I of the Enemy (PC)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Graphics: 8.00
Sound: 8.00
Gameplay: 9.00
Replays: 8.50

It’s interesting how a game like Starcraft has been out for many years, yet many games still attempt to improve on the classic formula. While this has resulted in a lot of mediocre games, I of the Enemy is one of the better ones. It actually attempts to innovate the formula and adds some more depth.

You can easily tell that this game was inspired by Blizzard’s classic just by looking at it. I of the Enemy is set in futuristic types, and has a zoomed out camera view. Each unit is easy to distinguish from the other. It’s kind of like a mix of 2D and 3D (sprite based units etc), and this isn’t a bad look. Not only does this work well, but it makes the game easily accessible (system requirements are fairly low so most players will have no problems running it). The in-game cinematics also look decent, though there is one small issue involving them. When you first install the game, you can choose to leave the cinematics on the game CD or put them on your hard drive. I would recommend putting them on the hard drive, as every time you insert the game CD into your computer, the installer comes up.

I of the Enemy certainly is impressive for an independent effort. All of the cinemas/mission briefings contain full voice acting. While a few of the characters have some annoying voices, almost all of the major characters have professionally done voices and it sounds great. This definitely pulls you into the story and feel of the game, and helps IOE stand out. Background music has a techno feel that matches the space theme, but you likely won’t notice it too much (which can truthfully be said for most RTS games).

Gameplay in IOE is similar to that of your standard RTS. You can individually maneuver each unit using the mouse, or select a field of units. You can construct objects as long as you have the proper amount of resources, and you must allow proper time for the structure to be completed. Characters will effectively attack enemies and structures; however they will usually attack structures before they attack enemies (who happen to be shooting them), so be sure to keep some watch over them.

So far IOE is sounding somewhat like your standard RTS right? Well that’s not so, as the game includes some key innovations. Any units that survive a mission can be saved and put into new missions, essentially giving you a strong fighting force right from the get-go. These units can also go up in rank, which will produce a stat upgrade. These allow you to use even more strategy, as any of the in-game units can be leveled up as you continue to use them. This aspect creates a stronger attachment towards unit, and allows you to work effectively with what you have rather than having to constantly churn out new units.

If you get bored of the single-player campaign, then there are a few other options at your disposal. The first is an in-depth map editor, which allows you to create your own levels. Players can easily drag and drop new elements into the levels, making it very easy to use. This is definitely a fun addition to the game, as the core engine provides for fun gameplay. Multiplayer play is also handled through Gamespy, so it should be fairly easy to find a match now. While not as popular as other RTS games yet, hopefully more people will discover IOE and give it a shot, so that multiplayer can get a boost.

If you like Starcraft (or RTS’ in general), you’re going to love I of the Enemy. As it is only $19.95, PC gamers should definitely give it a look. The game can be purchased from Enemy Technology’s website at http://enemytechnology.com, and a demo is available for those who are interested. Give it a look, you may be surprised.

Overall Rating: 8.50

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