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Strategy/3D Real-Time Strategy
EVERYONE, Animated Violence
Charybdis Enterprises, Inc.
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The history of the Machines' story begins in the year 2136, after mankind has recovered from the devastation of a Fourth World War. Warfare becomes a distant memory, life expectancy doubles through genetic engineering and only the fear of overpopulation disturbs an otherwise tranquil human species. Faster-than-light (FTL) space travel is developed as mankind reaches for the stars and prepares to colonize entire systems for human expansion.
The scientists of Earth created a plan to shot-gun computer-controlled deep space probes (modified industrial robots) to far distant systems with one objective — find and terraform inhospitable planets for human occupancy. These "seeder ships" were launched, each with a nearly sentient supercomputer on-board, known as the Controller Unit. The prime directive of each unit was to recognize and defer to the first Controller Unit to land on any given planet, to nullify potentially disastrous conflicts.
"Seeding pods" from the mother ships carried out the terraforming instructions in numerous systems in deep space. One such successful result was the planet designated as Eden 4, however, no humans arrived by the pre-programmed projected date and a directive, instructing the computers to wait another 100 years, was activated. The year 2236 came and went. Then another 560 years passed — still no humans (mankind having ceased existence in 2545). Meanwhile, century after century, the sentient but obedient Machines kept expanding territory, creating more seed ships, leaping from system to system, terraforming.
Now, something has gone terribly wrong. An inevitable confrontation has occurred. Two Controller Units from completely different systems have encountered one another and both, from the planets Eden 4 and Midian, accuse the other of malfunctioning in terms of deferential conduct. The Machines divert their terraforming capabilities into creating weapons of mass destruction. The resultant war has raged for 501 years, it is now the year 3297 and you begin life, as one of the warring Machines, ready to serve your Controller.
Machines requires a 3Dfx accelerator to play this real-time strategy game. Gameplay features realistically rendered landscapes where terrain plays a part in strategic thinking. A computer based technology tree enables advances in three research areas, technician, engineering and, finally, "brainbox" research. Ever increasing efficiency of weapons and units, driven by research, is realized through a rigid construction table and provides units such as grunts, reapers, spies, flying craft, knights, commandants, personnel carriers and mobile heavy assault weapons, over 50 machines in total.
Perspective is changeable, from a first-person view while exploring locations on spy or sabotage missions to third-person during real time battle, with a top-down viewpoint for strategic planning and control. Twenty-five weapons of mass destruction are available, ranging from simple flame-throwers to devastating nuclear weapons.
Machines supports four modes of multi-player action for up to four gamers: local area network, modem-to-modem, serial cable and the Internet. Gameplay control is keyboard intensive (see Instructions) with icon and menu options as well as some mouse and keypad support. In Machines, you have the opportunity to not just play one, but to be one! ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide