Starship Troopers: Terran’s Command Review

Visually stunning, brutal, and often misunderstood: When Starship Troopers was released in cinemas in 1997, the movie was the exact opposite of many critics. Some criticized Paul Verhoeven’s ambitious science fiction film as a brutal battlefield, while others interpreted the film as an anthem of brutal army. In Germany, the unabridged version has even been in the catalog for years. Director Verhoeven defended himself against the allegations, and the film found countless fans — and today it enjoys little cult status. However, it is doubtful that the same will be said of Starship Troopers: Terran Command within 25 years. Since the real-time strategy game is nothing but a cult, it shows obvious flaws in testing and can’t hide its low budget. And still: we had a lot of fun with this thing!

Because the developers of The Artistocrats have understood what is important: respectful handling of the license, combined with solid gameplay and a decent atmosphere – that’s all it takes for a few hours of entertaining. The price also reflects the following: at a reasonable price of 25 euros, Terran Command confidently positions itself in the second row and does not even try to compete with heavyweights such as Total War or Age of Empires 2. Terran Command bakes smaller cakes, sometimes using fairly cheap flour. But if you’re not expecting an expensive gourmet sandwich anyway, that’s okay.

Only a dead insect is a good insect

Terran Command is set after the first movie and doesn’t use any known characters. All we know is that the war between humans and bugs – a deadly insect strain – is still raging. By the way, the game does not tell us who we are: as players, we are not part of the plot and therefore do nothing more than give orders. Terran Command also does not offer any multiplayer modes, skirmishes or special modes, instead it focuses entirely on the single player campaign that should keep you occupied for about 15 hours. This time, the campaign against insects takes you to the desert planet Kualacha, which is very visually reminiscent of Klandathu from the movie template: so you mainly see rubble and sand and here and there a few buildings, some levels also play in underground caves and mines or in a destroyed city. The gameplay is completely linear, so there is no strategic map or decisions between missions. You can’t take units from class to class or expand the technology tree – the developers have saved all of that.

Tower Defense: In siege battles we have to defend a base on multiple fronts. [Quelle: PC Games]

Instead, there is a mix of aggressively designed missions, most of which boil down to the same goals. As a rule, you either have to clear the map of bug colonies and take out their underground burrows, or you have to defend a base against waves of increasingly powerful attacks as the bugs advance with giant spiders and other mindless crawling reptiles. In internal missions you cannot order supplies, in external levels you usually have unlimited reserves available for this.

In some levels you will be regularly shot by plasma bugs, which are basically huge artillery units with enormous range. Every now and then, there are also small escort missions in the program. So the mission design isn’t particularly fancy, but that’s good for playing time and sometimes really exciting: on the third of five levels of difficulty we rarely really sweat, but in some situations it’s tight. Terran Command conveys the feeling of fighting against a numerically superior insect army.

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