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Perimeter
(hx) 04:56 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004

Perimeter is a 3D real time strategy game built on the concept of non-stop terraforming. The game takes place in a detailed science fiction universe and embraces an epic plot centered on the fate of Exodus civilization that once abandoned the dying Earth in search for a new world. The whole Exodus Civilization travels through the Worlds' Chain in the huge mobile city-ships called Frames which are moving from one world to another and fighting with each other.

In the game, you command a nomad civilization moving from planet to planet trying to make your way to a new home. As you travel from world to world via a series of temporal gates (similar to Star Gate) you encounter allied frames and monstrous beasts, called the "Scourge" that are intent on destroying the Frames. At the beginning of the game there are six separate opposing frames. Each of them became an independent force capable to seize new worlds. Each Frame is unique. It differs from others, has distinctive technologies and units. It also gathers and accumulates experience from mission to mission. In order to travel to the next world you have to collect energy from a planet's surface. To do this you must first use special units to terraform (alter the landscape) the planet's surface. The game's terraforming system enables you to destroy mountains or make a plateau etc. Once the surface has been terraformed you can put down energy cores, which suck energy out of the ground. Since there are no resources to gather, the energy is most important factor in the game. Energy reserves are required to power your's structures, units and perimeter force field.

You start a scenario with a unit called a "Frame," which is your main spaceship. The Frame is the heart of your base and is home to your civilisation. From the frame, you build energy cores that create energy (the resource in the game), which is needed to run your base. From that energy, you build research labs, factories, and stationary defenses, including lasers, rocket pods, howitzers, and so on. There's over 19 different types of buildings (Energy Cores, Energy Retransmitters and Energy Collectors, Plants, Laboratories, Portals etc.) and 7 different types of static weapons (including static super weapons - Ballistic Guns, Filth Navigators and Scum Disruptors). The more you build up, the more power you'll require. However, energy extraction is only possible at zero ground level, so you need to terraform areas of the landscape's hills, mountains, valleys and craters to a flat level. All you have to do is select an area and your units automatically begin to terraform the planet's surface. Each energy core is also capable of generating a force field. This can be used to protect vital buildings and units from the enemy. The shield is impenetrable but obviously takes a ton of energy to keep up. It is also important to remember, that all the constructions belong to one energy chain. So maintaining and developing this chain is one of main gameplay elements. Key to your development are five non-combat units known as the "Multi-Modular Platform", all of which can be transformed into the other when needed. These are capable of morphing into two different types. One type is called the Brigadier, responsible for terraforming, and the other is called the Buildmaster, responsible for building and repairing structures.

There are only three types of basic units that could be produced by the plants: "soldiers", "officers' and "technicians". However, the twist in Perimeter is that they can all be merged into making a number of different combinations (over 20 different unit types in total), to form more powerful units such as anti-infantry helicopter, a hover tank, etc. For instance, 1 soldier, 12 officers and 7 technicians may be combined to produce the brutally effective Leamo tank. Alternatively you can merge 12 technicians into 1 Leech which can drain energy from the enemy's reserves. You will not have to control each unit separately (like a typical RTS), instead the troops are organized into squads that saves you from micromanagement. The controls are quite difficult to master at first, but you will get used them soon.

There are 26 various missions. In each mission you get one of the six Frames (as mentioned above) and should complete the assigned objectives. Most of the missions are connected with the Portals the Frames can travel through. You may be assigned to build the Portal of a certain type, charge it for a Jump to another world, protect it, capture or destroy it. Some missions will take place on the same worlds but in different periods of time. The missions themselves are fun, but the game stumbles a bit in the brains department. The enemy AI can be really tough at times, as the enemies identifying the weak spots in your defenses and concentrating on them. Trying to finish off a computer opponent can be a frustrating experience, as the computer can raise its perimeter shield in short spurts over and over again.

In terms of multiplayer, Perimeter offers only deathmatch or team deathmatch modes up to four players. Multiplayer certainly adds some fun - it's interesting to see how gamers use terraforming to fight against each other. Unfortunately, performance becomes an issue in multiplayer, as players tend to build large bases and lots of units. Also, I wish there were more multiplayer options. I would like to see a "coop" mode where you and your friend(s) try to battle the scourge by building power cores on top of their spawn points and destroy their nests. What I liked about the multiplayer is that you can play with just the original DVD. It's only needed to start Perimeter, and once the game is running you can put the same DVD in the other computer and start it there.

To be honest, I didn't like the game at first. I've been confused a bit what to do, how to get enough of energy, how to build military units, even the storyline was quite difficult to understand :] (ed.note: don't tell me to RTFM 'coz I don't like to read game manual :P) Surprisingly, after playing the first eight campaigns, which were a good start for me, I found the game fairly interesting. Trust me, after those learning (and kinda boring) campaigns the other campaigns are much more fun to play -once you get into it, it becomes better and better.

