PC REVIEW: LASER SQUAD NEMESIS

Laser Squad Nemesis sounds like the title of a great budget shooter - but it's not. While it is indeed a budget-priced game, it's a turn-based strategy. I bet most of you are now heading for the Back button, before you even finish reading this sentence. Hey come back! You might like this!

If you're familiar with a game called X-Com that was played by email then you'll be familiar with Laser Squad, though not necessarily enthused. Laser Squad is old school. Although it does have a single-player campaign mode it still utilizes outdated technology like 2D graphics and an email-based, two-player mode. For twenty bucks you can't expect much but under the hood the game does show some promise.

Even though the turns in the single-player mode are restricted to 10 seconds the game can be very tedious. The AI follows your commands literally and does little thinking on its own. If the units get turned around, which often happens, they will begin to bump into each other and even shoot at units from their own army. A preview system lets you see how your turn will turn out and allow you to make adjustments. It's a good addition but it slows the game down.

In its favor there isn't much micromanagement to concern yourself with. You don't have to worry about resources and base building. You are issued points which you use to deploy the various units of your army. Units that use large vehicles can eat up a lot of points so you have to think things through. The fog of war cloaks you and your enemy so that both of you have to guess where the other is and what units are deployed.

There are four, somewhat equally balanced races. The Marines are humans that use grenades and lasers. The Machina are intelligent robots that favor large vehicles such as a plasma tank. The Greys are your run-of-the-mill bug-eyed aliens that travel in flying saucers and use mind control as a weapon. The Spawn are an insect-like race that are primitive and prefer melee attacks.

Playing as all four races will extend the replay value of the game as you familiarize yourself with all the different variables. Keep in mind that an email-based game can last a week or longer depending on the number of turns selected and the frequency of your correspondences. When you purchase this game you will get three months free subscription to this service which will let you play against anyone in world that also has a subscription.

Graphically the game is barely a notch above a GBA game. The top-down view is so old-school and the animation is so stiff you might think you're connect to dial-up. There is a lot of stuff going on onscreen and at least you can see it all clearly. That's really more important that high-tech graphics. Some areas of the environments such as buildings and walls are destructible which can change your strategy instantly as you create a new path into enemy territory, or unleash a hostile unit at the very end of your turn.

Online you will receive new updates, be able to compete in various tournaments and have your score posted for the world to see - that is if the world finds out about Laser Squad Nemesis.

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System: PC
Dev: CodCo
Pub: Got Game / Merscom
Release: April 2005
Players: 1 - 2
Review by Kelly
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
2.0
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
2.0
VALUE
3.5