Showing posts with label Military Madness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Military Madness. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Military Madness: Nectaris Remake Review (XBLA/PS3/WII)

2009/09/30 [XBLA/PS3/WII] [1] Military Madness: Nectaris Remake

Military Madness: Nectaris is a fully 3D remake of the original Military Madness back on the TG-16, or Nectaris on the PC-E back in 1989.  It's a tactical level wargame-lite, simpler than Advance Wars.  The 32 campaign maps are the same as ever, divided between normal and advanced campaigns.  The normal campaign is aimed at beginner to low-intermediate players, and the advanced campaign is around the intermediate level.  Mission strategy always involves rushing to claim factories, using factories to repair, surrounding enemies for support bonuses, and using the zone of control system to block enemies movement to and from factories.  I'm disappointed that they didn't bother creating some new maps or adding a level editor.  How many more decades are they going to keep reusing the same 32 missions?  Even the Playstation version of the game had some extra fan made missions included.

The lack of depth, such as no ammo, gas, or resource production/unit creation, still hurts the series with its lack of creative options to challenge the player with.  Combat outcomes tend to be fairly random - sometimes you'll get the full support and terrain bonus, and sometimes you won't get anything.  This is an intentional trait of most Nectaris titles.  Quicksaving is available if you feel the need to spam save/reloads to get the results you want.

The most notable addition to the game is online multiplayer for up to 4 players.  Each player gets a powerful general tank with customizable buffs to your units such as increased movement.  The maps and units are all predeployed much like the campaign.  I do like that the developers have added both a turn limit to each game and a real-time limit to each players individual turn.  The combination of limited units, limited turns, and limited real-time means games will be fast paced and over sooner than later.  Unfortunately the multiplayer involves leveling up, so long time players will be at an advantage vs new players - this may be one of the reasons why the multiplayer community is small to nonexistent today.

The graphics are clean and uncluttered, and the UI is decent.  Sound effects are fairly bland fare, and the music is best in the off setting.  There's not any plot or characters aside from invading the moon - it's just level after level of bare bones strategy.

Strategic Depth: Low.  It's bare bones, even for a wargame-lite.
Strategic Difficulty: Low-Intermediate.  Shallow depth and repetitive strategies, but a couple of the advance campaign missions may perplex your average gamer.
Overall Score: 6.5/10.  It's a classic, but it was showing its age a decade ago, let alone right now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Military Madness: Neo Nectaris review (iPhone)

2010/02/08 [iphone] [1] Military Madness: Neo Nectaris

Nectaris is a venerable series almost as old as Nintendo's Wars series.  It's another wargame-lite style game that isn't as complex as a full blown wargame, but makes up for it with creative and strategic missions.  This game is a port of Military Madness 2 for mobiles, which itself is a port of the 1994 Neo Nectaris for the TG16, making it the first time Neo Nectaris has been available outside of Japan.

The campaign is made up of 48 missions, which is a good amount of content for a $5 game.  There's a tutorial to walk you through the basics if needed.  The difficulty is aimed at an intermediate skill level.  There's only one difficulty mode so if you're not fairly experienced with the genre you might want to look for an easier title.  Some of the later maps can be huge and missions can take up to 30 mins on the first try, so if you like Military Madness there is lots of it to be had here.  There are a wide variety of unit types available, including creative units like flying blockades to prevent enemy movement, placeable time bombs, and artillery that can only fire with an allied infantry nearby. That must have been pretty cutting edge stuff back in 1994.

There are no funds or unit production, instead you rush to capture factories that have units inside them, which usually decides whether you win or lose the mission.  The mission strategy is mostly about rushing to capture factories and retreating your injured units into factories to be repaired, which can get boring if you don't find the game a challenge.  Like the original Neo Nectaris, surrounding an enemy increases the damage done to it.  Zone of control is in effect in this game, which adds to the depth.  The combat formulas are fairly luck based.  Sometimes you'll get the full terrain/gang up bonus, and sometimes you won't get anything.  Quicksaving is available and it's possible to save/reload spam until you get the results you want.  I found that isn't necessary at all though since the difficulty level allows some leeway for mistakes or bad luck.

The game has a real-time timer which measures how long it takes you to complete each mission.  This is an interesting concept but the game doesn't really do anything with it.  The time taken is sort of meaningless without other stats like units lost or turns taken, which the game doesn't record, although you can take a screenshot to record it manually.  At least there's some kind of stat tracking going on here.

I'm not sure why the developers removed multiplayer for this port but it's a disappointing omission considering the iPhone's connected nature.  Interestingly, the original Neo Nectaris had multiplayer support with 5 maps to play on.

The UI is mostly context sensitive which is good, although you have to touch the 'abort' button to move into enemy attack range without attacking.  Some very basic features remain missing like unit numbers next to each unit on the map, or damage numbers appearing above the units after combat.  The original Neo Nectaris for TG16 was like this as well, but that doesn't seem like a good reason to leave those basic UI features out.

The graphics look quite dated as you might expect.  The units look decent with good detail but the terrain and some icons are low resolution, making for an ugly mix.  There's no music and the sound effects sound like they came from the original TG16 version.

Strategic Depth: Low-medium.  No unit building, gas, ammo, etc. but there is a fairly wide selection of units.
Strategic Difficulty: Intermediate.  If you capture more factories than the CPU, you win.
Overall Score: 7.5/10.  Good value for $5 if you like the series and don't mind the repetitive strategies.