There’s a strong smell of plagiarism in the air. M.A.X. 2, or Mechanised Assault and Exploration 2, bears an uncanny resemblance to every other top-view real-time strategy combat game since the dawn of time (or Command & Conquer, as it was better known). But plagiarism in itself is no bad thing, as long as it is accompanied by innovation. So, let’s see what M.A.X. 2 has to offer.
As with most such games, this one is set in a future where conflict is the name of the game. And that conflict, of course, involves both humans and alien races. Some are good, some are bad, and you have some choice over which ones you choose to take on, either as a single mission or as part of an extended campaign. You can even, if you wish, create your own missions with particular goals, which is a nice touch.
Then it’s onto the battlefield (which you can zoom, pan and – strangely – tilt) for the real action. Build research labs and factories, process raw materials, construct tanks, guns and other paraphernalia, attack the opponent in a cunning and devious fashion… You know the script. The drag, point and click interface is a familiar one and works reasonably well, although the artificial intelligence of the troops, both yours and the computer-controlled opponent’s, could do with improvement.
One particularly interesting feature of the game is that it doesn’t have to be played in real time. You can, if you wish, play in a turn-based fashion, moving your tanks and other armoured weaponry a certain distance each move, before handing control to your opponent. Or, indeed, opponents, since M.A.X. 2 supports multi-player combat either on a single PC or via a network connection of some sort. This turn-based option will appeal to some of the less gung-ho players, and is reminiscent of games such as Final Liberation, albeit with less impressive graphics.