For once I don’t have a long and probably boring anecdote about how I played a previous game in this series many years ago when I was a nipper. Military Madness: Nectaris for PS3 is a remake of a classic 1989 Turbografx-16 game that I never played back in the day. Military Madness from Hudson and Backbone entertainment is my first foray into strategy in 2010 and what better way to start than a classic retro game made new? I could pretend that there is a long and detailed back story and detail every facet of why there are two factions battling for supremacy on the moon in the year 2156 but that would be a waste of my time and yours. I’ll keep it simple and straight to the point.
As predicted by population experts back in the 20th Century, the future of Earth is very overcrowded one. We could go all Open University on the topic and discuss all of the reasons why this is the case but the straightforward answer is as a species; we like having fun in bed far too much for our own good. To make it worse we also have a strange obsession with having children and then spending all our hard earned money on them for eighteen years. So to free up space the clever people of Earth decide to move of the criminals locked up in various prisons to a new hyper prison newly built on the Moon. Typically someone discovers a wonderful new, powerful and valuable element under the Moon’s surface. It just so happens that a ready but not so willing slave labour force is on hand to start mining and so the prisoners are put to work right away.
Jump forward a few more years we find that the prisoners have managed to revolt against their captors and have managed to take over the moon and use that aforementioned new mineral to start developing a massive super weapon that could destroy the Earth. Thus it’s time for military of Earth to put a stop to this mess by flying to the moon and engage in a series of turn based battles to defeat those nasty baddies.
As you may have gathered previously Military Madness is a strategy game set in the future and on the Moon. For the most part the setting doesn’t matter because you’ll really only be concentrating on one thing: And that is numerous amounts of futuristic tanks shooting at each other against a bland backdrop. Military Madness is split into two straightforward modes; Single Player Campaign and Multiplayer. In single player mode you start with a series of maps with normal difficulty and then when you’re done with those you can move onto the advanced maps.
The goal of each map is to defeat the opponent by either capturing their home base or destroying all of their units. Both require quite different tactics so which you’ll choose to do is entirely up to you, your play style and how well you are doing at the time.
Each map typically starts off with both forces on opposite sides of the map with their units spread out around their home base. To confuse things a little I must explain that each of those units is actually a placeholder for up to eight actual units. To put it another way, instead of having a cluttered map the number of onscreen units is limited by grouping eight individual units into one big unit. These units never separate into their individual parts but individual ones can be destroyed when you enter battle – I’ll come to battle in a moment. Teams take it in turns to move all, some or even none of their units. Units can only move set distances and this will also vary depending on the type of ground. Flat ground is easy land based units will only move slowly across rough land and slopes.
Looking into the strengths and weaknesses of these units:
- Walking Armour – Super tough but slow. Very effective against land and air based units.
- Transporters – As the name suggests these can transport other units around the map at high speed. They’re rubbish in battle though.
- Tanks – You already know what Tanks are. Strong but slow.
- Aerials – These are very fast and agile but not the toughest by any means. It’s best to keep moving these around attacking in short bursts.
- Infantries – The weakest but also the most useful. Humans in tough spacesuits with jet packs that can fly up onto mountains. These are the only units which can capture an opponent’s home base.
- Technicals – Unlike the other units these can attack and then run away afterwards. Quick and agile but very weak too.
When it comes to attacking other units it all comes down to RPG like stats. Although the main factor in any battles is the unit(s) strengths and weaknesses, there are other things to consider. If friendly or enemy units are directly surrounding in the battle then that will alter the stats. Another contributor is if units are on flat, unstable or higher ground. Ideally you want to surround an enemy with several of your units trapping them on lower ground; this will give you the upper hand even this will not save you if you send a weak unit up against something very strong. Units can be repaired in factories but they will lose a movement turn whilst under repairs and at any time the factory could be captured by the enemy if not guarded.
Multiplayer mode is very similar with only a few gameplay tweaks not worth mentioning here, the good news is that you and up to three others can battle each-other locally or online. Military Madness is a low cost and but high quality download title. As you’d expect such games are always a little low on graphical and audio variety. The moon maps are very bland (understandably I guess) and the units all look more or less the same. Sometimes the similarity in appearance was to my own detriment; a couple of times I got a bit mixed up and sent in low powered units up against tough ones.
I enjoyed Military Madness as a short term fling but I wouldn’t want to marry it. 7 out of 10.
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