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I of the Enemy
game: I of the Enemy
three star
posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: Enemy Technology LLC
developer: Enemy Technology LLC
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 10th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Jan 10th, 2005

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Click to read.The world of video games is as competitive a market as any on the planet.  With an ever growing number of corporations vying for your dollar, it is hard enough for well established companies to keep in business, let alone be a newcomer in this massive industry.  Despite these facts, a group of brave souls are trying to beat the odds with the founding of their new company, Enemy Technology.  And for their first stab into the wide world of gaming they have released I of the Enemy?.  A low-priced bargain game, I of the Enemy fits into the real-time strategy genre, but the creators took a different path in their game design to try and separate their brainchild from the already mountainous library of RTS games out there - to make a horse of a different color, if you will.  So how does this fresh face stack up against the rest of the herd?  Let's take a look.

First, a little back story.  The war is coming.  Your people, the Lokob, are about to be sucked in whether they like it or not.  Realizing the inevitable, it is decided that in order to simply survive you must try to join the alliance and fight alongside two other races, the reptilian Rag'ha and the blue-skinned Y'dray.  Very little is known about your enemy, the Unath, but what is known is frightening.  In order to maintain their advanced technology, the Unath require a certain chemical conveniently located within people of your species and those of your allies'.  Needless to say, you don't want to be taken prisoner.  With the title Commander of Armies?, it is up to you and your comrades to help the alliance and to eventually achieve ultimate victory.  Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done.  It is clear that you are in a dysfunctional relationship.  Both the Rag'ha and the Y'dray are far superior in terms of army size and technological advancement and they know that they could easily wipe you off the map if they wanted to.  This being the case, you are not given a whole lot of respect from your newfound friends?.  You are constantly looked down upon and given very little help in terms of intelligence reports and units.  But, given the choices of destroy or be destroyed, you elect to follow orders and receive your first experience against the Unath.

This game is probably not going to receive any awards in the graphics department.  The maps, for the most part, are very flat looking and serve as nothing more than what they are meant to be, playing boards with no real aesthetic value.  You are obstructed by your basic hindrances: trees, rivers, pools of liquid hot magma, etc. which you must navigate around to reach the enemy.  However, none of the cliffs or other such obstacles have a real feel of projection? from the map.  Most of the maps are also rather dull looking, lacking a whole lot of color, though a few of the later missions take place on a more appealing battlefield with bright green grass and sandy hills.  It is true that you are fighting on hostile alien world, but I would have liked to have seen a little more variety in the three planets on which you fight.  Perhaps a deep blue or orange planet could have replaced a grey one while still maintaining the unforgiving environment? look.  Your units, on the other hand, aren't all that bad looking.  They are all 3D rendered in bright colors and many are wearing nice shiny armor.  The shiny armor I don't quite understand; it's not great camouflage, and I suppose the only real rationale is that if you do die, you'll go down looking cool.  Also enhancing the look of your units is the use of real time shadows.

What this game lacks in looks it makes up for with plot.  Yes, believe it or not, this game has a very good story.  It is here that the true beauty of the game can be found.  Instead of going for a knock-your-socks-off visual presentation, Enemy Technology focused on keeping you locked into this game with its compelling and ever twisting storyline.  I give props to the folks at Enemy Technology for giving their players something other than just a quick fireworks show.

Now we must answer the question, Is it worth turning on my speakers while I play the game??  Yes and no.  During actual gameplay, things can get a little annoying.  Each unit has their own little phrase to recite every time you activate them or give a command, and since you are usually advancing your units rather slowly with constant clicking, hearing we march, commander? every 3 seconds really starts to wear on you.  Also, the background music isn't exactly the kind of stuff you are going to want to pop into your CD player while going on a road trip, but it is better than hearing your troops' voices in total silence.  So why should you have your speakers on during this game?  The voice acting.  This game offers some very impressive voice acting while you are in your pre-mission briefings.  Those of you who are fans of the Dune? series may recognize the voice of Ian McNeice while getting advice from your fellow officer, Colonel Verkkal. 

Gameplay wise, things are pretty straightforward.  You just select a unit, choose a command, and click a target.  Included in the game are the typical RTS units; light infantry, heavy infantry, air units, mortars, and engineering units.  Following the simplistic command mode, all of your units have only one function (or two in the case of your engineering units).  Strangely enough, it is this simplicity which causes the complexity of the game.  Since each unit only performs a single action, it is essential to correctly mix the types of units in your squad since one type of unit cannot make up for another.  One of the twists that makes this game different is that gathering resources has been eliminated.  This allows the player to focus on taking out the enemy.  Instead of amassing materials to build units, you simply request units through a teleportation pad and your troops arrive after a set amount of time.  Your teleportation pad can also be upgraded to allow for delivery of larger units.  Don't expect to move massive armies through teleportation pads, though.  The relatively small maps used in this game keep troop numbers low.  This forces you to think more about how you move and use your units rather than simply how many you have.  Another different touch put in this game is that some missions are designed to be unbeatable by brute force alone.  For example, the success of some missions is based on how much delay you create for an opponent, not how many troops you destroy.  Taking game strategy a step further, your units gain experience and level up as they fight.  Then, after you beat a mission, you have the option of saving your units so you can take them with you to future battles.

It is clear that not everyone will be a fan of I of the Enemy.  Some gamers will not be able to see past the somewhat dated graphics.  Veteran RTS players may also be disappointed with the lack of complexity in regard to units.  Yet, in spite of its flaws, I of the Enemy is exactly what a video game should be, fun to play.  If the great voice acting and fun gameplay doesn't keep you into the game, the story will.  This is a true bargain game that will give you some real bang for your buck, and unless you are morally opposed to the RTS genre, giving this game a play would be $20 well spent.

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