Our Score: 8/10
Starship Troopers: Terran Command is an action-packed real-time strategy game based on the Starship Troopers film franchise. Take charge of the Mobile Infantry and fight the Arachnid threat. To establish an efficient balance between tactical supremacy and numerical strength, build, develop, and control your armies. Ensure that human civilization, not bug civilization, reigns supreme in the galaxy now and forever!
You’ll be doing all of the standard RTS stuff. Constructing the correct units for the job, seizing and defending objectives, and destroying bases. You’ll be in charge of armies that are mostly made up of people that have guns. Snipers, flamethrowers, grenade launchers, and so on. Mechas also show up later on. You normally only manage six to ten squads at a time. But with each unit gaining XP and unlocking activatable abilities as it progresses, there’s enough intricacy to deal with.
On the arid mining planet Kwalasha, you play as the leader of the Mobile Infantry; the original space marines, as they combat a large horde of Arachnids. Both are based on the movies’ interpretations (mainly the first and third, possibly because the second was terrible), so the bugs are armed solely with raw biology, and your soldiers are mostly made up of hapless mooks with personal weaponry who have little chance of surviving a close encounter. However, the pure ineptness has vanished, which makes sense in a strategy game where it would be aggravating. However, you are frequently under-supplied.
That is, after all, the strategy’s core. It’s all about picking the appropriate forces and putting them in the proper places. Because most units block each other’s lines of fire, merely clumping everyone together will prevent the majority of them from shooting, and you desperately need that massed firepower. I appreciate that the Bugs don’t have health bars (with the exception of royal guards and a few other very toughies), so it feels like you’re just shooting them until you wear them down or someone gets a fortunate strike.
It’s there that it feels the most like the movie, except for the panic and carnage, because this takes place after the Klendathu debacle. You’re up against massive waves of tough monsters. Instead of shooting on one target at a time to effectively play the damage-output game, your guys fire a barrage of loosely-aimed bullets that blow up sand and dust, as well as occasionally inside alien guck. You can’t really ask for much more than that.
Bugs! In Space
The battle, on the other hand, has a strong tower defense feel to it. Because units can’t fire while moving, and because of the line of sight mechanism, establishing defensive positions is crucial. You see, your troops can’t shoot through each other. If you put one squad in the path, everyone else’s shooting will be blocked, and your units will become free bug chow.
Bugs will be your adversary. There are no surprises here. Everything you remember from the 1990s film is present. There are fire-breathing tank bugs, plasma-firing artillery bugs, swoopy flying bugs, and swarms of terrible clawed warriors. There’s a good amount of diversity, but if you’re looking for a game where you’ll be confronted with devious tactics and a cunning adversary, this isn’t it. The bugs will largely attack your helpless troops.
Starship Troopers: Terran Command looks the part when it comes to graphics, however, it isn’t exactly a visual feast for the eyes. You can choose between reddy brown deserts or dark mines, as well as realistically black and tan bugs and grey armoured warriors. Of course, if you’re a Starship Troopers fan, that’s probably exactly what you’re looking for. And it would be unfair to complain about a game’s aesthetic failing to match its source material if it weren’t for the gorgeous retro artwork included on the menu screen and in cutscenes, which I found considerably more appealing than the main game’s appearance.
Starship Troopers: Terran Command is a solid real-time strategy game that manages to capture the charm of the film. It’s not groundbreaking but it’s quite fun and fans of the film will find a very solid experience. The comedy aspects of the film are also felt here. And they’ve done well to not feel odd.