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Tyrants: Fight Through Time (Genesis) artwork

Tyrants: Fight Through Time (Genesis) review

"Mega-Lo-Mania: A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence. "

Mega-Lo-Mania: A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.

Far, far away, on the edge of the universe, exists a glass orb. From this orb, planets are created and then thrust into the depths of space for all of eternity. Just as these planets are beginning their new lives however, an evolutional battle between gods takes place to see who gains total control of them. Fought over nine epochs in time, you and three other gods must create, control and destroy in order to win.

Tyrants, or Mega-Lo-Mania as we British know it, is the story of this battle between gods.

Each epoch in time is fought out over three battles, which take place over various forms of land. Your goal is to conquer all three islands, thus being crowned the victor of the epoch. From your initial stock of a hundred men, you must choose how many to commit to each battle and then the location you wish to start. Any surplus men not taken to battle are added to the statutory hundred in the next epoch – something that becomes more useful as you get a little more confident with the game. Once each god has chosen his location, the action can begin.

Upon starting, you have two areas, the larger of the two being where the action happens. Your base and any other buildings you have constructed can be viewed here, as well as your enemies’ too. Any fighting that takes place is observed here, with each of the tyrants’ men sporting a different colour.

Set aside the action area is the interface; the control center from which the battle is fought. Icons take you to various sections from which you can direct the throng, as well as managing your resources. The speed of time can also be controlled from here and a map of the area shows where each tyrant’s bases and men are.

Before you dive into battle however, you need to research weapons and the like to arm your men. Weapons are divided in to two groups – offensive and defensive. Offensive weapons are carried or used by your men to attack your enemies’ men or buildings. Defensive weapons are utilised from your own buildings against anyone who comes into your territory. Early in the game, weapons are simple to acquire with minimum research and development involved; items such as catapults and spears for example. As the timeline progresses, weapons require more research, often from a laboratory which you must build. Once plans are drawn up, you need elements to create them. This in turn means you need a mine and a factory, also which must be built. Once enough of the correct elements have been mined, you can then put the weapon into development ready for use. As you successfully research weapons, you advance in what the game calls ‘tech-levels’. These are individualised by the look of your buildings and men. Higher ‘tech-levels’ increase the strength of your men as well as making your structures tougher, especially against lower levelled foes. The ability to produce better weapons also comes about with these higher levels.

This is how the nature of the game changes as you work from past, through present, into the future. You will find that early in the game you will be sending scores of men, all simply armed, into huge battles with losses inevitable. Progression will see these skirmishes fade out in the race to take the fight to the skies and then into the nuclear age. Weapons can then suddenly flatten your enemy in one touch of a button making swift research just as important as battlefield decisions. Ultimately the game takes us into the future where ufo’s dominate the skies and men carry lasers.

The scale of time works well over the nine epochs with tech-levels blending into each other nicely. Nuclear weapons arrive sooner than expected though, seemingly dominating the second half of the game a little too much. A longer journey through the middle ages would have been nicer as the more primitive weapons seem that tad more fun to fight with. On the other hand, the developers could have phased the nuclear weapons out quicker and extended the future epochs, inventing their own twisted take on the distant future – that would have been a very interesting touch.

Although battles are always dissimilar, the computer can sometimes a little unfair. Once you have nuclear weapons at your disposal, the computer will sometimes launch one before you have even got started. This, sadly, is a no win situation and sees the battle over before you even begin. The problem is only heightened by it not being such a rare occurrence later in the game. Although your men are limited throughout each epoch, you never know how many your enemy has in each battle. As you sometimes lose so quickly, it makes you wonder how the computer is able to develop such advanced weapons so quickly when it does happen.

The graphics are basic throughout and continue Sensible’s trend of having tiny characters. It seems that when they are not serving their country in Cannon Fodder, or battling it out on the pitch in Sensible Soccer, they are killing each other right here. Nothing is lost to all this miniaturization though and the action is identifiable as to what is happening. Each tech-level brings about a different look to you buildings and men, ranging from the stone built medieval castles to space-age metallic palaces. Your men dress accordingly and look the part whether they’re throwing spears around or wielding a laser.

Speech isn’t something that was used on the Genesis much for good reason – it couldn’t handle it. Any game that did have it sounded pretty bad, or close to it. Thunderforce 4 is a fine example although better than most. So why, I cannot understand, is Tyrant’s so good? Each and every sample sounds fantastic adding, a great deal of depth and humour into the action. Ask one of your enemies for an allegiance and you are likely to be turned away in a sarcastic tone. Mine too hard and you’ll be told you’re running out of elements. Finish a production run and you’ll be told so. It has to be heard to be believed. Had I not witnessed it myself, I’m not sure I’d believe the Genesis was capable of this achievement.

Compared to most strategy games on the Genesis and elsewhere, Tyrants is far less complex. Exchanging the deep thought usually required for these kinds of games for a simpler, cooler way of play, Sensible have created an almost ‘arcade’ style strategy game. Anyone who isn’t a full out-and-out strategy fan could be drawn in by its easy-going atmosphere that it creates. Fans of a deeper, more involving game may not be so entertained. See for yourself.

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Community review by djy8c (December 20, 2003)

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