UFO: Afterlight

Dozens of sleepless nights, hundreds of parties and started an eternal promise to himself that way, not once, not able to perform: "one more turn, and everything." My friend, a serious man, and busy, with the word X-COM has suddenly come into a state of extraordinary agitation. It turns out that during his school years, they have played UFO: Enemy Unknown threesome - each player were in charge of two agents, they ruled in turn, pulling each other's mouse and keyboard. "There were suits with rocket backpack. Once I got to the third deck of UFO and looked out the window - remember my friend, lighting a cigarette from the filter. - I saw there sektoida in the laboratory. He bent over the operating table on which lay ... woman. I can not forget that picture ... "

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If you look at the pictures of UFO: Enemy Unknown (VGA, 320 by 200 pixels), it becomes clear that sektoid could not "bend" over the operating table, and a lump of pixels depicting the sacrifice of an autopsy, one could hardly discern sexual characteristics . Self-hypnosis? Hypnosis? Gollop brothers managed to do two things. First, they were able to fit and made to work in a compact body of UFO variety of genres - a tactical simulation, role playing, economic strategy, and even scenes of persecution. This magic formula then repeatedly used by other developers (Jagged Alliance, Wages of War, Paradise Cracked, Silent Storm and dozens of others), and even in the very castrated form - usually without serious economic part - continued to produce amazing results. Secondly, the British from Mythos somehow managed with the help of 256 colors and graphics resolution middling mobile phone to create such a stifling atmosphere of the unconscious fear of the unknown threat that the consequences of this poisoning are still being felt. Any attempt by developers to copy »UFO makes us an ironic smile. All wrong and all wrong. I do not think that starting from Czech developer Altar Games were in great delight, getting into the hands of a green alien from a dried blood Dreamland-pole banner. Such a number of blows from critics and fans of the series, which they received after the release of UFO: Aftermath (2003), does not deserve any, even a bad writer. Continued, UFO: Aftershock (2005), was, in fact, work on the bugs, this game, at least, could try to run. Two years later, on the horizon again shows UFO on the letter "A". Preparing anti-aircraft guns?

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Meeting with "bistmenami" - the first "checking for lice." Quite possibly, you can not pass this mission the first time. Will have to think and come back here again. Top management framework reminds himself, interrupting for a time in important cases. Regular rotation of the storyline is discussed by team members. The player acts as an arbitrator - he makes a decision.

Mission Impossible

Capturing the Earth retikulyane generously did not destroy the indigenous inhabitants - that is you and me, sending the remnants of humanity to skate around the former home of a giant orbital station "Laputa". The fate of the astronauts in detail and in colors described in the previous part of the series, UFO: Aftershock. Part of the earthlings, about ten thousand people, aliens in a frozen form was sent to Mars, built for them in one of the craters of the base-tomb. A couple of dozen lucky thawed and explained how to use retikulyanskimi technology to keep order and to work to transform Mars into a tropical paradise fit for humans. As soon came to a creative activity for the benefit of mankind, humans encountered the remains of an ancient civilization and start trouble, to disentangle which you personally have at least a couple of weeks with a complete separation between school and work. Level of difficulty Impossible, of course.

First impression? Toxic Martian landscape, deliberately "toy" plastic schedule without any hint of realism and a middle-aged lady technician in an awkward suit, the owner of a shrill hysterical falsetto; people with the votes do not have the right to life - allow me to bring down her desyatitonny crane? Scientific laser makes "ISPs, ISPs, and the first robot-alien falls to his knees. Horror. Disaster. Complete degeneration. A heavy sigh, I continue to wade through formal training mission (there is such a word - "need"). Five minutes later I was listening to some curiosity dialogue Chiefs Martian base - they have started a squabble right on the main screen with a globe instead of the usual red planet Earth. After twenty, I still listen to the reports of the owners of many favorites strategic portions Afterlight: «Research", "production", "warehouse", "people" ... Two hours later, control soldiers in a tactical battle ceases to seem "stupid". At three o'clock in the morning I was superhuman effort of will to force myself to turn off your computer, realizing with horror that once again ill UFO. This weekend - no options - it is necessary to devote the colonization of Mars.

