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Allegiance Review
June 01, 2000   Jakub Wojnarowicz > [View My Other Articles]
Product Info | User Reviews | Article Images(45) | Image Gallery | Comments | Forum Thread
Game Without a Genre

Developed by Microsoft Research Games
Published by: Microsoft
Allegiance official page: http://www.microsoft.com/games/allegiance/

What?

Allegiance is just one of those games that is impossible to classify. So how do you even start describing it? Well, imagine taking a mix of Team Fortress, EverQuest, Wing Commander and Homeworld. Enough genres in there yet? Let's explain how Allegiance has parts of each.

Allegiance Review [ Ship Selection @ 800 x 600 ] > View Full-Size in another window.
Ship Selection

Allegiance Review [ Ship Selection @ 800 x 600 ] > View Full-Size in another window.
Ship Selection

You see, in Allegiance, you will be flying a space fighter or bomber, going around and blowing up enemy targets. The difference is that unlike in a Wing Commander game, the enemy fighters aren't simpleminded AIs. They are almost all living beings. Except for mining ships, every craft in Allegiance is piloted and manned by a player somewhere in the world. He might also have onboard gunners - again, human ones - to spice things up. Suddenly, that big, lumbering bomber isn't that easy to take out, is it?

In fact, there can be so many players in Allegiance at one time that it approaches the massively multiplayer boundary. We've played matches with more than a hundred other people involved. Much like EverQuest, Allegiance is split up into zones which you can reach through the wormhole-like alephs. You'll also find that you're forced to group and co-operate to take down bigger enemy craft, as well as using your own. Busting out with a cruiser *requires* that people sign on as turret gunners.

Allegiance Review [ Turn turn! @ 800 x 600 ] > View Full-Size in another window.
Turn turn!

Allegiance Review [ Holy mother of... @ 800 x 600 ] > View Full-Size in another window.
Holy mother of...

More "What"?

However, to afford that cruiser, you need money. This money is spent on the tech tree, on new structures and on expansion. Almost RTS-like qualities, no? You start off with your base and all the pilots have a basic fighter-style craft they can use. Quickly, you must decide on a commander who will deal with finances, and if necessary, give orders. You can, of course, decide to keep the money you earn to yourself or pass it on to a second commander, but this has the adverse effect of splitting the money pool. Unfortunately, two buildings/techs/craft worth X credits are never quite as good as a single item worth 2X credits. This is especially true with the craft that you fly, since you're always limited in the number of pilots you can have.

The choice of craft that you fly is much like choosing a class in Team Fortress. Some ships are good for some roles, but awful at others. You don't want to go on long-range attacks with an interceptor, but also don't want to end up defending your base with a scout. Other craft are balanced by cost and man-time. A cruiser is slow moving death, but it's hideously expensive and takes an awfully long time to get to its destination. These pilots, of course, won't be available for other duties. You'd better also find yourself some escorts, just in case...

    King? How's it like to be in Control? Next!
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