|Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri
by Steve Martin
Legendary game designer Sid Meier presents the next evolution in strategy games, with the most addictive, compelling gameplay yet. Explore the alien planet that is your new home and uncover its myriad mysteries. Discover over 75 extraordinary technologies. Build over 60 base upgrades and large scales secret projects for your empire. Conquer your enemies with a war machine that you design from over 32,000 possible unit types.
If you are a fan of Civilization I or II, you’ll see a lot of resemblance in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (SMAC). SMAC has the same style of city building, resource management, and VERY addictive gameplay. If you’re new to this type of game, you’re in for a real treat. The game is very solid and well developed and will keep you entertained for hours on end. Just when you think you’ve learned all there is to know you’ll uncover something new.
Learning SMAC is a breeze with the built in tutorial system. The manual instructs you NOT to read the manual but instead, go straight to the game and play using the tutorial system. This is an excellent way to learn the basics of gameplay.
The longer you play the more you will discover. Along with a huge variety of units you can build and customize, you can develop and customize cities. Combine the excellent base building, the management of your people, the huge number of units you can command, and you have yourself a game that will entertain you endlessly. (After having played SMAC for over 30 hours in two nights, I can attest to its addictive qualities.)
SMAC offers one of three objectives. You can complete the game by conquest, diplomacy, or development. Conquest is probably the easiest method. Diplomacy is a little tricky, but with the UN peacekeeping force it can be done with relative ease.
One of the most challenging and rewarding ways to win is by development and actually learning the secret of the game. I won’t divulge just what that secret is, but trying to accomplish winning in this manner plays out almost like an adventure game. Winning the game using any method is still a personal triumph, since you’ll probably have to invest several hours into winning.
With the story progressing and the development of new technologies, you’ll enjoy building new items to help further your goal. Each time you obtain a new technology you are treated to cut scenes that range from stunningly beautiful to eerily haunting.
You can choose to complete the game using one of seven factions. The factions are as follows: Gaia’s Stepdaughters: An ecologically aware faction. They have advantages when it comes to exploration and development. The also have the empathic ability to attempt to control mind worms and Isle of the Deep alien lifeforms.
Human Hive: A collective colony. They follow a strict government that controls every aspect of their population. They have the advantage of Loyalty and they tend to develop and grow faster than the other factions. The other factions dislike the leader of this faction, so it may be a challenge for a diplomatic completion of the game when playing with the Human Hive.
Morgan Industries: A corporate faction. They have the advantage of added income through various means. They are a financially superior faction.
University of Planet: The learners. They are always in relentless pursuit of knowledge…no matter what the cost. They make technological discoveries at a faster pace than other factions.
Spartan Federation: The Militaristic faction. While militarily superior, they don’t share the same economic strengths as the other factions.
The Lord’s Believers: The religious faction. Very devote and dedicated, the Believers have an added bonus when attacking due to the strength of their convictions. They tend to make technological advances more slowly than the other races.
The Peacekeeping Forces: The UN faction. Their job is to uphold the morals of the UN charter to Planet. The Peacekeepers attract the intellectual elite into their faction. They have the advantage of diplomacy.
Using any of these factions presents various strengths and weaknesses. I completed the game with both Gaia’s Stepdaughters and the Human Hive, but I think my favorite of the factions is the University. You’ll have to concentrate on the military aspects early to ward off your knowledge greedy neighbors.
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Last Updated April 19th, 1999