Are We About To Receive A Sign? A return to the days when a 20-quid price tag didn't automatically mean that the game in question was a shoddy example of provincial sloppiness? In a word: maybe. Earth 2140, while borrowing much of its storyline and gameplay from a head-on collision involving the likes of The Terminator, Robocop, SimCity and C&C, still manages to provide occasional entertainment in fairly large doses.
Witness the story: future Earth, mass nuclear destruction, two surviving continents doing battle to become the 'don' clan of the world and 'run tings', and that. Of course, in the eyes of Joe Gamepublic, this is all worthless - as is the soiled yet readable advert for a soft drink that puts in an appearance during the game's intro sequence.
Essentially, it's the sheer scale of Earth 2140 and all that accompanies it, that makes the game either utterly enthralling or a journey around the 'slough of despondency'. Any statisticians reading this will doubtless be pleased to hear that Earth 2140 features 22 fighting units per continent, be it the United Civilised State or the Eurasian Dynasty, while some 70 vehicles and buildings require manipulation - although not along the lines of some godforsaken fighting game where the debauched minions of Japanese history find a favoured method of attack with a weapon that's better than the rest. On the contrary, Earth 2140 really does encourage the thought processes of both C&C veterans and sympathetic observers. With 50 missions to add to the mix, it becomes apparent from the start that this will be as much a Took at the size of my weapon' affair as it is a 'Rook to Knight 3'.
'Whoopee!' you may all be crying, and yes, you have every right to do so if this is your kettle. But despite some great touches such as an easy interface and the ability to 'bookmark' and move quickly between your army on big landscapes, unlike say C&C, Earth 2140 does tend to isolate the strategy game virgin. Graphically, it adheres to the usual misconception that everyone is prepared to sit through loads of big film-style introductions with big film-attempt soundtracks before the actual game begins. And once you've waded through all that, you then find that the graphics can't really pass muster on a 14-inch monitor. As an aside, it does throw in some sparingly titled odd features, the best being the Virtual General' which plays the game on your command far more effectively than you could ever hope to do yourself.
Strategy fans will no doubt consider the idea of toying with Earth 2140, and I can't deny that a fair proportion of them will actually like it. For those reared on better however, the tiny visuals guarantee frustration, and too many missions go on and on simply because your army neglected to kill off a solitary robot soldier and consequently had to go looking for him on the other side of the landscape.
Just 20 quid
It's hard to put your finger on what makes Earth 2140 ultimately disappointing - but for a mere 20 quid, the price is certainly in its favour. Essentially, it's like a 'tribute' game - something like 'I can't believe it's not Command & Conquer, but without the depth and quality to fascinate. Even the 20 additional multi-player missions can't detract from graphics that cause a headache, long-winded walking around doing nothing and a clumsy, heavily laboured plot.
Download Earth 2140
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode