Starship Troopers: Terran Command - Do You Wanna Live Forever?
Beware the bug menace. The arachnid horde has tried to wipe out the human race, only for the brave men and women of the Mobile Infantry to take the fight to them. These brave soldiers face the bug threat without fear to protect the United Citizen Federation and its interests. The citizens of the planet of Kwalasha are facing a plague of bugs that will have dire consequences for the population and the mining sector that is vital to the war effort. Only the soldiers of the Mobile Infantry stand ready to be the last line of defence.
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Now I have to admit that it has been a while since I have played a Real-Time-Strategy game. While I have fond memories of Command and Conquer, Warcraft and Starcraft from my younger days, it has been a few years since I got to play one. Thankfully, Starship Troopers: Terran Command is not only based on a fantastically over-the-top action movie, but it is a good balance between the challenge of facing down a horde of enemies with limited resources and the fun of laying waste to every non-human thing in existence.
While my introduction to the world of Starship Troopers was the 1998 movie, the story originally came from a novel of the same name. Starship Troopers: Terran Command brings both of these two worlds together, implementing the Mobile Infantry design of the film universe alongside the armoured power troopers of the novel. Terran Command also incorporates and gives a nod to the lesser-known, straight-to-DVD sequels with the introduction of the Marauder mech suits and name drops General Rico, placing the events of the game in the context of the movie timeline. Terran Command is not shy about taking the bombastic elements of the Starship Troopers universe to give players the best version of the Mobile Infantry that they can. Throw in the propaganda broadcasts that work as your level introductions and you have a piece of art that feels right at home in both the film and novel.
Where Terran Command sets itself apart from other RTS games, at least in my experience, is the lack of vehicle warfare to support your soldiers. Your soldiers are dropped into the battlefield and essentially left to defend themselves. Stationary turrets can be deployed to protect your base area thanks to combat engineers, but other than that the locations for construction of different facilities that provide other units are pre-designated. You cannot decide to set up a secondary base to build up forces and create a pincer attack. Instead, you are restricted to pre-determined base locations. You can have more than one base operating at a time, but you cannot choose where to set it up. Most times it is not really worth operating two different bases long-term as you clear out nearby bug hives and render areas safe.
The placement of some of these bases is only there to help you overcome particular areas of high bug activity. In Terran Command your troopers aren’t trained on the planet, instead, they are brought in on dropships. As one could imagine, between fuel limits and the needs of other commanders fighting different battles there are a limited number of dropships that can be deployed at one time. A timer effectively controls how often you can bring down more troops and the number of supplies you have on hand determines how many units you can have. Completing objectives and securing supply depots will allow you to deploy more units, but there is always a limit.
These two limiters combined mean you cannot just continuously deploy units, sending in cannon fodder to overwhelm the bugs by sheer numbers. Unlike the bugs, humans don’t have those sorts of numbers so you have to make sure you are strategic. No matter what you will be sending a lot of troopers to their deaths, however, unlike the movies, your troopers can hold their own and are combat effective. A lot of them will still die, but they will take a lot of bugs down with them before that happens.
Overall you get to take charge of the Mobile Infantry in 21 different scenarios, along with the tutorial mission based on the initial landing on Klendathu in the movie. The scenarios are a mix of open field warfare and making your way through a linear map with limited units. It took me just over twelve hours to finish the campaign, but for those that love a challenge, the difficulty modifiers can reduce the damage your units inflict, bringing the effectiveness of your units down to that of the film troopers.
While there was the occasional pathfinding issue, where units would get stuck on the landscape or buildings, the only other technical issue that cause me problems was a bug where units would become unusable if I sent more than one unit into a hive at the same time. Fortunately, calling in an airstrike on the area resolved that problem for me and allowed me to deploy fresh units to replace them.
If you like Starship Troopers and enjoy RTS games then you will have a lot of fun with Starship Troopers: Terran Command. The development team at The Artistocrats have taken the time to craft a game that is a wonderful blend of the film and novel universe that makes for a fun journey through the world of Kwalasha.
Starship Troopers: Terran Command was reviewed on PC with code kindly supplied by the publisher.