Two of my soldiers breach the entrance to a crashed UFO. I am welcomed by an alien, but I am ready. I select my soldier’s gun and fire. First shot misses. Second shot misses. The third shot strikes the alien in the chest. I grin and stop my turn. My happiness turns to shame as two other aliens approach from the darkness and gun down my soldiers. I curse under my breath and start my turn. Those aliens are going to pay. Of course, it’s just another sleepless night playing X-Com. 

    Be warned, X-Com is not your standard top down strategy game. You are outnumbered and outgunned, and if a soldier dies, they are not coming back. And they will die, very, very frequently. Enemies may flank your army and kill all of your soldiers with a single rocket launcher shot. They will be hiding in buildings, taking humans hostages, and setting up traps.


   To play X-Com, you have to think of everything that could possibly happen. For all you know, the second your prized sniper gets off of the carrier a barrage of plasma gunfire could kill him. Or, a group of never before seen aliens will be waltzing around with insanely powerful weapons and armor.


    In combat, you will need to eliminate all enemy soldiers. To be able to even stand a chance against the harder aliens, you need to scavange everything from the aliens. Bodies, weapons, technology, everything that could possibly help you. After the battle, you get to go back to the lab and research your prize. After researching, you could then branch off and produce bigger and better weapons and tech.


 When you are not researching and producing new weapons or slaughtering extra-terrestrial hordes, you have to keep the world happy. You will need to manage your base, always adding in new helipads or new labs. On the world map, you can see where all alien activities are happening. You can set up more bases so that you can see UFOs around the world and then shoot them down with your fighter jets.


   The graphics look like a good super nintendo game, crisp and smooth. The only graphics that are muddy and unappealing are the character close ups are really ugly. For example…


 Some parts of the game could be forgiven back in the early 90’s, but now they are insane. Your soldiers have to march out one by one, and they could be picked off while walking down the ramp. The aliens have farther range, so they can shoot you before you even know they are there. The time unit way of measuring turns is insanely outrageous, and chances are that your soldier will only be able to take three steps before having to wait so that they can pull a counterattack on an alien force that may never engage you.


  In all, the game is a great Sci-Fi romp through a terrifying alien invasion. While ugly models and outdated gameplay hold it back, this is easily one of the best games ever created.


SCORE: 9.5

PRICE: 5 dollars (Steam)


PLAY IF YOU LIKE: Fire emblem, Advance wars, Age of empires, Civilization, Sim City, Chess

BETTER THAN: Fire emblem: The Sacred Stones, Advance Wars, X-Com Terror from the deep

WORSE THAN: Age of empires III, Civ V