Star Wars: Force Commander
Every Single PC Games Player in the world loves the Star Wars movies. Every single PC games player in the world loves Command & Conquer too. And every single PC games player in the world also loves the abundance of hard-core filth available on the Internet. Right? So, if you thought someone could deliver a game that seamlessly combined all three, you'd go totally ape, yeah? Just imagine: it'd be called something like Penetrative Force, and it'd be completely great. You'd be controlling huge legions of buck-naked Imperial Stormtroopers, gigantic four-legged assault vehicles with big rude bits dangling from them, and living in constant fear in case the Wookies decide to pull off a classic pincer movement trap, leaping onto your troops and rutting them to death with a disturbing bestial fervour.
Well keep dreaming. That ain't ever going to happen. If that's what you want, see a doctor and keep taking the pills he prescribes. And once you're feeling better, drool over Force Commander, the game which looks set to effortlessly combine the first two PC games player obsessions we mentioned, but thankfully omits the third. Which is just as well. For a moment there we thought we might have to endure a cut scene unveiling the Emperor's scaly penis. Can you imagine?
Meanwhile, back in the real world...
Anyway, back to reality. Force Commander is shaping up to be a very enticing prospect indeed. You take control of either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, then lead your assembled forces into battle through a series of carefully scripted missions. It'll be just like being that Admiral Akbar bloke (you know, the one who looked like a cross between Marty Feldman and a goldfish), except that you won't shudder to the core each time you catch sight of your own excruciating physical ugliness reflected in the unforgiving glass of the monitor screen. If you've ever fantasised about commandeering a troop of prowling AT-ATs, or directing a squadron of Y-Wing bombers from the comfort of your own backside, your fantasy is about to come true.
The game will feature around 50 ground-based missions, grouped into progressively unfurled chapters covering the same time period as the classic Star Wars trilogy. Although you won't be afforded an opportunity to control Han Solo, Luke or any of the other recognisable characters, you will find yourself taking part in some familiar battles - such as the almighty scrap on the ice planet Hoth, the setting for the famous opening scenes in the movie The Empire Strikes Back. Naturally, the outcome of that particular mission is a foregone conclusion - the Rebels eventually lose -but success or defeat depends on their ability to beat a strategic retreat. Other levels are more open-ended - mission objectives include the capturing of enemy buildings, the establishment of a fully functioning strategic headquarters, and, of course, everyone's favourite: the complete and utter annihilation of the enemy.
Keen management skills will also be a major prerequisite - as commander, you'll also be in charge of gathering resources and producing more-units, as well as developing strategies to undo your opponent's plans.
Speaking of units, many of these will be instantly recognisable, with both sides boasting a full complement of familiar seen-'em-in-the-movies Star Wars vessels. Alongside the aforementioned Y-Wings and AT-ATs, we can look forward to TIE Fighters and Bombers (if you're playing as the Empire) or X and A-Wings (if you're being Mister Goody Two Shoes). The movies themselves may have been overflowing with hi-tech gadgetry, but the LucasArts posse have still seen fit to create reams of brand new vehicles to suit the purposes of the game. Designed with that all-important Star Wars 'feel' in mind, 'les units nouveaux' include tanks, transports and missile launchers - the standard fodder of every RTS.
A Force is a Force is a Force, of course
So far, so C&C... So what new stuff does Force Commander bring to the overcrowded real-time strategy genre, aside from the obvious Star Wars license? Well, for starters it's entirely three-dimensional, with a floating, roving camera spying on the action throughout - you can tilt, rotate or pan across the killing fields at will, and even set up multiple cameras. Not surprisingly, you'll need a 3D accelerator card - the game just won't 'go' without one. True 3D line of sight is also employed, so Total Annihilation fans should feel right at home. As for the levels themselves, we're promised an eclectic mix of environmental 'styles', from the snowy wastes of Hoth to the dense forests of Yavin 4, and you'll need to develop specific strategies to deal with each environment.
Be sure to check out our in-depth interview on these pages to find out more. From what we've been privy to so far, Force Commander looks mighty fine. Let's hope LucasArts can live up to the our massive expectations and deliver a game every Star Wars fan wants.
At your command
Force Commander will feature around 100 individual Star Wars personnel, vehicles and building units that you will be able to control while waging war against the Rebel Alliance or Galactic Empire. Just as in the films, each 'side' will have a distinctive look. The Imperial units and buildings will look brand new and pristine, while the Rebel units will look war-torn, dirty and battered.
Ground troops will range from squadrons of Imperial Stormtroopers and Rebel soldiers to various different classes of droids. You'll also be able to take control of numerous different vehicles from the stables of the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire, including never-before-seen tanks, missile launchers and troop transports. Many of these will be familiar only to to fans of the films, but we can expect some exciting new additions to the fold.
In an effort to keep everything within the game completely compliant, the game designers and artists actually went back to the original concept sketches and paintings created for the movies for inspiration. They also spent days studying the movies themselves, and managed to create a whole army of new units and buildings that wouldn't look out of place in the new movies.
Download Star Wars: Force Commander
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode