The latest game to come screaming from Putney-based software house EIDOS (who are also about to bring us Deathtrap Dungeon and Terracide,) into my grubby little hands is Cave Wars, a turn-based resource management affair set in one of those semi-mythological history books that insist we once possessed the power of wizardry.
Actually, for a change Earth isn't the venue, but a strange land called Ibido. Below the surface of the planet, eight races battle for supremacy. Above the planet everything is run by the Conservative Party (The press release actually says, An evil and twisted race of immense power... Yeah, I see your point -Ed). The idea is that first you choose a race, then beat the cajones out of all the others, and finally take to the surface and knock out the big boys. I think it's called progressive evolution. Or zany, knockabout fun. I can never remember which.
Back to basics
Cast your mind back to pre-Command & Conquer days. Eerie, isn't it? Look over there, people are still playing Doom! How quaint. Anyway, before C&C there was a game called Dune II. Similar in style, top-down perspective, resourcemanagement, unfolding maps. A pretty smart if somewhat under-appreciated game. However, ever since C&C breathed new life into the genre, we've seen a gamut of like-minded titles, all insisting that they do things better and faster and smarter and prettier.
Which is why it's refreshing to hear someone say, "Sod that for a game of artificially intelligent soldiers. Let's get the basics right and worry about frills later. Cave Wars owes more to Dune II than Command & Conquer, and as a result could be just the thing to put an end to all those complaints about troops that behave like cabbages, despite your having given them a step by step list of instructions with all the big words spelt phonetically.
You are in control of everything. Absolutely everything, meaning that you have to be constantly aware of every unit's position, every miner's current work rate, every enemy troop. If you screw up and lose the game, it's no good yanking the cd out of your pc, it's your fault, not the computer's.
Cave Wars starts you out in the early days of technology. Sticks and stones are what hurt your bones. As you explore the area around your home city, you need to find minerals to excavate and turn into resources, food to feed your ever-expanding populace and more cities to conquer. Uniquely, each of your units, be they soldier, miner or whatever, has a field of influence around him, meaning that you own whatever territory you are close to. You can't just discover a patch of tasty edibles, claim it in the name of the king and then wander off. If you want it, you gotta protect it.
Sounds basic to me
Avalon Hill have a distinct strategy in mind when it comes to their approach to games. Outside of the computer world, they are best-known for producing some horrifically complex table-top wargames (the kind with rule books that fill out volumes upon volumes). Hence they know their market. They're not trying to produce a Command & Conquer rival - far from it. Instead they want to worry about getting the strategic content of their games right. Just as an adventure game needs to concentrate on a good story rather than its graphics, so a strategy game needs to present you with a decent challenge rather than a nice way of presenting each mission. Cave Wars is hoping to have hardcore strategy gamers jumping with excitement come March. And by the looks of it, it's on course to do just that.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode