Come on you apes, you want to live forever?!? I found myself yelling this that at my computer screen as I started my first campaign in Starship Troopers Terran Command and I was still making Starship Troopers appropriate comments right up until writing this review. The question is does the game call out to non-fans and fanatics alike? Let’s find out! Ripper’s Roughnecks! Roll out! Hoorah!
It would be very easy to miss a lot of the satire in the game if the player doesn’t have a fair knowledge of the material the game is based off. First a very famous book, then a series of infamous movies and even a collection of great cartoons. Dark Horse even puts out multiple Starship Troopers comics all to try and bring the bug worlds to life. With all that history a couple games would be expected to pop up from time to time so Terran Command almost seems a little late to the party but properly loaded with satire. As they say though better late than never. Would you like to know more?
Starship Troopers Terran Command is a single player, real-time strategy game. Gameplay consists of playing the Mobile Infantry through a campaign with each scenario/map unlocking for replay once you start it. There are five levels of difficulty which are damage based: at easiest your weapons do 2X damage, normal is 1X and hardest is .5X. So gameplay and enemy damage remains the same no matter which difficulty which works well when trying to train yourself on play by starting easiest and working your way up, making for great replayability of both the campaign and the maps. The maps are well designed with interesting topography that allows for chokepoints and other strategic attacks and defenses. One of the more interesting mechanics are Clear Line of Sight and Clear Line of Fire when it comes to fighting. If you have two squads of rifleman side by side neither one of them can shoot through their neighboring squad without killing them so if you try to they freeze up and a red mark appears over their heads. Moving until they have a True Line of Sight which can be done by a different squad formation or more interestingly put them on higher or lower ground gives squads a better chance to help.
You don’t have to keep all of your men alive (unless that’s the mission) you just need to keep one man in the squad alive and you can even lose and recapture bases as long as you maintain your objectives. You can also refill your infantry squad when available, save games when you feel like it as well as autosave often and change difficulty on the fly. Game controls are mostly traditional real-time strategy style and game physics for the most part are what strategy players are used to.
The graphics and audio are really important in this game since nostalgia for the franchise will attract most of the players at first who always wanted to stomp on some Arachnids. The ships and infantry are well rendered with even their click comments sounding fresh out of the films and cartoons. It is definitely immersive and time flies when you’re on a bug hunt. You don’t have to know anything about the Starship Troopers world to play and enjoy the game but it does help to know the acting is supposed to be over-the-top. Even the cutscenes which are done as motion comics are filled with patriotic music, smooth voiceover and smiling troopers with their limbs still on. On the topic of graphics and troopers when you lose one in a battle you can zoom in and actually see them go in a manner you would expect from the movies, explosions and gore galore. I could say more but we need boots on the ground out there, mount up!
The main drawback in Terran Command is that there are only single player campaigns with no plans to go multiplayer at this point in time. As far as I know there are also no plans to make an Arachnid campaign which fans will be getting gung-ho for so hopefully that will show up in an expansion. If a player isn’t really into Starship Troopers this game may not hold their attention as long as this game really feels like a love letter from the fans to the fans who will love it even if they wish for a multiplayer or bug campaign. On a big plus side, in a game about bugs I didn’t see any technical ones.
Word of mouth from lovers of the Mobile Infantry should bring in fresh boots for bug stomping as well as Starship Troopers fans lining up to serve. Starship Troopers-Terran Command is a traditional RTS at its core but the game feels like Starship Troopers through and through. I will be going back to Starship Troopers Terran Command on a regular basis to get some, and to do my part because service guarantees citizenship!