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I of the Enemy
game: I of the Enemy
posted by: George Holomshek
publisher: Enemy Technology LLC
developer: Enemy Technology LLC
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 12:00 AM Thu Nov 25th, 2004
last revision: 12:00 AM Thu Nov 25th, 2004

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It is tough to know what to think when you hear about a real-time strategy game involving aliens that use the bodily fluids of your people to maintain their own civilization. Yet this is the practice, and the mystery surrounding it, that fuels the fire in Enemy Technology's new game, "I of the Enemy".

Initially, the plot of this game is straightforward. A war is raging somewhere in the deep of space. You, a Lokob officer with the title "Commander of Armies", are commissioned to lead your troops in the campaign against the Unath. However, being too small of a force to fight alone, you must join an alliance and fight alongside two other races, the Rag'ha and the Y'dray. From the very beginning you can sense that there is not a whole lot of love in this relationship and, even though they accepted you, it is obvious that your two allies aren't completely at ease with the idea of having you with them. Nevertheless, you soon receive your initial briefing and prepare for your first taste of battle.

Graphically, this game looks very dated. The map on which you move your units is nothing short of ugly. The trees and cliffs appear flat and don't provide any real sense of projection from the landscape; this is in spite of the fact that they block your path anyway. Other features such as ponds and bushes serve the same function but are also so dull and flat looking they don't provide any aesthetic value to the landscape. Thankfully, your units look a little better than the landscape on which you command them. While not the most complex characters I have ever seen, they are completely 3D rendered and look good enough to give the impression that they can actually fight.

As a whole, RTS games are not necessarily known for their outstanding sound effects and stellar music, and this game is no exception. Each unit has their obligatory pair of monotone phrases to recite whenever you activate them, and the background music seems to want you to believe that you are surrounded by singing monks. The news isn't all bad, though. Your briefings between missions contain some very good voice acting. Those of you who are fans of the "Dune" series may recognize the voice of Ian McNeice during briefings with your comrade Colonel Verkkal.

Movement of your units on the map is easy enough. Activate a unit, select a command, and pick a target. Your units are all simplistic as well, each possessing just one or two functions. Despite this simple gameplay, the game requires the use of tactics which may take some players a little time to get used to. The missions are set up to keep unit numbers low and make you focus more on how you use your troops instead of how many you have. Thus, instead of just taking all your troops and marching into enemy territory with the simple goal of annihilating everything in sight, there will be many times in which a different strategy will be required. There are a number of missions which are designed to be unbeatable by brute force alone; as an alternative in these cases, victory is measured in terms of the amount of delay or other such hindrances you manage to inflict on the enemy. Another thing that gives I of the Enemy a different feel is that there is less emphasis put on the gathering of goods and supplies. This allows the player to focus more on the military action and tactics required to beat the mission. Even more strategy comes into play as you can carry units with you from mission to mission. This is made all the more important because your units level up as they gain more experience in battle.

If you prefer to do more than just defeat the pre-programmed opposition in campaign mode, be at ease. You and your friends will be able to play together via a LAN or over the internet with GameSpy. Included in this multiplayer mode is the ability to bring along your saved troops. Another neat feature to be incorporated into the game is going to be the ability for you to create your own map using a map editor. It will be interesting to see exactly how big of an advantage you can give yourself by loading up one of your custom maps to try out on your pals.

I of the Enemy will not be on every gamer's wish list. Veteran RTS players will probably be disappointed by the less than stunning graphics and the simplistic style of play. But, if you are new to the world of RTS games, or even if you are an old pro who just wants to try a game with a little different feel to it, give this one some thought; and with a price tag under $20, why wouldn't you? It may not shake the gaming world or change your view of video games forever, but it will be an entertaining RTS game with a well presented story and enough plot twists to keep you into it to the end.

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