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Sid Meier's Alien Crossfire
Minimum specs:  Unavailable
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Turn-based Strategy
Release Date: Out now No Players:  Unavailable
UK price: £15 PC Gamer Score: 49%

Article first published: Issue 80, March 2000
Writer:  Dan Mayers

EA come up with an add-on that actually adds very little on at all.

Welcome back to the second semester of Space Age Strategy, Class 101. Things have gotten complicated on Planet Planet. You’ll remember, of course, that in the original Alpha Centauri there were seven factions on the ill-fated craft Unity, ranging from the great and the good to the outright despotic. Alien Crossfire opens up five new human factions and a couple of nasty alien types that are locked in a civil war.

So that’ll be seven factions then, just like the last installment. Come to think of it, what is different about this pack? Ummm, new factions, a few new technology units, new landmarks on the face of Planet – like the wreckage of the aforementioned good ship Unity – and... that’s pretty much it. Gasp.

Yes, Alpha Centauri was a cracking game. Deep, well thought-out, in certain circles as engrossing as a game of petanque. But you have to ask what this add-on pack actually adds to the original. It’s mildly pleasurable to see some new research targets, and warring alien races are a nice touch, but the new factions still drop into the same stereotypes that flawed the original game.

See, we’re getting to the stage where, if we’re thinking about putting ideologies into computer game characters, we also need to think about how we make those ideologies flexible, how the player can manipulate and experiment with their character’s philosophy. At the moment there’s no capacity for this, because you’re inherently limited by the train tracks of those blasted technology trees.

So, reasons to buy this game if you’ve already got the first game? None. It’s simply for those who follow Alpha Centauri like a religion.

Simply one for those who follow Alpha Centauri like a religion.
   

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