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Future Tactics: The Uprising
game: Future Tactics: The Uprising
three star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Crave
date posted: 12:00 AM Wed Aug 25th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Wed Aug 25th, 2004

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By Eric Qualls

Future Tactics is like a tactical RPG for dummies. It is also an action game for dummies. Put it all together and you have a turn based strategic action game with RPG elements - for dummies. This genre bending game is for people that like the basic idea of tactical RPGs but can't stand to sit for more than thirty seconds without seeing an explosion. Future Tactics isn't necessarily a bad game, but the mix of genres doesn't produce interesting enough gameplay to keep either RPG or action fans happy.

The storyline in Future Tactics is pretty simple and you have probably heard it at least a thousand times before. In the not too distant future, Earth has been invaded by a race of green aliens. A rag tag group of freedom fighters led by a young man named Low discover the aliens' secret, a machine that can bring the dead back to life, and they set out to rid the world of the green menace.

The gameplay in Future Tactics is a combination of tactical RPGs, strategy, and shooters. Your characters basically have two things to do during your turn - move and shoot. Your range of movement is governed by a green circle around your character and you can freely move within the circle. When you stop to perform an action, a smaller blue circle around your character tells you where you can move once your action is finished. The idea is to use your first move so that you have a good shot at an enemy, and then use your second move to dive behind cover. You can also choose to heal or go into defense mode during the action phase of a turn, but shooting is what you'll be doing most of the time.

When you have an idea of where you want to be, it is time to get to shooting. There are several types of ìfuturisticî firearms, but they all boil down to a couple of types, blasters and missiles. You can also use hand to hand tactics if you are close enough. Blaster-type weapons bring up a sniper rifle type scope when you use them. You have to line up the scope with your enemy, and then horizontal and vertical bars move across the screen and you have to stop each of them with a button press. The power of the shot is determined by how closely you can get the horizontal and vertical bars to match up with the crosshairs of the sniper scope. Missile-type weapons switch the game to an overhead view and you can attack enemies as long as they are within a certain distance of you, which is shown by a circle on the map. These different targeting types, particularly for blaster weapons, is more annoying than fun, however.

What makes the battles a little more interesting is that the environments are completely destructible. All of the weapons do a tremendous amount of damage to the environment and it is incredibly easy to blast a crater into the ground or completely cut through a rock or even a hill. You can then hide in the craters or shoot at boulders to send them rolling over enemies.

During their turn, the enemies play the game a little bit differently. They have telepathy and can communicate your position to each other in order to coordinate their team. If you can take out the enemies that know where a certain character is, that character can then move around freely as long as they don't cross the enemy's line of sight. Being careful about where and how you move as well as hiding in the craters you make can add a lot of strategy to a match. At least, that is how it is supposed to work. Most scenarios are on maps with either narrow canyons where it is impossible to avoid the enemies or on huge maps where it is far too easy to hide from them, so this strategy rarely comes into play. The enemy AI is also rather pathetic, and will usually only pursue known enemies - which means you can bait them into an ambush - and they rarely use cover. As you can tell, it is terribly easy to win most battles.

Graphically, Future Tactics is a bit of a mixed bag. The characters have a cartoony style that uses a lot of colors, but overall the models lack detail. The environments are mostly bland, but town levels are more detailed and look very cool after you have completely destroyed them during battle. The sound is mostly well done and the character voices sound pretty good. The only downfall of the sound is that the game is limited to a handful of music tracks, and they become annoying pretty fast. Future Tactics has a lot of interesting concepts, but most of them are implemented in such a half-assed way that the game really suffers. A lot of the strategy elements are pointless to use since the enemy AI is so poor. The only time you really have to worry is when the game throws a ton of enemies at you at once, which isn't very often. The story is weak and fails miserably at trying to keep you interested, so after a few levels of boring gameplay and lame story, you'll likely turn the game off and never touch it again. You can buy the game for less than $20, but it isn't really worth anything more than a rental.