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Updated November 20, 2004

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(Aspect Productions)

"Realism is the Name of the Game!"

War can be an ugly, ugly thing. But when the enemy has you cornered and the only measure left is a counter-attack, it's up to the troopers to cover the land, survey the territory, and take out enemy troops, no matter how outnumbered or dangerous the mission has become.

This is to the time to turn the tide; manipulate up to three squads and plan a rigorous military campaign, strafing past enemy lines, passing through rivers and forests, and aiming to take out as many enemy soldiers as you can.

Game Review
Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Good)
Beautiful. Troopers is an example of how a great-looking tileset can really increase the quality of a game if it's used correctly; each map made by Aspect Productions is fairly intricate in detail, showing landscape that are laid out for aesthetic as well as practical reasons, with neither flicker or any other graphic problem in sight.

As for the animations, Troopers pays attention to the subtle details. The soldiers are well-animated, walking on foot and swimming on flowing water according to where you take them. Other effects, which are exclusive to war-type games, include the rotting of corpses as soldiers are hit to the ground. If you wait long enough, you can watch your fallen comrades deteriorate.

While the package overall is impressive, Troopers could use just a little more firepower when it comes to special effects, especially in relation to weapons. Explosions, which is so common to modern warfare, don't occur in this game at all. This and other details that could bring the overall atmosphere of the game closer to a real war could not only help the graphics score, but potentially help the sound/music score as well.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
The sound overall is okay, but the sound effects need work. While Troopers features BWSB-backed music and sound effects, the sound effects chosen don't live up to the war setting this game conveys. The game needs a little more atmosphere somehow, whether it be through jungle sound effects or through in-game music. To make matters worse, rifle fire sounds like popcorn popping. 
Gameplay (n.)
The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
In the tradition of the 16-bit days, Troopers is a one-player military strategy game that concentrates on the battle aspect of an RTS. The game is stage-driven, meaning you're given new terrain, a preset number of troops, and an objective to accomplish (usually killing all enemy troopers on the map).

To move and attack with your men, Troopers make excellent use of the mouse. Control is very simple. Clicking with the left mouse button will direct all the troops in your squad to the position clicked. Press the right mouse button and all the troops in your squad will fire at the point selected. It's a combination of this strategy and the ability to switch trooper squads by clicking the appropriate tab at the left of the game screen that will allow you to take out as many enemy soldiers as possible.

As a military game, the expandability of weapons and items in Troopers is fairly limited. Your only weapon is the rifle, which gradually increases in accuracy and range depending on the rank of your trooper (troopers raise in rank for each level they survive). As for items, health items aren't necessary because your troopers are killed instantly by a single gunshot.

Besides this, other examples of realism abound in Trooper's gameplay. You can't move a little slower and can't move while moving through water. You also have to pay careful attention to terrain and battle movement, using the move to strafe behind hills or trees, where you can be safe from enemy fire. Even enemy soldiers behave realistically to some extent; their accuracy isn't perfect, but they will chase you around if you're seen, and even gang up on you when you put yourself in bad position. They won't however, shoot upon hearing rifle fire or continue to chase you if you've travelled far enough from their starting point.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
While there isn't anything in print, the setup of Troopers is enough to allow one story point. Multiple trooper and squad names, along with some well-timed text and mission briefings, help paint the picture of a complicated military operation.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
Average. This early version of Troopers lacks in game levels, but the gameplay is good enough that it isn't much of a problem. However, the lack of a save feature really hurts Troopers, especially since a few of the situations on the map require a little bit of luck to get through. If Aspect Productions intends to add more game levels (which I bet he will), a save feature for a stage-based RTS like this one is a must.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes
(Very Good)
You can't pump up your troops in this real-time strategy game. Like the single-player mode of a Warcraft game, you're given a limited number of military units at the beginning of the stage, and you have to overtake the opposing army with what you have. And in these scenarios, the enemy almost always outnumbers you by a vast amount.

Troopers requires good positioning and a quick pull of the trigger. Luckily, your line of sight is a lot better than your enemy, and in general enemy soldiers won't be startled unless you're within firing range. Use this to your advantage by sneaking up to the weakest link in a clump of soldiers; take out the front line, and repeat gradually until the entire enemy unit is down.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Good)
Troopers is not fun because somebody will look at the game and say "Oh my gosh! I never thought QB could do this!"-- QB games have evolved enough that it would be pretty tough to surprise anybody with something they couldn't conceive the language to do. But Troopers is a great-looking game and the fun factor is authentic-- it's been a while since I've had so much fun clicking a mouse in a QB game. I only wish Aspect Productions could add a few more weapons and some complicated mission objectives to the game's later levels.

People who aren't really fans of real-time strategy games like WarCraft or Microsoft's "Age of Empires" series needn't panic-- Troopers skips all of the economic army setup stuff and goes straight to the military aspect of strategy games, offering a sharp contrast to Piptol's QB strategy game Kingdoms, which offers a lot of economic and diplomatic features and an auto-battle system. While this lack of financial freedoms may lure away strategy game fans who like economical aspects, wargamers and even arcade gamers who like top-down shooters will find something to like about Troopers. Fans of the Genesis game General Chaos in particular will flip out, as this QB game actually takes that great classic one step further.

Troopers Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Strategy Game
Rating To solve: 3-5 hours Final Rating: 21/35

To download Troopers (315KB), click here.
wIf you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
wThis game requires a 100% compatible Sound Blaster sound card. Make sure you run "SETUP.EXE" to set the game's sound settings.
wAfter changing the settings, to play Troopers, unzip the file and run "TROOPERS.EXE".

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Game Summary
Coding Group
Aspect Productions
Homepage URL
Final Rating
21 out of 35 points

The Highs: Great graphics and fun factor make Troopers one of the best mouse-driven games QB we've ever seen.
The Lows: The coding of the game could use some stability. In every computer we've tested, Troopers has been prone to hang.

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