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"The Slow Pace of Strategy Goes out with a Bang!"
Get your artillery
ready, because the logistics of Scorched Earth are back, this time in QB!
Torched Earth gives you the opportunity to test your strategic prowess
against up to seven human or computer players. Your mission is simple enough;
blast anything and everything that gets in your way.
Choose from one of
six weapons, ranging from Hydrogen Bombs to Nukes. Then, choose an agnle
and some power. Strategy is key; blow up the wrong spots and you'll change
the location of your opponents. Last tank standing wins!!
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
|Torched Earth is one of those games where
the animation is an integral part of the game's graphics rating, so a screenshot
won't tell the whole story. Joe King starts with a standard hi-resolution,
sixteen color screen mode for his battlefield. Everything appears to be
drawn out with lines and circles without the aid of sprites; the graphics
of this game is geometry at it's best.
The various weapon animations are probably
the best part of Torched Earth's graphics. Depending on how destructive
the weapon is, you'll get many different types of special effects. Nukes
are nice to watch because you'll literally see a ring-like explosion wreak
havoc on your adversaries. From a technical standpoint though, the Nitro
Heads are most impressive since you get to see multiple explosions as a
result of the Nitro Head reaching it's peak.
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|Torched Earth does not come with Sound
Blaster music or sound effects. What you do get in it's place is some PC
speaker blips and bleeps. Don't let that discourage you though; Joe King
did a pretty good job of varying the sound effects so that no one weapon
sounds too annoying to hear again and again. In fact, the graphics and
sound can combine for a pretty good sensual experience. If you really have
nothing to do, trying watching an eight player game between computer players.
Between all the nitro heads and shockwaves being pulsed across the air,
it's almost like an off-kilter version of the Fourth of July fireworks
|Gameplay (n.)The precision of control
and involvement of character within its universe
|Although it's highly inspired by other
strategy games, Torched Earth does manage to have good gameplay. Scorched
Earth (or even Microsoft Gorillas) fanatics will probably feel most at
home with this QB variation of the bomb-tossing game. After choosing how
many different players want to play and how many computer opponents you
desire, the next step is purchasing weapons. There is no one perfect strategy
here; some weapons can cancel out others. For example, the destructive
power of hydrogen bomb can be averted if you purchase some dirt clouds.
But dirt clouds fall apart if the opponent throws a shockwave attack. Double
this with the fact that funds are limited and some weapons are more expensive
than others and you have a juggling act to worry about when it comes to
a winning strategy.
The other part of Torched Earth's gameplay
is deploying those missiles at the proper angle and power. An education
in Geometry will probably most benefit here, since the game requires you
to input angle and power through a mouse-driven prompt. But even younger
gamers can learn how the numbers work. This is also the most exciting part
of the game if there are computer players. Computer players toss bombs
randomly, and you never if you're gonna survive. Basically, the last tank
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
||Torched Earth lacks a story. Then again,
who really needs a reason to enjoy hurtling virtual nuclear bombs into
unsuspecting virtual opponents? Kapowee! This is the heart of what every
good combat strategy game is all about.
|Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience
can be repeated again and again
|The only problem with the replay value
of Torched Earth is that there are a sizable number of games like it. The
QuickBasic compiler itself comes with Microsoft Gorillas, which basically
breaks down to a one-on-one "sudden death" match version of Torched Earth.
Then, if you do venture past the QB game library, you'll see that shareware
PC sites swarm with combat games of this nature (the most prominent among
them being Scorched Earth).
If there is a silver lining here, it's
that the balance in Torched Earth is very good. You'll have a favorite
weapon early on, and then you'll purchase alternate weapons according to
your favorite. I myself am a fan of the compact but lethal hydrogen bomb.
Though the explosion is small, it will destroy any tank (no matter how
strong) on contact. But I also purchase some nukes or Shockwaves depending
on my opponent. This is a matter of preference and is also the center of
replay value in Torched Earth.
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought
|There is a learning curve in Torched Earth.
The most likely fear you have to conquer is that of choosing a power that
is too low. Go for numbers well above a power of 400 when launching most
weapons and adjust from there. Other than that, the computer enemies shouldn't
pose much of a threat unless they're packed with Hydrogen bombs and they
randomly hit you on the first turn. Then again, you really shouldn't be
paranoid about such unlikely circumstances.
For maximum effect, try playing multiple
rounds. This means that winners get extra money and all the weapons you
haven't used from the last round carry over to the next. This adds an extra
element of strategy to Torched Earth that forces you to be a little more
smart about how you use your missiles.
|Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|Just because a game has good fun factor
means that you should play it alone. Torched Earth can turn out to be a
very lonely game in the one-player mode, since the computer players are
not that intelligent. Once you understand how much power and angle is needed
to defeat the opponents, the computer is just too easy. It's best to play
alone only if you want to learn the game.
With 1-8 player support, Torched Earth
manages to accomplish what systems like the Sony Playstation and Sega Genesis
envy; the realization of a party video game. Torched Earth is best played
with many friends (nerds preferred) with the lights out and a bowl of popcorn.
There's something about the extra geometry in this game that makes Torched
Earth the perfect showdown to see who is the greatest Mathematician of
all. And with the computer players shooting extra bombs into the air, the
game develops a sense of randomness too.
Torched Earth Reviewed by Vance Velez
|Genre: Strategy Game
||To solve: N/A Final Rating: 14/35
To download this game, click here.
play Torched Earth, unzip the file and run "TORCH.EXE".
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