Sun, Jul 25, 2004 - Page 19 News List

PC Games Reviews

By Lin Chieh-yu and Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Ground Control II (戰略高手 II)

International distributor: VU Gamesa

Local Distributor: Unalis Technology

Platform: Chinese and English for PC

Taiwan release: July 29

When it was first released in 2000, Ground Control was seen as a milestone in Real-time Strategy (RTS) gaming, with its efficient battleground modes and amazing 3D graphics. With Ground Control II due for release at the end of the month, the people at VU games are pushing the envelope of RTS. And with Ground Control II being released in a Chinese-language version as well, this is likely to be one of the hottest games in Taiwan this summer.

Ground Control II: Operation Exodus takes place during the year 2741AD, roughly 300 years after the events in the original game. The democratic Northern Star Alliance (NSA) is being hard pressed by the warmongering Terran Empire. The war has recently entered a new stage; a brutal and deadly ground war, as the Empire has managed to land their first troopships on the last NSA controlled planet Morningstar Prime. Captain Jacob Angelus, a battle-hardened officer in the NSA armed forces, finds himself becoming the central figure in the war against the Terran Empire. The situation is desperate and for the NSA destiny is at hand; its only hope lies in an ancient legend.

Deployment for the two sides are totally different and the option for single person, small unit and mass combat are all available, with the game's AI software handling all three modes with equally quality. There is also the choice of five kinds of terrain, which considerably influence the way units can be deployed, providing gamers with many combinations and extended playability. The "drop in" online function allows new players to join the game at any time, and there is also extended support for Chinese language Unicode and IME characters for online chat.

Taiko Risshiden

International distributor: Koei

Local distributor: Koei Taiwan

Platform: Chinese for PC

Taiwan release: July 28

The Taiko Risshiden series of historical games covering the unification of Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 to 1598) has proved one of Koei's most popular products. Players pick one of many historical characters, or simply create their own character, developing their skills, then using diplomatic and military means to achieve the ultimate goal of uniting Japan.

In Taiko Risshiden, players must train their characters in skills such as the tea ceremony, combat, classical learning and commerce. They can also master six special weapons. The player selects from a wide range of professions at the beginning of the game, ranging from the usual warrior or trader character to include doctors, pirates, all of whom have their special abilities.

The first part of Taiko Risshiden is taken up with building your character, making contacts and acquiring materials. Then the battle for Japan begins in earnest, and the gamer can choose to conduct this through guerrilla warfare, siege warfare or individual combat. An important aspect of this game is the use of alliances to achieve your ends.

Rise of Nations: Thrones and Patriots

International distributor: Microsoft

Local distributor: Microsoft Taiwan

Platform: Chinese for PC

Taiwan release: Already available

Rise of Nations, released last year, was praised by local gaming magazines as one of the best RTS games of the year. Although it was no match for the 3D effects that were already available in a number of other RTS games on the market, its combination of individual combat and the broad canvas of Civilization-like empire building proved irresistible.

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