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It is the year 1999 and UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) have been appearing in the night skies. Unusual events, such as violent human abductions and horrific experimentations, have struck horror into the people of Earth.
The nations of the world gathered together and secretly established a covert, independent body to investigate, combat, and defeat the alien invaders. This multi-national force was named the "Extraterrestrial Combat Unit," and equipped with the best pilots, soldiers, engineers, scientists, and technology.
X-COM: UFO Defense is a combination turn-based and real-time strategy game that requires you to use the skills of a squad leader, detective, and administrator as you operate the X-COM agency in defending the Earth against UFOs. In between isometric ground combat and exploration missions, you must gain support from the world's nations in order to maintain adequate funding for the cause.
Bases and sensors are built around the globe to scan for alien activity. The fundraising, research, construction, and observation processes occur in variable real-time. Alien ships can be intercepted in orbit and, if shot down, their wreckage can be explored. Aliens might also land to terrorize a city and X-COM forces can be dispatched to the scene.
Missions "in the field" are turn-based. You move your troops through the urban or rural settings looking for aliens, alien technology, and other clues. You view the battlefield from a 45-degree downward perspective and your view is limited to what is in the line-of-sight of your troops. After the battle, aliens and alien technology can be brought back to the lab and studied, to help you figure out how to defeat the aliens and save the earth. ~ Joseph Scoleri III, All Game Guide