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|5 JUN 2012 at 8:45pm|
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Gemini Wars’ opening video presents us with an epic space encounter reminiscent of Star Wars, Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica. It’s visually very spectacular with an atmospheric sound track. So what’s happening here? The background of the story is as follows: the discovery of space travel should unite mankind. But as usual it doesn't, creating an even wider battlefield for a galactic war initially between the Alliance of Free Worlds and the United Space Federation (USF). But things are not always as obvious as they seem.
Getting into the game, there are a couple of tutorials that will take you through all of its mechanics. There is an Artificial Intelligence Assistant called MEL to help you in your training. This will show you all you need to know from building your battle fleets to invading colonies. These are all quite straightforward but it’s well worth spending the time going through them, as they are all crucial in successfully completing the in-game missions. There is also an achievement screen for which you can unlock badges and medals as you complete missions and fulfil certain in-game tasks—very nice for statistic conscious gamers.
The main campaign is a story-driven campaign based over 16 missions. Each mission begins in the command centre. Here you can view the sector of space that the action will take place in. There is a GTN news channel where you can review all relevant news items connected to the mission that you will imminently take part in including any developments in the main story line. Most importantly, it is here that you will receive a video briefing from High Command on what your mission and tasks will be. You can also select the difficulty level you’d likebefore you get into the action.
At the beginning of everyo mission you will be given a run down on the current situation from all the characters involved via a series of video link cut-scene conversations. Any useful information that will help you in the successful completion of the mission will also be passed on to you. The action then switches to the 3D sector of space where the mission takes place. This sector of space is fully rotatable and scrollable. You can also zoom in and out to view all the planets, asteroid fields and any currently deployed space stations and space craft. The interface now shows you the three key elements that you will need to control to keep your galactic campaign on track: “Crystals”, “Research”, and “Military”. Crystals—these have to be mined from asteroid fields via “Mining Stations”. It is the mining of these crystals that allows you to construct your battle fleets (from missile frigates and destroyers to colony and troop ships), extra stations and newly researched items. Research allows you to build up your military might through an extensive technology tree: from shields, armour and weapons to other exotic equipment that will help enhance your forces. Again, you must construct “Research Stations” to get this important process going. You also have Military—this gives you the manpower that you will need to crew your ships and stations and for creating marines (who will be used to invade colonies on the ground level if you want to take them from your enemies). It also increases your “Unit Cap”, which in turn allows you to build more ships. It will be a critical balance of these three elements that will determine your success or failure in each mission in the campaign.
Moving fleets around the strategic map is simply done by highlighting single ships or groups of ships and giving them coordinates to move to. A “Battle Group” of multiple ships can be created and be assigned a hotkey for fast selection, which is very handy when the action gets hot. Highlighting ships or stations also opens up a new set of selectable tabs, which allows you to give them a variety of orders including attack, defend, build or even enable “Stargate” engines. Moving your ships around to-and-from asteroid fields, planets and other phenomena is done by hyperspace jumps. You have to be in range of the targeted jump to do this. So keeping a pathway of working Stations is essential in enabling you to move your fleets around freely; whether you are planning to attack the enemy fleets and stations in a neighbouring planet or asteroid field, moving your marines into position to invade an enemy colony, or making a strategic withdrawal. But you must be cautious as you certainly wouldn't want to get your main Battle Fleet cut off and trapped. But this iswhat the enemy will try to do to you!
At times you may need to make Interstellar jumps between star systems on the “Multi Star System” map. This is done by way of Stargates, although you will need to construct them on wormholes to be able to do this. A tip to remember here is that you cannot use enemy Stargates to make hyperspace jumps. You will need to destroy them first and then construct your own.
All that is left to do now is to get into combat and start destroying enemy fleets or capture their colonies, depending on your mission. Colony invasions are displayed on the main strategy map and reports are relayed to you by the invasion commander as the battle progresses. You can also see the casualty numbers to make sure the battle is going your way. When getting into ship-to-ship combat, make sure you utilise your research to make your ships as powerful as they can be. Keeping an eye on individual ship data screens is also important as this shows the status of the hull, shields and hyperdrive, as well as how much experience and damage the ship is receiving. Because you can zoom right in on the action, these battles can look quite spectacular—as was promised in the opening game video.
For those of you that like your space conquest strategy games to be “galactic” sized, then Gemini Wars is for you. Just be ready for the many twists and turns in the storyline and the not so welcomed and unexpected guests. Good luck commander!
Preview written by: Martin Lampon
About martin Lampon
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