is because the game is directly related to the film, with its satirical representation of a certain Nazi militarism and the vision of a humanity physically and mentally enslaved to the expansionist aims of totalitarian governments. Not for nothing was the first scene an adaptation of a sequence of The Triumph of the Will by Leni Riefenstahl, the most famous propaganda documentary of the Third Reich.
But we are digressing. The title of The Aristocratsa studio specializing in strategic, known among enthusiasts for the Order of Battle series, is obviously focused on humanity’s war against the arachnids, an alien race that lived peacefully until the terrestrials decided to colonize the planet Kwalasha to exploit its resources .
Like good parasites, humans don’t think twice before declaring war on whatever hinders them in seizing resources that do not belong to them, trying to make it pass for a battle of civilization and democracy. So here we are ready to lead the mobile infantry in a large-scale military campaign in which we will essentially try to exterminate what is in effect the indigenous population of the planet, so as to be able to suck their lifeblood undisturbed. Beautiful, is not it?
Starship Troopers: Terran Command is one single player real time strategy in which we will have to overcome a series of missions that make up the main campaign, using all the resources made available to us from time to time. Unlike other titles of the same genre, we will not have to go around collecting wood or stones to build bases and accumulate troops, but we will have to go around the maps reacting to what we will face and using our military strength to wipe out the arachnids, slipping into their burrows after exterminating the population. In total there are about twenty missions, which can also be replayed in scenario mode after having unlocked them in the campaign. There is no multiplayer mode, but there are five selectable difficulty levels for each map, which greatly increase the life of the game, in case you get carried away by its formula.
Missions are introduced by video clips well made that serve to acclimate the player to the scenario, offering him remnants of the ruthlessness of propaganda, the main engine of our actions. The game itself of first impact seems to be a very classic RTS, but the particularity of the main opponents makes it quite peculiar in its dynamics.
Basically we have a certain number of troops available from the beginning, which can be increased by calling reinforcements via radio after conquering communication centers and supply crates (the latter allow to increase the number of units that can be recalled). Formed our army, with the classic infantry armed with assault rifles, with units armed with flamethrowers capable of placing turrets, with snipers, with units armed with rocket launchers and whatever else, we must try to reach the targets reported from time to time, often multiple for each map. There are usually hundreds of arachnids to kill in between saying and doing.
In fact most of the battles, except those against other humans (which will add to the enemies as the game progresses), are basically played on the positioning and resistance. That is, to repel the enemy waves you must be able to exploit the bottlenecks present in the maps, as well as the heights, so as to have a better aim on the targets. Wrong positioning means that the enemies will have a good chance of getting to the throats of our soldiers immediately, taking them out in one fell swoop. The arachnids of them can be simple warriors, spitters, i.e. insects capable of spitting acid, tigers, substantially ultra-resistant warriors, tanks, i.e. large, powerful and very resistant insects and others. As we said later in the game, troops of rebel humans also pop up to attack us, equipped more or less like our men.
The strength of design
The strength of Starship Troopers: Terran Command over other real-time strategy is in map design, which clearly shows the exclusively single player conception of the game. Normally in RTS maps are battlefields, in which the different elements serve to balance the forces on the field. In single player the focus is always on the progression of the single mission, which is managed by areas, while in multiplayer the designers look for a greater balance, i.e. they aim to give players the same possibilities in terms of resources and distances to travel, so that they don’t feel disadvantaged in any way. Starship Troopers: Terran Command presents maps designed essentially to mark the different events of the missions and manage the progression of the player.
For example, in one map, space infantry find themselves having to defend a ruined outpost from waves of growing arachnids. The outpost is located in the center of the area, the waves come from the south, that is, from an area where we will never push ourselves and which serves to rhythm the timing of the attacks (in order to always give the player time to regroup) , while to the north there are mines that we have to free by sending some troops to advance.
After the initial organization, the map it becomes a continuous ping-pong between the outpost, which needs to be reorganized for attacks, and the assault team, which instead has to hunt for nests to clean up. In another case we find ourselves defending a prison from arachnid attacks, in a map that fully shows the objectives of Starship Troopers: Terran Command. Initially we have to find a fugitive by leading a small group of marines, so we have to escort him to the prison.
From here we have to organize the defenses of the walls, making sure that the arachnids do not disturb a certain event (which we are not going to tell you about). Between one assault and another we can send troops to recover resources to increase the number of troops. In all this we see an area of the map to the north that is apparently unused. It will be after rejecting some waves of insects, when we will be asked to clean it of rebels. Then we will return to defend the prison walls from a vast final wave. It all happens within a single mission.
The limitation of this setting is only one: there is hardly any form of continuity between one map and the next, so everything is reset each time. Elite units (by fighting, each unit can acquire elite level, which unlocks an additional skill) also disappear, replaced by fresh cannon fodder. Everything makes sense, given the particular structure of the game, but it is also true that in this way the sense of continuity of the whole is lacking a little, also thanks to the fact that narratively Starship Troopers: Terran Command is very committed to clarifying its key elements, less to tell a story that amalgamates everything.
From a technical point of view, therefore, from the graphics, don’t expect who knows what from Starship Troopers: Terran Command. The action is viewable at different zoom levels and shows genre-like detail for both map elements and units. It is true that most of the time you follow the action from the maximum zoom distance, to have a clearer view of the action, so you don’t pay much attention to the presence or absence of graphic goodies whatsoever. However, there is a great atmosphere thanks to the right choice of different color palettes for each mission.
In terms of general cleaning the action is always easily readable, but we have encountered some problems with the pathfinding of the drives, which in some cases literally get stuck. Imagine how nice it was when we found ourselves in front of a tank without our units armed with rocket launchers, stuck on a rock. That said, we haven’t had too frequent cases where we have not been able to apply our tactics for reasons beyond our ability, so the overall judgment is still good from this point of view, always considering that the game will be updated over time. .
- The missions are well designed
- The atmospheres of Starship Troopers are very well reconstructed
- Slaughtering dozens of arachnids has its own reason
- Little cohesion between campaign missions
- A few bugs too many, but those that cannot be shot
#Starship #Troopers #Terran #Command #review #realtime #strategy #full #bugs