Title Warhead (Second Review) Game Type 3D Combat Sim Players 1 Compatability 1.3 possibly 2.0 (AGA patch available) submission email@example.com Review It may be just because I am a fan of hard sci-fi, but I always had a few problems with space combat games like Wing Commander and Elite. Although fine games there was just something wrong with the sci-fi itself. Little problems like laser beams that enemy craft can dodge (despite the fact that they should be moving at the speed of light) that would annoy me. Warhead doesn`t have any of these problems. The science in it is very accurate. The intro scene sets the tone nicely. About 10 years ago a massive alien fleet appeared in Earth orbit. They proceeded to flatten the Earth with explosives before dissappearing back though quadspace (hyperspace). Humankind has somehow managed to survive the attack and has just discovered how to make ships that can use quadspace as well. Your job is to protect the Earth and later as the game progresses to take the fight to the aliens. The first few missions deal with training. They teach you to dock the ship, target your weapons and use the star and system maps. Unfortunatly these missions aren`t kept in a training section so you will have to keep a save game of the first active mission or you will have to play them every time you start a new campaign. Control of the ship is completly different to any other game I have ever played. Moving the mouse allows you to rotate the ship in 3 dimentions. Rotation is very quick and it is very easy to get completly disorientated at first. However if you stick with it, you will soon be able to rotate the ship, target an enemy behind you and fire off a missile at it in a couple of seconds. The weapon systems are controlled by the F-Keys. Again there are no fancy neutron guns or other unrealistic weapons here. At first all you have are missiles and mines. You also have two special weapons, a mass driver cannon (for shooting down enemy missiles) and the Data gathering probe. The only way you can identify an unknown class of enemy craft is to fire a data gathering probe at it. Before that all ships of that class are identified as Unknown. The mass driver cannon (MDC) is your only countermeasure against enemy missiles. Instead of firing off flares or chaff you have to frantically target the enemy missile, wait until it closes to under 2km and fire your MDC at it. This adds a lot to the game especially when dealing with pseudostellar missiles which can destroy anything within 5km. The mouse keys control your forward and retro thrusters. If you fire your thrusters you will keep moving in that direction until you fire your retro thrusters. This means that you can do some moves in combat that you can`t do in most other games. You can fly sideways past an enemy ship and strafe it with the MDC. If you are being chased by an enemy craft you can simply spin round and fire missiles at it without losing any momentum. In fact that is often the best way to fight most battles as due to relative velocity your missiles are speeded up but theirs are slowed down giving you a chance to hit them with the MDC. The oddest thing about this game is the autopilots. There are 10 of these which are controlled by the number keys. Autopilot 1 gives you complete control, 2 automatically points you at your target etc. I found some of the autopilots completly useless such as the chase mode which points at and follows the enemy but I have heard of other people finding it useful. Getting the hang of the autopilots is the key to this game. The mission design is brilliant. In your first active missions the aliens start to encroach on the human space. Missions also involve rescues of stranded ships and exploration, and there are a couple of patrols where nothing at all happens. These are thankfully kept to a minimum but do make the game feel like a real war where not every sortie turns into a firefight. Later on in the game you come across the bezerker who is hostile to both you and the enemy. If you manage to prevent it from destroying Earth it takes a personal interest in you. I won`t spoil it by saying how you shake him off. Unfortunately, despite all the work in mission design the plot line is very linear forcing you to replay failed missions until you succeed. It would have been nice if the fate of the war changed depending on whether or not you won your battles. The graphics are very primitive but then it is only an OCS game and fancy graphics would have slowed the game down to a crawl. I would love to see a graphics card/060 version of this game! The soundtrack during the introduction is haunting and very atmospheric. However there is no music in game and the sound effects are nothing special. Personally I wish that docking was automatic as it is possible to screw up after a successful mission and smash into solbase at 1000mph. However it does give you a lot of training in flying the ship. All in all this is one of my favourite games. I have completed it 5 or 6 times but still go back to play my favorite missions. The game has one of my favourite end sequences of all time, setting up Warhead 2 perfectly. If only I could get someone to write it.