486/DOS Game Reviews, Volume 3: UFO, Enemy Unknown (aka X-COM)

This one’s pretty famous and has a superb modern sequel, so it doesn’t require much setup. You’re an international militia which specializes in shooting down UFOs and then killing the aliens that come out, one by one. Earth is under attack and only X-COM can stop it!

It’s another one of those 1990s DOS games with a badass pixel art intro. This was before fmv cutscenes took off and the game is all the more beautiful for it. This type of cutscene looked better then and has inarguably aged much better as well.

As you can see, it’s very comic bookish. What you can’t see in the still images above is the superb animation in every frame. It really was a treat for the senses back when this came out, and it’s still rad to look at in 2018.

This is the planetary overview screen. You’ll be looking at this alot. It’s where you monitor UFO sightings and attacks, choose new base locations and issue commands to intercept UFOs or deploy soldiers to the UFOs you’ve shot down.

You start out with one reasonably well equipped base. An interceptor, a troop transport aircraft and six soldiers. This screen can also be used to switch between your other bases and add or subtract rooms as the need arises.

This is the tactical combat view. Here, turn base combat occurs between your soldiers and the alien crew of the UFO you shot down. This strategic turn based combat is what the series is famous for, but it’s also brutally difficult.

It’s a great game. Absolutely awesome, depth is off the charts. I’m just very bad at it. I’m sure practice would remedy that. But even so, I gladly give UFO: Enemy Unknown a 9 out of 10. Games from this era don’t get much better than this.

Follow me for more like this! And why not read one of my stories?

I post text here, often accompanied by images and sometimes video. People then clap or don't depending on whether they enjoy what I posted.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store