here's the situation. It's the 22nd century. Earth has
been blown to hell by war, famine, and disease. The
United Nations, recognizing that the earth will not
be a viable place to live in a few more decades, decides
that they must act to preserve the human race. The plan
is to settle colonies on another planet. If successful
it will be a new beginning for the human race in a vast
A slight problem occurs during the flight to this
new planet. The Unity, the spaceship that is transporting
the colonists to this new planet, has a malfunction
with its engines and is damaged. The 7 leaders aboard
the Unity begin to argue and there is a split between
their followers, which leads to the creation of 7 different
ideological factions. Descending to the planet one can
only wonder what the fate of these brave pioneers will
be. To find out, take control of a faction and lead
them to victory or defeat.
as it's commonly called, is Sid Meier's most recent
blockbuster civilization simulation. The game is very
much a futuristic version of Civilization 2. A turn
based strategy game; SMAC is one of the best story driven
games I have seen in a while. In many ways this impressive
creation exceeds and improves upon its predecessor in
the gaming world. And as much improvement as it has
made, there are still some annoying traits that are
As far as turn based strategy games go this one
does have some interesting features. You have a choice
of selecting between 7 different factions with different
backgrounds and ways of accomplishing their goals. A
few of these factions are the University, who are the
scientists of the bunch, The Believers, who are religious
fanatics, and the Spartans, a group of survivalists.
Each one of these groups has benefits and drawbacks.
For instance if you pick the Hive as your faction you
get free perimeter defenses at all you bases which can
be very helpful at the beginning of the game but you
cannot use a democratic style of government. If you
are a University fan, you receive benefits in the research
section of society which help you make advances quicker
than the other factions but you have a weak military.
Each faction excels at one point or another so there
is no real advantage over the others. You can customize
your faction as well by changing your government, economic
system, and your society's values.
the game can be achieved 5 different ways. You can win
through diplomacy, conquest, economic, transcendent,
and cooperative means. Any of these goals may be turned
off so you can attempt to beat the game the way you
want to. An interesting and helpful new feature in the
game is the city governor. This function automatically
takes the measures to ensure no rioting occurs, builds
units to garrison your cities, and can be modified to
govern however you choose. You can set it up to build
and produce more military units to defend or conquer
with or it can be set to discover mode, which increases
your city's science and research output.
up are the units. Can't very well play a strategy game
without any units. This is where the game generally
bothers me. Unoriginality kills the fun of the units
in my eyes. While you may be able to get new and more
powerful units they never look that much different.
E.g. A needle jet, no matter what adjective you throw
in front of its name still looks almost like the original
needle jet. Yes it may be more powerful but its boring
to watch the same unit through most of the game whether
it can kill 30 units without dying or not.
honestly did like two things about the units in this
game though. First they are fully customizable from
the weapons they carry right down to their shielding.
You can have your units your way, right away. The second
thing I loved was that you can capture the indigenous
life forms on the planet and use them in your military.
A powerful weapon indeed if your starting military is
mind numbing aspect is watching every unit that is even
remotely close to one of your units or city's move.
This isn't a problem in the beginning of the game when
units are few and far between. However, later on when
factions start getting eradicated, watching all that
unit movement begins to become irritating. I couldn't
find an option in the preferences that let you turn
this feature off. I did find ways to make allied and
enemy units move faster, but even if you do that it
still tends to take a while for the turn to end.
far as the interface goes to this brand spanking new
game. Well I've seen it before, as have any Civilization
2 fans. The built in governor is a nice addition. The
new communication screen is nice as well and makes it
much easier to get in touch with other faction leaders.
You can even call a council and elect a leader or revoke
sanctions on atrocities. Even with these improvements
I was not overly impressed with the interface. You can
however access a screen and change your research goals
if you feel like you need to, but this option does not
greatly improve gameplay unless you are working with
a partner in multi-player. Multi-player is quite easy
to play and fun as well, even when you have a timer
set on how long your turn gets to be.
I'd have to say that I loved the game's storyline (although
its basic plot did seem a bit reminiscent of a sci-fi
series that flopped a few years back). The gameplay
was very nice and the graphics were good too. The "wonders"
that you can build are impressive as well as the cinematic
screens that go along with them. The unoriginality in
unit appearance kind of killed the game for me and the
good soundtrack that overshadows the game can get on
your last nerve depending on how long you've been playing.
It just continually loops.
game is definitely worth the price you pay for it. I
recommend it highly. I've pointed out many aspects that
are unlikable but it's still a fun enough game to want
to go out and dominate in. I personally would have to
recommend Civilization: Call to Power over this game
for fun and excitement but the system requirements for
that game tend to be a bit higher than the ones for
give Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri an 8 out of 10 stars
that it richly deserves.
Written By Werewolf
(While not writing for this magazine Werewolf anticipates
a sequel to the Teen Wolf movies so he can cash in and
become a hairy, howling movie star)