I would say that this is a great buy if you are not looking for a game to rest after work, and if you don't hate reading manuals. Of course, if you're hard set on the same old real-time strategy formula, then this game isn't for you.

Related links: patch v1.01, SP demo, MP demo, video

System requirements:
Minimum: Windows 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP; DirectX 9.0b Athlon / Pentium III at 1GHz; 256 MB RAM; Supported Graphics Card with 64MB RAM; DirectX 9.0b Compatible Sound Card; 950MB Hard Drive Space (450MB for game, 500MB free after installation); DVD-ROM Drive
Recommended: Windows XP, DirectX 9.0b, Athlon XP 2000+ or above / Pentium 4 2GHz or above, 512MB RAM, Graphics Card: ATi Radeon 9500 and above, nVidia GeForce 4 (not MX) and above. DirectX 9.0b Compatible Sound Card, 950Mb Hard Drive Space (450Mb for game, 500Mb free after installation)

*Supported graphics cards: ATi Radeon 7200, 7500, 8500, 9000, 9100, 9200, 9500, 9600, 9700, 9800, nVidia nForce, nForce2, GeForce2, GeForce3, GeForce4, GeForceFX


snd: 4/5 - solid, laser beams sound like what you'd expect, decent music
gfx: 4/5 - suits the game perfectly, colorful, nice effects, terrain of each world looks absolutely unique, steep hardware requirements
playability: 4/5 - strange/innovative/hard-core, challenging enemy AI, sometime confusing gameplay (especially for beginners), multiplayer up four players, controls need some time to get used, 250 Unit Cap but no possibility to switch soldiers, officers and techs between the groups., laggy multiplayer
genre: real-time strategy
release: May 2004
developer: K-D LAB
publisher: Codemasters
Very_good
Overall: 80%


last 10 comments:

xxxx(05:38 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004 )
wow i guess you should put a point scale for reviewer bias. this is a great game, original, fantastic graphics, extremely cool ideas for terraforming. neat creature and interestingly new gameplay overall. i have yet to try it mp but i'll likely do that tonite. can't be any worse than Generals. if you havent heard of it, get a copy and try it. it's a pretty damn cool game. i got this game because of the review at gamespot which too i had a hard time figuring out the math or bias, but he has a bias or slant rating.. but gamespot sums it up nicely with this. without playing mp i'd be leaning on giving it a 8.5 to a 9/10 just because it's so damn original in almost every way. Anyhow, from Gamespot.

quote:
Innovation is a word that gets bandied about a lot but is rarely seen, especially in the realm of real-time strategy games. But every now and then, someone delivers a game that's completely unlike anything seen before. Perimeter is just such a game.

xxxx(05:53 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004 )
the review i found that best described this game was here http://www.armchairempire.com/Reviews/PC%20Games/perimeter.htm . i think he fairly assess the game and gives higher rewards for it's graphics/gameplay and various new additions to the rts world. i like it, it's different and new and its worth a look if you like rts games as much as i do. perhaps if u r running anything below a 5700 or something, i'd run it 1024 full detail.

CaptStar(06:38 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004 )
I like this game, but it gets confusing and stuff.

lemon8(06:41 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004 )
I'd have to agree with xxx..It takes time to play this game and to fully learn the new concepts it brings. I'm still pulling my hair out from time to time, because there's so much strategy involved... :)

ambazador(08:36 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004 )
nice review, short & i dont have time to read it all now,but i will have a time to do this:))haha,gc2 campaign rullz!!!

xxxx(08:58 PM EDT - Jul,21 2004 )
ya GC 2 is really nice too! two great games.

xxxx(04:41 PM EDT - Jul,23 2004 )
for hx, i played a big mp game last night. ZERO lag in MP and was a extreme amount of fun, especially with a half of us hardly knew how to play. u mention lag?? it was so smooth i would swear i was playing single player. i was actually thinking you were right with mp since the game is pretty modern and new, but man, it was smoother than even GC 2.

(05:30 PM EDT - Jul,23 2004 )
As usual, I first played/reviewed the game without patching it. Multiplayer was OK but I couldn't really play it due to the lag :(

It seems that the first patch (v1.01) completely fixed this problem. They changed multiplayer synchronisation mechanism and improved online performance. Also, I've heard they are planning to release another patch which should fix some balance problems in the game. With the first patch installed, the game could get 86%. I agree, Perimeter rocks.

xxxx(07:15 PM EDT - Jul,23 2004 )
u r hx i imagine? i'm playing with 1.0(right off the shelf) not patched yet as i am waiting for the next patch as well. balance issues? ya i can believe that, hahaha, agree 100%. must have been why i lost!

El_Coyote(09:49 PM EDT - Jul,25 2004 )
i think its boring and repetive

CaptStar(11:32 PM EDT - Jul,25 2004 )
And I bet you find every RTS repetitive and boring.

Anonymous(08:56 AM EDT - Jul,26 2004 )
Too slow for action...too fast for strategy...guess what?! It's another boring real time "strategy"...spare me.

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