PC Gamer Game Club: Week 2 – X-COM

xcom thumb

For the second week of the PC Gamer Game Club, the collective of gamers have agreed to purchase, install, and play X-COM: UFO Defense and then have a chat about it. To find out what they thought, read on.

Kazz was already gaming when X-COM: UFO Defense came out in 1994, but he didn't pick it up.

"Had about an hour on it last night, mixed impressions so far. Whilst exploring crash site 2 after losing the first UFO, I spent most of the time wandering around in woodland somewhere in Sweden. I was slightly surprised when a tree blasted my lead scout with some sort of laser, causing him to die instantly. Of course, that 'tree' was an alien. Gonna have to pay more attention to these 16 year old graphics."

Soon the thread became a discussion of the various aliens in the game, and greenbeermonkey decided to elaborate on the very worst of them all:

"The Chryssalid is the dedicated Terror Unit of the Snakeman, and will only be seen accompanying them. One of the most feared enemies of X-COM, these creatures have shiny black exoskeletons, an insect-like look, and a toothy grin. They resemble the art of H.R. Giger. They have incredible mobility, lightning-fast reflexes, and can absorb large amounts of fire. These abilities allow them to slug it out long enough to deliver their chief threat: their infectious bite, which can penetrate even the thickest armor.

"The ability of a single specimen to turn an entire troop of X-COM operatives into a new population of Chryssalids is the stuff of a Commander's nightmares. Killing Chryssalids should be your top priority whenever they are present. Concentrate fire upon them. Don't be afraid to sacrifice any civilians or X-COM troops nearby-- if the Chryssalid doesn't die, they'll probably be infected anyway. Ensure that all Chryssalids that drop are dead, not merely unconscious. Listen for the lack of a death-cry - do not hesitate in blowing up its body to finish the job."

Kazz got frustrated when he couldn't intuit the location of the entrance to the UFOs themselves, which work like automatic doors. He included the above picture, and said:

"Ok, now call me dense, but I'm just getting annoyed now.

"Where the **** is the door? I've done the level up / down buttons, but didn't reveal much. There is a bit between the two south-west facing windows, but I can't get anywhere near it as it seems to cover a tile and a half. There doesn't seem to be any aliens insde and the ones outside and around the farm I killed. I think this is the first game in ages where I've thought, what the hell is going on here?!

"Shame, I really want to get into this. Apart from the UFO entry its been quite enjoyable."

Cirius chimed in with the solution:

"UFO doors, indeed any doors are operated by moving a grunt up to them, and right clicking. The door opens, there's an alien on the other side, and he immediately kills whoever opened the door. Don't open doors with important people. Act like the queen. Have the grunts do the door opening for you."

But the highlight of the thread so far has been this post from RockyMtnYeti:

"The one and only time I beat X-Com UFO: Defense was an epic battle upon which no one survived. After... just a massacre on the surface of Mars, I was only able to get 6 or 7 of my team into the subterranean base. Entering the base proved even less forgiving as it didn't take long for me to get down to 2 men, my two heroes.

"These two moved slowly, saving precious time units for reaction shots. Bam, 1 down. Zap, another dropped. Methodically, purposefully, they moved through room after room, corridor after corridor. Smack, Zip, another 2 reaction kills. This time was pure luck, an alien came through a door, who got shot, but the auto-fire hit the hidden Muton behind him too.

"Finally our two hopeless heroes made it to the central control room, THE room. I saw it for the first time, the brain... An alien reaction shot takes down one [alien grunt], I'm now down to my last man.

"My commander. Earth's last hope.

"I move inward slightly, to get a closer shot at the mother-brain, and *Click*. "Oh Shit!" I think as 'out of ammo' flashes red in the bar on the bottom of the screen, what am I going to do? It is me, one alien, the brain, and my empty plasma gun. I look in my inventory, one grenade, my only hope. I move the grenade from my belt to my hand...precious time units gone. I prime the grenade. I got to throw...I am 2 time units short!!! NOOO!

"My only option, charge the brain [with the live grenade in hand] ... I run (2 spaces closer) and end my turn. The alien commander in the room takes a shot, miss... Another shot, hit... I fall. My last vision is the grenade exploding, just close enough to damage and destroy the brain. End credits roll. Only once have I made it. Only once.

"Best game ever."

Fancy joining in? This week, they'll be playing the original Fallout. Here's the thread , and you can pick up Fallout at GoodOldGames.com for $5.99 if you don't have it.