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X-COM is a series of computer games, originally from MicroProse. There are several installments in the series, which dates from the early 1990s. The genre of the first three titles was tactical strategy. The fourth title was an action-based space combat game.

All titles were developed for the PC, with a few less-successful ports to the Sony Playstation and Amiga. Though the first three titles were originally developed to run under DOS, they've been ported to run under Microsoft Windows using DirectX. The first installment in the series, X-COM: UFO Defense, was the best selling computer game of 1995.

Table of contents
1 Game Description
2 The Series
3 External links

Game Description

The premise for the games is fairly simple and straight-forward: armies of hostile aliens have begun invading the Earth, killing and enslaving the human race. The player is put in command of "X-COM," the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit. By defending countries from enemy invasion, the force gains monetary support. Through research of recovered alien artifacts, X-COM is able to develop better and more powerful weapons, armor and vehicles to combat the alien menace.

The game took place within two main views: the Geoscape and the Battlescape. The Geoscape is where the player waited for enemy alien activity. While in the Geoscape, the player could view the X-COM bases (located in various locations on Earth), make changes to them, equip X-COM craft, order supplies and personnel, direct research efforts, schedule manufacturing of advanced equipment and sell alien artifacts to raise capital. Play in the Geoscape is continuous and not turn-based.

Play switches to the Battlescape whenever X-COM personnel come in contact with alien units. This can result from investigating downed enemy crafts, combatting alien terrorist activities or attacking alien bases discovered during play. Players may also encounter aliens if the aliens manage to attack and infiltrate one of the X-COM bases.

In the Battlescape view, players control each X-COM combatant versus the alien enemies. In addition to personnel, the player may have vehicles such as heavy weapons platforms outfitted with powerful lasers or rocket launchers. Play in this mode is turn-based and each combatant has a number of "movement points" which can be expended each turn. When all of the alien forces have been neutralized (captured or killed), the mission is scored based on number of X-COM units killed, civilians saved, aliens killed or captured and the number of alien artifacts obtained.

Depite the game's simple premise, it became popular among strategy and war game fans. One reason for this is that the game had a superior squad-based tactical interface. The player could maneuver each unit individually and could thus carry-out unprecedented squad-based tacticss. Having the tactical portion of the game (the Battlescape) take place in turn-based mode allowed the player to carefully consider each move before carrying it out.

Another reason for its popularity was the ability to discover and create new weapons and other items. Through researching the alien items recovered following combat missions, the player could build better equipment to combat the alien threat.

A final reason for the game's success is the creepy atmosphere the game evoked. While moving units about the Battlescape, the units may be attacked by never-before-seen alien types. This evoked real surprise and fright in the players. New alien types sometimes required new and more powerful equipment to effectively combat. For example, the alien type "Sectoids" would usually expire from a single shot from a rifle or laser. But the later alien type "Muton" might survive several hits with heavy weapon platform rockets.

The Series

The complete series includes these titles: The first two games are undeniably the most popular and most successful of the series. Apocalypse took some strange twists that disappointed many fans of the series. For example, the creepy atmosphere was no longer present. After Interceptor, Hasbro Interactive purchased MicroProse and acquired the X-COM brand.

Two more titles were planned for this series. Both were aborted when Hasbro shut down Hasbro Interactive in 1999 and 2000.

External links