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Each built on a module or block is immediately visible on the general plan. Moreover, we ourselves have to choose a place for each new laboratory or station Deep Space Communication. In the center of the base - the holy of holies, cryogenic chamber for ten thousand people. Scientists do not report the exact date of the next opening, and we spend long hours waiting for scientific breakthroughs. The most important topics for research are always greater than the human resources and the emergence of specialized scientists is even more confusing picture. And that's good!

What's happening?

Unexpected metamorphosis of the game is easy to explain. When working on a complete change of the tip Afterlight team: project manager, lead game designer, art director and lead programmer. The graphics engine has remained virtually unchanged, but the look of the game changed dramatically. Radical colors figurines aliens and earthlings resemble children's toys, personnel cramps faces with the screen and faded landscapes of the earth changed picturesque ruins of the Martian rocks and festive shades of the jungle (more on that later). New image of UFO can be annoying, but if you think about it - the first time in the game with the letter "A" got its own, its own style.

Looking closely, we begin to notice other, pleasing to the eye differences. Game licked to a shine. For the first time it did not want to return to the authors for revision - the gaps in the norm, each button on the site, nothing superfluous. Plot events very tactfully woven into the daily routine of the Martian colony, the main protagonists: the chief base, director of scientific development, zavskladom, the chief mechanic and other carefully demonstrate their cartoon faces directly on the main screen, reporting on important news. Well done.The training system comes out of hibernation every time in the game as new items, and sometimes tries to point to innocent player on its possible errors. "Some scientists are not busy, my general. Perhaps it makes sense to build another lab? "Yes, in SimCity, or Black & White such councils - in the order of things, but after the" improvised "cockpit previous UFO: And from such worries about the eyes welling tears of emotion.

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The first descent into the bowels of the alien base is not awe, but pleasantly tickles your nerves. And nothing - nothing serious. Difficult to create in-game atmosphere of terror, if your heroes are reminiscent of Chinese plastic toy soldiers from the "Children's World." With the opening (again!) Automatic weapons destruction unknown enemies becomes a routine process. The main act together and do not look for trouble - the enemies that have no survival instinct, crawling on the noise themselves. Unfortunately or fortunately, with a plot development this primitive tactic stops working.
Managing people is perhaps one of the strongest sides Afterlight. "Do you remember their names" - the authors assure us at the official website of the game. This is not a gimmick. On the second day of the game, I knew in the face not only the members of his combat brigade, but every scientist with a technician. People are sorely lacking. Want to quickly replenish ammunition, or produce a new type of space suits? Shoot specialists with field work, sacrificing pace of exploration of new territories and building mines. Planned to organize training courses for their scientists? They have to send in a classroom, stop or slow work on research projects. Everyone here - not just a notional unit of resource. With the experience of soldiers, scientists and technicians were added to the levels and programs offered training so much that scatter eyes. Whom to teach? What to teach? How to spend the principal and an invaluable resource - time? Afterlight offers a dull choice. Pay attention to people with mixed specialization: warriors / scholars, soldiers / technicians or scientists / technicians. Why take a dead four-eyes on the job, if you already have a well-trained and battle-hardened team of thugs? It turns out that only scientists can handle the first aid kit, a technique capable of repairing spacesuits in the field and juggle with explosives. In addition, work in "hot spots" help theorists and practitioners to grow professionally, not only for "combat" direction.

Very elegantly the authors treated the fans of the rapid expansion of the territory: depending on the activity of the sun and time of day in different parts of a danger to which your space suits and can not cope. Exit? Speed ​​up the exploration of new means of protection, choose the time of the operation or force of technicians to run the soldiers with a blowtorch. With the discovery of technology terramorphing bleak Martian deserts turn into flourishing green jungle and the hated suits will be completely abandoned.

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The local technicians a lot of work in the walls and outside of the Martian base. Fortunately, our specialists are progressing very quickly, and if you do not forget about professional training, working effectively, even alone. Holy of Holies UFO: Afterlight - Centre for human resources management.Here we are throwing experience points gained new levels of heroes, we send people to training and redistribute tasks. A day later, you will know its people by name.

