You are in control of X-COM: an organization formed by the world's governments to fight the ever-increasing alien menace.
Command deadly close-combat battles
Shooting down UFOs is just the beginning: you must then lead a squad of heavily-armed soldiers across different terrains as they investigate the UFO crash site. Tackle the aliens with automatic rifles, rocket launchers, and even tanks in the struggle to retrieve useful technology, weapons or life forms.
Research and manufacture alien technologies
Successful ground assault missions will allow X-COM scientists to analyze alien items. Each new breakthrough brings you a little closer to understanding the technology and culture of the alien races. Once you have sufficient research data on the UFO's superior weapons and crafts, you'll be able to manufacture weapons of equal capability.
Develop a strategy to save the Earth
You must make every crucial decision as you combat the powerful alien forces. But you'll also need to watch the world political situation: governments may be forced into secret pacts with the aliens and then begin to reduce X-COM funding.
You'll never see me write a game this high again, and the only reason I'm not going with full 100% is because of DOSBOX and compatibility issues (just get OpenXCOM, it fixes the game for you without a problem and it's not hard to set up). Imagine RTS, TBS, Management, and GodGame all combined into one. You search constantly for UFOs on a Geoscape, set up a base (and later build more bases), and try to do a good job defending the Earth. If you fail to please the council, your funding will take a serious blow and you'll slowly become financially crippled. Once you've spotted a UFO, you send out an interceptor. Try to do the battle over land... if the UFO falls in the water, it's gone without salvageable resources. Shoot it down by using either cautious, normal, or aggressive attacks to knock it out of the sky. Send in a Skyranger team to clear out surviving aliens. Either they take the aliens down and you get some alien artifacts to research and reverse-engineer, or you lose half your squad and retreat (followed by weeping and smashing your computer). -- This game, with UFO encounters completely generated and rarely forcing you on scripted events, will be a different experience each time. That said, don't feel bad when the aliens hand your ass to you on a silver platter. This is the kind of game you'll want to keep replaying every few years, as on my fourth playthrough I still haven't been able to win. It usually isn't an unfair shot, however... it's your own tactical mistakes that cause you to lose your battles, something you can learn from to make the next battle a surprising victory. As you can see, I have to speak highly of this game. It's simply the best purchase I've ever made on a game. No regrets here, as this game got its praise for a reason. As for how it's aged? Read the first few pages of the manual (PDF) in the files to learn the HUD, then you're good to go. Aside from a bit of "what does this button do" experimentation, it won't be too hard to get into the game. As for graphics, it's pretty much pixel art. OpenXcom will fix most of the interface problems for you. I still recommend the 2012 reboot "Enemy Unknown" as an entry point into this series, but this game beats all others in the franchise. Better submit this review before I try to change it to a 100...
Alright, yes, this is a clunky game. It came out two decades ago, give it a break. Now, let's just talk about how awesome this game was and still is. You start out with a ragtag group of soldiers, most die, but one or two stick around. You start favoring them, making sure they make it back from missions. Then something bad happens, a squaddie gets mind controlled, shoots another in the back, throws down his gun, and wanders into the black. From there, it all ends in disaster. One lone newbie staggers back on the jet, terrified. He's now the most veteran of your roster. That is this game in a nutshell. You get the highs of watching all your plans fall into place, and the lows of watching your plans fall apart. I love this game.
In case you have never played an X-Com game, the plot is pretty much the same in every entry. There is an alien invasion on Earth, it is your job to get rid of it. Gameplay varies a little from entry to entry (Excepting "The Bureau" and the latest one). In this case, we could say the gameplay is divided into two different phases: The managing phase, in which you manage the anti-alien bases, different platoons, research, manufacturing, among other things, like detecting alien presence in different parts of the world. Then there is the combat phase, in which you control one of your squads, and battle alien forces. Now, the game is challenging, even in the first difficulty setting for beginners. You really need to take care of everything happening in the world, and there are many ways to lose the game. Graphics are alright, considering it came out in 1994. Sound effects are generic, and the soundtrack is okay, to say the least.
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