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Laser Squad Nemesis

First, it is important to point out that Laser Squad Nemesis was created by the very same folks that developed the original X-Com series. So right out of the gate, they've got their own dazzling reputation to stand up to.

Second, I think it is just as important to understand what this game is, and what it is not. It is not an insanely complex dissertation and simulation of advanced battlefield tactics. It is a very well balanced and easy to understand simulation of battlefield tactics. It is not about battlefield tactics. It is, from this reviewer's perspective, about having a good time. It is not going to cost you an arm and a leg to play it. It going to cost you the time spent to download the 7.8Mb client software. And that's it. If you go to your local software store and ask for it, chances are pretty good that they'll tell you they've never heard of it. (Not that that means a whole lot. I had an employee of some unnamed software retailer tell me once that they'd never heard of Ultima!) Co Do Games is publishing this themselves, and it is only available online. And the truth of the matter is, you don't have to EVER pay for it. The one catch is that if you don't pay the incredibly low $15.00 US for six (that's right, SIX) months of play, you can't initiate a game, but you can play if someone else invites you.

Now, as for the game itself.

Each game is limited to two players, and is carried out via email. When I first read that, I was somewhat shocked. In this age of MMORPG's and users setting up their own dedicated servers for Half-Life in their basement, a game that plays by email seems archaic. But it works. And it works well. You've got all the time you need (though the game servers have implemented what is basically a turn timer, with a total limit of 30 days per game for each player).

At the beginning of each game you pick a team, either the robotic Machina or the Laser Marines, and place your selected units on the map. Each turn you will give orders to your units, moving them, giving them fire orders, having them repair other units (for Medics or the Machina AI) or replenish ammuntion at the HQ. It has one very simple premise: kill the enemy before they kill you. Tactics, as you might expect, are absolutely vital, but as I said earlier, this is not a complicated concept. Use the terrain to stay hidden from the enemy, fire from positions of cover, and duck quickly back into cover after you have fired. Don't bunch up or one well placed missile or grenade can wipe out your whole squad. When I say it's not complicated, I mean it's not the intense tactical strategy that the hardcore wargamer is used to playing. The games are short, with each turn lasting only 10 seconds, and there is limit to how many units you can deploy.

What it boils down to, and this is the most important factor in any game, is that it's fun. You can play a nice leisurely game, taking days between turns, or you can swap emails back and forth as fast as possible and play several games a day. I have got to say that this is easily one of the funnest games I've played in years.

~Overall Score~
94 Gold Award for Excellence
Co Do Games

Co Do Games

Official Site
Ups: How many different ways are there to say it's fun?
Downs: I sure couldn't find any.
Overview: An awesome game, and you simply cannot beat the price!
Reviewed by: Edric
13 April 2002


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