Starship Troopers Terran Command A Victorious Landing review
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Starship Troopers: Terran Command – A Victorious Landing. review

The film Starship Troopers, which experienced a financial fiasco in 1997, has become a real cultural phenomenon and, even after more than twenty years, arouses nostalgia among fans and confidently wins new fans. And while it’s definitely not worth waiting for the universe to unfold on big screens (and watching the “canonical” sequels), you can immerse yourself in the Starship Troopers universe in the strategic Starship Troopers: Terran Command. The game tries to convey as accurately as possible the spirit and atmosphere of the original film, without forgetting to develop and adequately complement the universe of absurd militarism. But the most important thing: Terran Command finds the most successful game form for the world of Starship Troopers.  Federation propaganda has shifted to hand-drawn art screensavers... Good choice

Federation propaganda has shifted to hand-drawn art screensavers… Good choice

The price of bravery

Our thorny path of command begins on the legendary planet of Klendathu, where we must undergo combat training and understand the basic principles of fighting anyone with “more than two legs”. But we won’t be here long, as the player’s strategic genius is in demand elsewhere. The command sends us to the industrial planet Kvalasha, from whose depths valuable resources are mined. More specifically, they were mined until arachnids were introduced into their diet by local workers. Luckily, the brave Federation Mobile Infantry is already on the ground! It will be a quick win.

But very soon it becomes clear: Kvalasha is a true hell, and victory is almost unattainable. Immediately, the over-the-top militaristic caricature is quickly complemented by unexpected drama and a humanistic message. The heroes make difficult decisions, are forced to deal with conscience and seriously consider the cost of human life, but also the correctness and appropriateness of orders from above. And these motives are by no means clumsy: we see the characters’ development, we understand the price of their choices because, like them, we’re at the top.

    Visual continuity at the highest level: Aesthetics, lighting and coloring seem to have migrated directly from the filmstrip to the game screen

Visual continuity at the highest level: Aesthetics, lighting and coloring seem to have migrated directly from the filmstrip to the game screen

And there’s good plot design here too, there’s a little intrigue, and even a major revelation of the Starship Troopers universe. Not the cosmic heights of the story, but confident work on the rationale for action and the narrative context. And I would like to note separately how accurately the story reflects the game situations and adds up to a very strong emotional involvement. However, the main interest of the game is not the plot component.

Adjust or die

Starship Troopers: Terran Command is reminiscent of the action segments from the film: we must capture and hold the Federation strongholds, clean out the beehives and fight our way through the hordes of bloodthirsty bugs to the extraction point. Construction and resource management is kept to a comfortable minimum, and the emphasis is on field maneuvers. Stuffing arachnids with corpses will not work until victory – competent tactics and skillful handling of different types of troops are required.

    The military support resource is responsible for the special abilities of some soldiers and the construction of structures;  Supplies - for the allowable number of troops;  and free transportation - for the number of units that can be retrieved here and now

The military support resource is responsible for the special abilities of some soldiers and the construction of structures; Supplies – for the allowable number of troops; and free transportation – for the number of units that can be retrieved here and now

Starship Troopers: Terran Command’s garrison is extensive. Here you can choose from both standard submachine guns and mechanized combat vehicles M-11 “Marauder” with a flamethrower or machine gun. There are support units – signalmen, which allow troops to recover losses quickly, and engineers, snipers, rocketmen and experimental infantry units equipped with E-Pulse 44 energy rifles take part in battles.Each subspecies of soldiers has its own combat niche :z For example, the same fighters with energy weapons are incredibly effective at close range, but an arachnid at medium or long range will take significantly less damage than a regular infantryman with an assault rifle. Snipers are great for taking out dangerous single targets in the rear, but will happen when the bugs close in. And let’s say special infantry armed with a rifle with an underbarrel grenade launcher will be an excellent response to heavy bug challenges, but will hardly survive a close encounter with a bunch of simple arachnids.

