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Sid Meiers Alien Crossfire reviews in Strategy for PC-Personal Computer Reviews Section
 
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     Sid Meiers Alien Crossfire in Strategy for PC

Sid Meiers Alien Crossfire in Strategy for PC
Title: Sid Meiers Alien Crossfire
Release Date: 20-October-1999
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Firaxis Games
Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC-Personal Computer (PC)
Rating: 0/5 (0 Votes)
   
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General/Summary:

There are three things by which you judge an expansion pack:



1. Does it offer the same great gameplay as the original?

2. Does it improve and expand on features in the original?

3. Does it advance the story of the original?




Alien Crossfire accomplishes the first two items splendidly, but falls short in the third in a curious way. Instead of expanding on the story of the original Alpha Centauri, Alien Crossfire instead offers up an alternate history of what happened on Planet. Still, the strengths of this add-on to one of the best strategy games ever far outweigh this one quibble, and make Alien Crossfire a must-buy for Alpha Centauri fans.


Gameplay:

First let’s talk about the interface. Alien Crossfire is unique in that it doesn’t create a separate executable from Alpha Centauri – it rolls up Alpha Centauri and Alien Crossfire into one executable that you launch from the Alien Crossfire cd. So put that Alpha Centauri cd away, because you’ll never be using it again. The first menu asks if you want to play Alien Crossfire or “Classic” (that’s Alpha Centauri, not Coke Classic). The Alien Crossfire interface is identical to that of the original, which will make Alpha Centauri players feel right at home. The faction screen allows you to set the default factions to either the seven original from Alpha Centauri, or the seven new factions. From this list you can then mix and match any combination of factions you want.



The gameplay itself is the same as the original with the addition of some new technologies, new secret projects, new facilities, new alien life forms, and new monuments. One great new twist is the ability to send a probe team in to rescue the leader of a faction that’s been eradicated, allowing that faction to begin again. Faction leaders can also sometimes escape on their own the moment their last base has been captured. The addition of the two new alien factions also adds a new spin on the game, as these two factions are superior to any of the human factions. This means that in order to win, you need to concentrate much more on diplomacy and covert operations than in Alpha Centauri, as opposed to sheer military build-up. If these two alien factions were a fixed part of every contest, I probably wouldn’t like Alien Crossfire as much, but the ability to either include or exclude them from games depending on what mood you’re in solves this. The new human factions, on the other hand, just aren’t as interesting as the originals. You could relate to the Morganites, Peacekeepers, and Believers because of their relevance to the world we live in. New factions like Nautilus Pirates and the Cybernetic Something-Or-Others seem more like characters out of a bad cyberpunk novel.



As I said above, Alien Crossfire doesn’t advance the story of the original so much as replace it. The game still starts in year 2100, except that instead of the original factions, you have a whole new set of factions arriving on Planet, with the aliens dropping in a few turns later. I would have liked to have seen the story picked up about five hundred years later, preserving the exploits of the original factions, while start
ing a whole new chapter in the saga. Also, the drama of seven distinct groups of humans trying to forge a new civilization on another planet is more appealing to me than a Star Trek-style battle between humans and aliens.


Graphics:

Same as the original, but improved. Some units have been re-drawn , such as mining platforms. Others look the same, but are sharper and stand out better on the map. The base designs for the new factions, I should also add, are a lot "cooler" looking than the bases in the original. The secret project movies, as always, are outstanding


Sound:

Sound is better than the original, but there are still some problems. There are new weapons sounds, and the sounds are clearer now. Theme music is more prominent than in the original, when it tended to fade into the background. There are still inexplicable audio cracking noises on my machine when certain windows pop up. I have an SB Live sound card, and experienced the same thing when playing Alpha Centauri with my old SB 16. This is a minor nuisance, however. Voice acting, as in the original, is excellent
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