Is there life on Mars?

Deserted and abandoned by all Mars suddenly turns the place is very popular. In an effort to expand its ownership of the player quickly discovers its neighbors, whose number is the development of narrative intrigue will only increase. "Earth" makes contact and begins to help financially, brothers retikulyane in exchange for a peace deal sent its experts to share experiences on the stage, new actors ... Diplomatic palette Afterlight, perhaps not as colorful as in Europa Universalis 3, however, on your choice of allies and enemies depend very much. Refusing to help retikulyan, you will be able to qualify for their resource-rich territory, but lose the ability to use the "tadpoles" in his team. Scientists are struggling with the new discoveries of days, weeks and months - you never know exactly how many left the team before the next breakthrough. The choice of topics for research - another way to influence the course of the game.

While "bigheads and technology in the sweat of toil on the base, the soldiers engaged in" putting out fires. " New hot spots may appear on the map at any time. Some of them - the important milestones in the plot, the rest - the chaotic activity of our opponents. The Battle of Mars will continue for as long as the enemy does not destroy the cryogenic tank with the bodies of ten of thousands of earthlings. To protect their lives - a handful of humans and aliens, armed with anything: from a circular saw to psychotropic weapons.

The tactical portion of the game is traditionally weaker. Topography and buildings remain (pozor! shame!) Refuse to respond to the shock effect of even the most powerful weapon. Graphic effects and sounds of shooting is unlikely to cause you have something other than a sad smile. On "normal" level of monotonous missions begin to cause a yawn: monsters hopelessly out of their darkness and silence is melting under machine-gun fire of our "team." The main thing here - move in one group and not close to each other sectors of fire. Such tactics are "psychic attack" works seamlessly most of the game and later begin surprises. Afterlight generally likes to hold periodic reality check relaxed players. As soon as you feel that victory is around the corner, once the mission found a new portion of the alien horror and your team of seasoned "pros" roll walnut. At the beginning of our fighters - mere infants; do not know how to fire kneeling, crawling on their bellies, or running around in suits. Even such basic things they have to teach. It's funny. At the level of hard and impossible to think his head. The enemy's resistance increases: missile weapons and psionic control are doing terrible things. Perhaps we should use droids to distract the enemy "shamans"? Or bring a few high-snipers? Or continue to taunt enemies with psionic tricks? Much to our happiness, Afterlight gives us the opportunity to choose.

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Trade with aliens or transfers with inadequate sectarians from the planet Earth? Diplomatic system Afterlight not limit your choice of enemies and allies. Survived. Stranger led combat mission to Mars. By the way, these guys were irreplaceable fighters, although some prefer to refuse assistance retikulyan and capture their resource-rich southern territory.

The Martian Chronicles

Altar Games matereyut with each new project. It is a pity that the punching bag for training new team of professionals has become crystal dream of our uneasy childhood.On the other hand, well, that the industry still have publishers willing to fund such a complex and "niche" games like UFO: Afterlight. The authors finally got rid of the worst legacies of Dreamland and groped for something new, my, now. I really hope they will not leave his attempts. Pool is ready. Pull up your socks rubber caps and dive safely. Water is about to launch. I promise.


Speaking of the bird. In the spring of this year goes UFO: Extraterrestials (www.ufo-extraterrestrials.com) by Chaos Concept. Amateur fashion, who grew up five years before the state of the commercial project, Extraterrestials - an informal "continued» UFO: Enemy Unknown: classic turn-based mode without RTS-tricks, destructible terrain, and (as promised), toothy artificial intelligence. We are closely watching the developments.

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Good angle? Net production. Needless nimble camera and full of unpredictable twists Martian terrain requires a virtuoso of the mouse. At the beginning of equipping the team - a headache player. Ammo is not enough, scientists can not cope with the volume of work, technology is constantly walking outside the base. We have to arm circular saws.
Attention! We also recommend you read the brief history of UFO and UFO-like games in our special materials «UFO: Fall sektoida.