UFO: enemy unknown aka X-com was quite a sleeper hit when it was released, it’s a tactical combat game but there is a lot more to it than that. You’ll have a certain budget with which you can build a base from which you can launch aircraft that can intercept UFO’s. There are plenty of other facilities as well like a research lab to improve your equipment and invent new ones. If you are able to take down a ufo then you can send in a squad to take care of any aliens and maybe pick up some new technology.

You start the game with no equipment and you are given the opportunity to select where to build your first base which can be anywhere in the world but as you can only build a total of eight it’s important to choose a good first site. Once your base is build you get 5 million dollars and a handfull of scientists and troops and the rest is up to you. If you take a look at your base you’ll see that your base is reasonably well equipped with a radar station, research facilities and three hangars, two for intercept craft and one for a troop plane. You can build new facilites in your base such as extra powerfull radar equipment or production facilities.

Immediately after the game starts you see a clock running and the world slowly chaning from day to night. You’ll have to get going quickly if you are to do well so it’s best to start researching better equipment with which to battle any unfriendlies. The options available for research are limited at first but you can start designing laser weapons which are quite a step up from the standard balistic based weapons you get at the start. You can decide how many scientist to put on a single project and the number directly affects the speed of which they do things. The same goes for producing the weapons you invent as you are the only one with the kind of technology so you’ll have to put some engineers at work creating the goodies. The other units available to you are the combat troops and the first base comes with enough of them to fill a troop ship. Each of the soldiers are equipped with some basic weapons but you can buy new ones from the shop, here you can also get more scientists, engineers and equipment for you planes.

After all the management bits you’ll have to wait until something gets produced or invented which luckily you can speed up by selecting the appropriate time interval ranging from 5 seconds to 1 hour. During the waiting process whenever something happens like an invention being completed or a UFO sighting you will receive a message and you can slow time to the 5 seconds interval. The UFO sightings are the other main part of the game and if you decide to intercept it with a fighter you might bring it down if it is powerfull enough. You can then send a troop carrier to take a look at the thing. When you arrive at such a crash site the game will show you whose turn it is and then switch to a third person view . This part of the game is turnbased strategic combat with each member of your party available for control. Each soldier has a number of action points with which to move, shoot and picking up items. When his or her action points run out you’ll have to switch to another soldier until all of them are finished. At this point you can end you turn and the enemy will do the same, you can’t see any of his moves unless one of you soldiers has a line of site. Luckily you can save action points for shooting of ducking indicated by small buttons at the bottom of the screen indication the action in question. The object of this part is to defeat all the enemies at the scene who sometimes may be hidden away inside the ship or behind some scenery. When the last enemy has been taken care off the end of the turn will take you back to your base where you can view the damage done and the items retrieved from the crash site. You can use the technology to invent you own items until you a good enough to defeat the aliens on their own turf!

UFO has had a tremendous following after it was released and it’s no surprise because there are so many elements in the game that get it right. The management part where you invent and produce your own equipment is well done and the rate at which new items becomes available is good enough so that you can constantly get new stuff. The combat parts are great as well because you will need to use strategy to get all the enemies with you suffering little or no losses. You can’t just go around barging into the ship hoping to blow up everything because you will often be at a disadvantage in the equipment department as well as the number of troops available. Combined the game is a great mix of the two and you will definately won’t tire of it quickly. There are some gripes however such as the constant micromanagement of manufacturing and later combat levels will get incredibly tedious with huge areas to explore until you find that final alien hiding in some little room. However these are quite minor for such a great game and I suggest you get it now and play the game you won’t regret it.

Overal rating: 9.5/10

Erde Kaiser

This game was released for several different systems here are some notes:

Amiga Released in 1995.
Game has been tested but not completed with winUAE v0.9.91.
This runs rather slow, compareable to running it in dosbox. Other than that there are no differences.
DOS Released in 1994.
Game has been tested but not completed on a DOS PC.
It didn’t run on my windows machine but it did under dosbox, it’s rather slow though.
Others These versions are not available.
Amiga CD32 released in 1994.
Playstation released in 1995.
Windows released in 1998.
Date added Jul-28-2005 20:39
Name UFO: enemy unknown
Developer Microprose
Publisher Microprose
First released 1994
Genre Strategy