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Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesterday`s Game reincarnated today without losing itself., 24 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Carrier Command: Gaea Mission English (PC CD) (CD-ROM)
It`s a good game, I`ll explain the rest later.

Oh wait, I`ll explain now!

It`s hard explaining a game to people many of whom were not aware when the first version of this game was around. Put aside your finger-twitch, high-octane knee-jerk gaming mentality and instead, relax in the seat of a comfy chair as Commander of a Military Sci Fi Carrier -and think as in you need to make a PLAN, then execute that plan and see the results of your efforts in time. Think American Carriers fighting the Japanese at Midway or even being Captain Picard on the Enterprise giving your orders and telling them to `Make it so,` then sitting back as your soldiers get to work... although, sometimes you get to join in too (so there`s a little finger-twichy).

So with that in mind, Carrier Command pits you against an enemy Carrier over a set of islands. There are 2 modes to the game; Campaign and Strategy. I would advise reading a bit of the nice manual and checking the instruction card then going straight to strategy and run a few games as practise then start a proper strategy game once you get the feel of it. I would advise doing this even if you are completely new because campaign mode doesn`t really get you involved the way it should and might even put you off the game...

The Campaign mode starts you off in 1st person shooter mode. The game clearly isn`t meant to be a personal shooter. Now I have the latest patched version 1.3 (recommend install) and I did not find it all that bad, yes, the config`s a bit quirky, the movement`s slightly uncomfortable and it hasn`t got the FPS feel like say FC3, but it wasn`t awful. Even with auto aim off I found playing with the Mouse and shooting droids was ridiculously easy which made up for the clunky controls. Later it starts to introduce you to the carrier and other stuff, gradually getting better, and you realise that it`s a tacked on tutorial. I didn`t find the voice acting terrible. So the guy has a common English accent? So what? It didn`t sound amateur at all. Not everyone talks with Shakespearean English. Really, it`s not that bad. The story wasn`t great. I found it quite silly when I was attacked by a robot in a scripted scene and although I had full ammo before, now my gun was empty or jammed for the scripted scene and no gun ever jams in this futuristic world before or since- Guess it needed to jam for this scene.

But I did find it somewhat pointless and is why I`d say just go straight to the Strategy mode if you`re ready to take the time to get the feel of it.

The Strategy mode starts off with a randomised set of Islands which is nice cos it makes the beginning of each campaign very interesting. You can get a good set of islands with a bunch of easy to take neutrals or start with the enemy islands right next to yours. You can end up with choke points or wide fronts- All adds to the strategic thinking side.

You have 4 Mantas and 4 Walrus` in your Carrier plus your Carrier guns. You have one stockpile island and some resource and production and defence islands. The stockpile island is precious and should be kept at the rear. You can move it, but if the enemy Carrier slips through and takes it, he gets all your ready-made stuff just like that. You need to keep islands under your control and capture more. The more islands under your control the more stuff you can mine to enable you to produce weapons, vehicles and fuel. There are a wide variety of extra weapons stuff you can order such as spy drones and even nukes eventually.

The 4 Mantas and 4 Walrus are your real hands and feet. You use the carrier to get to an island and take it. Neutral islands are easy. You send a Manta, your flying drone, to check out the land and quickly locate points then send a Walrus, your amphibious vehicle, with a Module (resource, manufacture or defence) that it will plonk on the island, turning it into the island of your choice. Job done, collect your drones to momma and leave for the next island. By the way, one of the very, very first things you should do is start ordering Fuel and plenty of it- not only does it govern how far you can travel, but its essential for all repairs of your Carrier... Order a couple of Mantas and Walrus plus ammo while you`re at it! If you run out of fuel, you`ll waste precious time having to reorder it to be ferried to you while the enemy takes over your islands.

An enemy island is a differnet affair. There are several ways to deal with it. I usually send in my flying Mantas to check out where the Command Centre is and to take down air opposition, destroy their airields and their Walrus garages. then I`ll send in the Walrus laden either with a Hack module to reprogram the installations or a completely new Module depending on what I need. Sometimes, you`ll need to look on your strategy map in case the island is a good choke point, which you can make a defensive island. the enemy carrier can bypass but then it must go further and this limits its fuel and choices making it easier for you to intercept it if you wish. There`s plenty of tactical and strategic possibilities.

Of course, some islands are harder to take than others depending on what the enemy carrier did to it. Your few personell on board will advise you if attacking a certain island is a good idea or not as well as informing you if an island has particular kinds of defences such as jammers which limit the range of your Carrier and therfore your Walrus and Mantas.

You can get a lot of aerial or ground battles against enemy defences and you can also take over remotely any of the units to fight (you still remain with your skeleton crew in the safety of your Carrier). Fly against other Mantas or bomb ground installations or attack on the ground with your Amphibious tank Walrus`... Don`t go on swampy ground or you`ll really find what a Walrus wallowing in mud feels like!

