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Torched Earth
(Delta Code)


"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!!

Graphics (n.)
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.

Sound/Music (n.)
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 show.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vvv
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 standing wins.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
(Very Poor) 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.

Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
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

Players 1-8 players
Genre: Strategy Game
Rating To solve: N/A Final Rating: 14/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wTo play Torched Earth, unzip the file and run "TORCH.EXE".

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