Mattel Media – Earth 2150 review

Photo of Mattel Media – Earth 2150
£35

You may remember Earth 2140. Then again you may not. It wasn’t exactly the biggest hit of the last century, granted, being at best a fairly mediocre real-time strategy game. Maybe that’s why the developer, TopWare, has taken another crack at making an impact in this crowded market. Has it succeeded second time round? Well, it’s certainly an improvement.

Earth 2150 is obviously set a decade after the first game, the original having borne witness to a massive war between political factions. This conflict has catastrophically altered the planet’s orbit over time, and it will now pass too close to the Sun. Hence stores have run out of Factor 25 lotion, and all Hell is breaking loose.

Of course, the sensible people are building big evacuation ships to go and colonise a new home with, but there’s only a limited amount of resources to go round. So, naturally, the three main factions are fighting each other for the right to survive. You play the part of a leader of any one of these organisations, so effectively there are three campaign games to try your hand at. Other options include multiplayer, a skirmish mode (multiplayer against computer opponents), and a fully featured map editor for creating your own battlegrounds.

So what differentiates Earth 2150 from the average RTS game? An effort has been made to include persistent resources, i.e. you keep units and they have experience levels which increase their effectiveness from mission to mission. Warzone did this a long time ago, though. But there is a fair bit of variety in playing each side, as each uses a different method of play. For example, while one side has to gather resources using the traditional ‘send the harvesters out’ collection method, another only has to plonk a mine on top of the minerals to extract them.

One side even relies on solar power, so at night-time is weakened and reliant on backup batteries. There are weaknesses and strengths to each ‘team’ which can be exploited by the cunning player. This and the fact that weather can have an effect on battles does add some extra strategic depth to the RTS equation, but even so, it’s nothing too revolutionary.

Company: Mattel Media


Verdict
Earth 2150 certainly looks great - particularly the explosions and battles which are highly impressive - and the unit movement AI is solid. It's nothing too special, but a well realised RTS nonetheless, and certainly an improvement on the rather mediocre original.