Of course, the most exciting moment is when you bump into the huge enemy carrier. You`ll hear alarm bells ringing as you drop out of a kind sea-warp (speeds up time). Then you have to jump up from your leisurely chair and start arming all your Mantas and Walrus` as fast as you can as the AI carrier turns slowly towards you and you spot it launching aircraft against you. Your automatic defense systems will start opening fire, but I like to take over the big guns and batter the ship while my drones attack. If your lucky you will have ordered additional equipment to help you out.

Carriers will catch fire and belch smoke as parts of them are heavily damaged and each part damaged will correspond real time to a system, so it`s a good idea to try to hit important areas first. The AI Carrier is pretty good at knocking out my main gun then smashing my deployment doors shut so I can`t send anything out. First time I bumped into it, it destroyed me 3 times, but the 4th time I actually figured out what I was doing and sank it (the game loads at your last arrival point, so retrying wasn`t arduous - It didn`t do that in the original). The destruction of yours or the enemy carrier is well done and most satisfying when it goes down- It explodes in many places with secondary explosions, then dramatically splits in half sinking. Very nicely done. The only thing missing is it making a great groan of metal as it goes down, like a dying Dragon.

Of course sometimes the AI Carrier will simply run, which can be a relief as I often wasn`t that strong anyway. But if you manage to damage it enough or knock out its Mantas and Walrus` then it too must spend time ordering fresh units, giving you time to do the same and taking the initiative.

Graphically it looks excellent. The seas looks authenticl, waving about, skies are immersive, etc, and islands look very realistic with undulating terrain and even weather systems (snowy weather effects on the view and water drips drops on the screen). Sound is good with that double explosion effect you get when something explodes at a distance. However, I feel the explosion and shooting sounds are just not quite meaty\realistic enough for me. Alarm sounds and music during Sea-warps are very nice. I love the `enemy Carrier close proximity` alarms.

AI:
I have the latest 1.3 version so I was pretty please with the AI. It seemed to do most everything right. The only problems were sending the amphibious Walrus onto the islands. You have to choose a road or a clear bit of land otherwise, the AI Walrus will get stuck gainst a tree or some hilly incline and will take ages trying to figure a way round, and never send it over swamps. If I have trouble with swamps imagine how bad the AI is with it- In cases like that, I jump in and take over. Mantas are good most times, they sometimes take a while shooting gun emplacements, jockeying continuously for position- but they shoot enemy tanks, aircraft and buildings just fine. So it`s important just to recheck these guys every now and then to make sure they`re doing what you want. Hopefully, a 1.4 Patch will improve path finding, but it`s no way game breaking.

In truth, some will hate this game because it`s TRUE OLDSCHOOL. It`s a representation of the Golden Age of Gaming 20 years ago, but with far better graphics and sound. It puts you in the realistic strategic and logistical seat of a Carrier Commander. I wouldn`t be surprised if it in someways represents what real Carrier Commanders of today have to think about. You do have to micromanage (a dirty word for some now) and it doesn`t dumb down for you, except to give you the 1st person campaign tutorial which is fair. You can tell the guys who made this loved the original Carrier Command and wanted to bring it uptodate without losing what made this great in the first place. Perhaps this game has not garnered many accolades or guaranteed profits, but just like the great classic movies, that does not make them bad, just under appreciated or misunderstood, drowned in the mass of the mindless popcorn eating crowd to whom the companies solely cater for, caring for nothing else. This game will be seen as classic in years to come, I lie to you not. It`s a real pleasure to see that the true soul of gaming is not yet dead.

Yes, I like it. A lot.

p.s. DRM. Well it`s pretty ok. You can get it on Steam, but it is not mandatory (that`s all I ask). The version I had simply required a small code I had to register with online and hasn`t bothered me since. It is not intrusive or Big brother on my privacy. this is good. I don`t like the idea of having to register games online , but unfortunately they all do it now.

Hmm... this became a far bigger review than I expected....

UPDATE:
Also the Devs have NOT abandoned the game like some thought they would. They have continued steadily improving and fixing the game with constant patches right up to the present day (July 2013). This proves their worth.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Sep 2013, 09:09:08 BST
Phil says:
See you bought it then. The patching and addition of modding tools have opened it up for greater expansion. I would love to see wire-guided missiles. Just depends how in-depth you can get with the modding tools. But they have not abandoned it at all, they are now on patch 6 i think, its slow for the fixes, but i'm just glad they are still patching it. You are right though. This game is a Classic in its own right. Just a shame that they are selling this to only us older gamers, because the younger ones seem to hate it. They try to play it like command & conquer, which is not how its done, then get frustrated with it.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2013, 13:43:17 BST
Seafireliv says:
Hello, Phil.

Yes, it`s a real shame that some of the younger ones don`t get it. It`s all speed, speed, speed and that`s not really what this game is about. Yet it`s still really involving. The Devs knew to keep what made CC great and didn`t sacrifice it for the gamy short-term play. I`ve seen so many classic games ruined by the 21st century need to `streamline` and `dumb down`.

But fashions change, perhaps in time it`ll be fashionable for the kids to want more involving that are a little smarter and we`ll get good old games of substance again- just with better graphics and sound.

Great game, not left my hard drive since installed.
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