Commanders also fight alongside regular soldiers: military officers or fleet aides. The former are capable of increasing fire efficiency and soldier survival in any way imaginable. And Adjutants can unleash devastating airstrikes on the beetles’ heads, summon a Marine unit into battle, or call in an orbital bombardment.

Airstrike is humanity’s strong argument in the war against arachnids. The main thing is to have time to withdraw your soldiers from the bomb zone…

During battle, all units receive some kind of analogue of experience and, having sniffed a sufficient amount of gunpowder, open one of two additional upgrades. Let’s say engineers choose between explosives and a temporary boost for the flamethrower; Submachine gunners can either fire heavily from shotguns or wield a few grenades; and fighters with RPGs are defined by the type of special shells – buckshot or fire. It is important to keep all these nuances in mind, because there is no universal remedy for every situation, and in order to be successful in battle, you need to know exactly how to defeat a specific bug.

The bestiary of arachnids is also impressive, so you have to constantly adapt to different compositions of enemy hordes. And if it will be possible to break through the skin of a simple arachnid warrior from almost any type of troops, then to defeat the tiger beetle you will need detachments armed with a large caliber. And to deal with a huge tanker, you need a couple of missile crews. They will also be of great help against the monstrously powerful scorpion arachnids, which must be destroyed as soon as possible – the tailed beast deals incredible damage and can easily drain most of the staff from us.

    Too bad you can't do the grenade trick from the movie with the local tanker...

Too bad you can’t do the grenade trick from the movie with the local tanker…

Starship Troopers: Terran Command manages to keep the excitement going with intense and varied gameplay. The conditions of the tasks are almost always unique: sometimes we have to hold the strategic fortress at all costs, other times we have to quell a riot in the prison, and after a couple of operations we have to evacuate an important person, and immediately after we get an unscheduled one have to arrange for the cleaning of the beehives. It is necessary to adapt not only to the conditions of the tasks, but also to tactical limitations – somewhere certain types of troops cannot be hired, and somewhere you have to cope with combat missions without being able to replenish the ranks.

And while the game encourages improvisation and decisive action, it also severely punishes haste and ill-considered action. As a result, most of the tasks turned out to be incredibly intensive and really exciting. It’s a pity that this powerful fuse dries up a little just before the final missions, and Starship Troopers: Terran Command forces you to engage in simple and lengthy sweeps around the map. However, these segments cannot be called bad – they just stand out sharply from other, more skillful levels. Overall, the landing of Starship Troopers on the Planet of Strategies was a success!

Advantages:

  • authentic translation of the Starship Troopers universe into a real-time strategy format;
  • dynamic and exciting gameplay;
  • varied tasks, constantly changing framework conditions and force you to look for new tactics and approaches.

Defects:

  • there is no network mode;
  • Some missions are a bit long.

graphic

Sandy landscapes, abandoned settlements of colonists and narrow caves reminiscent of claustrophobia are fully immersed in the work. A successful stylization perfectly transfers the mood of Paul Verhoeven’s film to game screens.

sound

The musical accompaniment, which ideally picks up on the sound aesthetics of the cult film, also ensures immersion in the grotesque universe of victorious militarism. And the excellent sound design does its job: perfectly conveying a range of intense combat action with characteristic death screams, thunderous gunshots, deafening explosions and the chirping of giant insects.

single player game

An excellent strategic campaign with well-timed gameplay that won’t let you relax or get bored. Is the last segment tightened a little.

Estimated transit time

The passage of the campaign will take about fifteen to twenty hours. And a few more can be spent on additional testing.

collective game

Not foreseen, which is a real shame. Imagine how a game would open with a cooperative mode where two players would have to defend themselves together against hordes of arachnids; or else – as if carried away by network battles, where one of the participants in the session takes on the role of the collective consciousness of bugs, and the second – the combat boot of humanity. Someone forward this text to the developers!

overall impression

Fast-paced, exciting and varied, Starship Troopers: Terran Command is sure to appeal to strategy veterans and fans of the grotesque sci-fi cult film.

Rating: 8.0/10

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About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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