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Starship Troopers: Terran Command
Starship Troopers: Terran Command

Genre: Strategy Players: 1
Release Date:
17th June 2022
Starship Troopers: Terran Command Review
Review By @ 04:04pm 17/06/22

Starship Troopers: Terran Command plays pretty much how you’d expect an RTS game inspired by the 1997 Paul Verhoeven-directed satirical sci-fi action film Starship Troopers to play. You’re in control of high-tech space marines on an alien planet and at regular intervals you’re fending off attacks from waves of bugs whilst trying to protect mining facilities. There’s lots of grunting and plenty of “come on you apes” and “kill ‘em all” too.

There’s also the film’s anti-fascist undertones, and some darkly comic jabs at the value human institutions like the military place on life - although not quite as overt or impactful as the movie. But, with fake intergalactic newscasts interspersed between missions, Starship Troopers: Terran Command captures the spirit of the film from a presentation and aesthetic perspective.

This ‘plays as expected’ sentiment also applies to the style of real-time strategy developer The Artistocrats has deployed in Terran Command. A single-player campaign-focused release that plays a lot like games from the genre’s heyday. The mid-to-late 1990s. And it’s here where we bring up the obligatory StarCraft comparison, mainly because the iconic RTS from 1998 drew inspiration from a number of classic sci-fi properties including Starship Troopers.

"Starship Troopers: Terran Command plays pretty much how you’d expect an RTS game inspired by the 1997 Paul Verhoeven-directed satirical sci-fi action film Starship Troopers to play.”

At the time going up against the Zerg as the Terran in Blizzard’s RTS classic had a noticeable dose of flavour from the 1997 film. Not to mention nods to Aliens and other properties. Of course, visually speaking, Starship Troopers: Terran Command presents a strategy experience that looks generations better than what we played back in the day, original StarCraft included.

But, its overall feel is still very much old-school. As a single-player only release, you’re put in charge of a Terran commander and need to fight through various Arachnid hordes in and around the dry, mining planet of Kwalasha. With a campaign that covers around 20 missions, even though the story doesn’t really provide much in the way of characters to latch onto or enough twists and turns to warrant that sort of narrative length, the missions themselves are surprisingly enough to carry you through.

There’s just something about the simple but not-always-so-simple task of taking out hordes of alien bugs. Watching hordes of Arachnid fall as they swarm towards a wall is just about endlessly rewarding.

Early on missions present bits and pieces found in the film in RTS mission form. Having to fall back and evacuate as hordes of Arachnid slowly overwhelm an entire facility. Objectives that involve rescuing squads and escorting them to safety. Protecting walls from being breached or destroyed by strategically deploying defensive resources. Heading into mining tunnels with a small team to discover the Arachnid threat is a lot more threat-ier than expected. Gameplay-wise, there’s not all that much too Starship Troopers: Terran Command, at least when it comes to managing resources or building up a physical presence in terms of buildings and armies.

What it does bring to the table is squad-based line of sight, meaning that a squad of infantry placed directly behind another won’t be able to shoot through them with any sort of efficiency. With flamethrower troops good for melting standard warrior bugs up close, positioning them on the front-line or at choke points whilst ensuring infantry have enough space to fire away can mean the difference between a success and complete failure. Some of the best moments in Terran Command’s campaign come from creating your own little Arachnid ambush traps, especially when you get access to more advanced squads and troops.

"There’s just something about the simple but not-always-so-simple task of taking out hordes of alien bugs. Watching hordes of Arachnid fall as they swarm towards a wall is just about endlessly rewarding.”

Without much in the way of resource management, you have supplies and a few points to set up turrets and other small structures, most of the action here is entirely squad based. Even during the game’s large-scale battles you’re never in control of a full, unrestricted army. That said, all of this plays perfectly into the idea of being under-manned and under-gunned for the situation, as seen in the movie. An outfit in way over its head, without much in the way of support from the brass.

Even though you’re up against hordes of Arachnid, most of them are heavily armoured and take quite a few shots to take-down. It really helps sell the threat, no matter the number of bugs coming at you. Where Starship Troopers: Terran Command does carve out a feel all its own comes from the reactive nature found in most of the strategy, in that your moves are almost always determined by ever growing Arachnid armies. Mostly this means having to always keep tabs on new hives that show up and sending squads out at regular intervals to clear them out, as well as using your immediate surroundings to set up line-of-sight or create a kill tunnel of sorts for what’s on the horizon.

As a classic RTS experience, there’s a lot to like about Starship Troopers: Terran Command - especially in terms of translating the look and feel of the action scenes found in the iconic movie into little slices of strategy. Outside of a few pathing glitches and a couple of animation bugs, the biggest problem here is that the default difficulty feels a little too easy in addition to there being not much on offer once you complete the campaign. Without a fleshed out skirmish mode or even something like a co-op mode to take on the Arachnid together, it’s something of a one and done experience. Still, it’s good to do your part because... service guarantees citizenship.
What we liked
  • Captures the feel of the iconic sci-fi movie's action
  • Squad-based action is strategic and fun
  • Lengthy campaign with plenty of missions
  • Some cool sound design and animation
What we didn't like
  • Story doesn't really go anywhere
  • No co-op or multiplayer
  • Very little in the way of resource management of base-building
  • Takes a while for more bug types and unit types to be introduced
We gave it:
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