“No one could have believed, in the last years of the 20th Century, that computer gamers were being watched by the timeless world of game developers Pixelogic. And slowly, but surely, they drew their plans against us…”
People who know me will also now one is quite an avid fan of War of the Worlds. From the original H G Wells novel written in 1898, to the Jeff Wayne musical in 1975 I get a kick from the idea of an alien invasion based in Victorian England. Imagine people in those days even considering the thought of “Heat Rays” destroying towns and cities all over England, in huge tripods that could be seen for miles over the horizon. The thought today can even send shivers down my spine, just watch the Stephen Spielberg interpretation (notice interpretation, it certainly isn’t a version as it has nothing to DO with the original novel, although a couple of scenes were picked from it, as well as the Jeff Wayne musical artwork – hardcore fans, did you notice.., Panic in the Streets?). Anyway, the whole idea of a computer game being released was exciting at the time, but for two different ones on two different platforms? Most excellent.
The PC game War of the Worlds was no more than an RTS (Real Time Strategy). Only it really was real time – construction wasn’t money – it was time. Build your defences, research new equipment, go kick some ass. Hell, you could even be the martians! That in itself was a good game – realism wasn’t its strongest area, and graphics certainly weren’t great but enjoyable all the same. But today, I focus on the PS version.
Most of the PS version was a strange combination of third person / RTS – control one unit, go blow some stuff up, transport civilians from one place to another, set up gunposts and control them to defend against the Martian tripods. You could flick between available units, placing units where you want, when you want, hoping that they may be able to defend while you are off busy doing something else. Oh, needless to say, the soundtrack was a selection of remixed versions of Jeff Waynes original compositions which I suppose is the core structure of the game itself and so it had to be. Good soundtrack mind you.
However, one cannot feel left down by the graphics and gameplay in general. The controls are clunky, the graphics look blockier than Legoland and the Human AI (as opposed to the Martian AI) certainly hits an all time low. It can also be very frustrating at times – a millimetre out on your gun and that Flying machine is getting away and blowing up your supply barges.
However, the Thunder Child level is a lot of fun. If you play the game for any reason, let it be this one.
But, to cut to the chase, at the time it was an average game – and now, completely out of date and having seen War of the Worlds Live with the cutting edge CGI stuff, the question begs – you have the opportunity to literally blow everyone away with a new release, why not make it happen? The third person / RTS factor was good, but just didn’t work – stick to one genre, give the game a huge atmosphere, make it feel like the gamer is really are fighting for Earth and you may well have a box office hit here – release it with the way overdue CGI film and another Live Tour and, well there you go! I’m sure its easier said than done, but possible nonetheless.
Nevertheless, the War of the Worlds fan base will live on, so it should only be a matter of time before something is released. I wait with baited breath…