DefCon 5 (Saturn) review
"Overwhelmed and irritated. Those are the feelings you'll get when you play through Defcon 5 for the very first time. As you set foot on a defense station in space, you need to make it all the way up to the Control Room and install a defense software. Getting there is an adventure in itself, since there's nothing within the game that really helps you move in the right direction. The only real help you'll get is from the instruction manual, and even then, it's still a bit confusing. If you ..."
Overwhelmed and irritated. Those are the feelings you'll get when you play through Defcon 5 for the very first time. As you set foot on a defense station in space, you need to make it all the way up to the Control Room and install a defense software. Getting there is an adventure in itself, since there's nothing within the game that really helps you move in the right direction. The only real help you'll get is from the instruction manual, and even then, it's still a bit confusing. If you don't have the manual, you're screwed, because you'll end up wandering the station's floors for quite a bit until you get lucky. When you finally do reach the Control Room and enter the Virtual Operating System (VOS), you'll get an introduction from a woman, who tells you exactly how to install the software. But even after that, you still feel lost... The VOS has quite a number of menus that lead to sub-menus, which makes getting to where you need an annoyance.
Once you get to the specific menu and activate the defense controls, you should feel relieved, right? Nope, this is where things heat up. About a minute or so after the activation (or even before, if getting to the Control Room was a struggle), the station starts detecting a group of spaceships approaching, supposedly aliens. It's really nothing to get worked up about, actually, since the automatic turrets takes care of them. Heck, you can even take control of one and shoot down a couple of ships yourself. It's the second wave of attacks, however, where things get nasty. At this point, your turrets start taking on damage, and you realize you can't repair them. Add in the fact that you have to reload each turret one at a time, and you start to get a bit worried. As the second wave of attacks starts to die down, a computer voice warns that a group of intruders has invaded the base. Bad news, indeed, but the problem can be solved with just a few shots from your gun, right?
Wrong again. As these robotic intruders, the Berserkers, come filing into the Control Room, you take them out one by one. This is a bad thing. As you destroy these menaces, they end up polluting the air in the process, which forces you to retreat the Control Room. Unless you wanna stay and die. Now picture this scenario: spaceships are slowly destroying your turrets on the outside, Berserkers are everywhere on the inside polluting the air every chance they get, and you're now stuck in a corner of the station, using a VOS terminal that has half the capabilities of its Control Room's counterpart. The station is falling apart, fast, and you can't do a damn thing to prevent that. The only thing left to do is to escape. One problem: you don't have a ship. You have to recover one by sending a droid out of the station and drag it back in. However, to even have the ability to use droids, you have to find a Droid Control Pad lying around the base.... When you eventually get all of that out of the way, you can escape, right? Right?
Sadly, no, not until you self destruct the base in the Control Room, which (here it comes) you can't even do without picking up a Self Destruct Pad that also happens to be lying around the base. Oh, yeah, you won't get any help finding these pads, either. It's all exploration on your part, which is a pretty annoying thing to do considering the circumstances. Once you get all of that out of the way, however, you finally get to board the shuttle and fly off! As you enter the shuttle, a video shows it exiting the station, and things are looking good at this point. Then a fighter ship comes up from behind and destroys it... Huh, seems that you were also suppose to recover two escort fighter ships to help you escape. Oops! Now you get to start over and relive everything again. Hooray!
That's your typical D5 playthrough. And believe it or not, it's not as crazy as it sounds. For the majority of the game, you'll keep yourself locked inside a room, maneuvering through various VOS menus where you'll be reloading turrets, sending droids everywhere, and checking the map, which is only available at a VOS terminal, for Berserkers every five seconds. It makes you wonder why they even bothered making the base so big if you weren't gonna explore even half of it. Unfortunately, it's a pretty drab place anyway, with every room looking exactly like the other. You really could get lost in a place like this, which is why I wish the map wasn't only accessible at terminals. And it wouldn't have hurt to include a compass, for cryin' out loud...
You know what the amazing part is? Despite all of the insanity you have to endure, you can finish Defcon 5 in just under an hour. In the end, it feels like an incomplete game, almost borderline on being a demo. It would've been neat if you had other types of missions that ended up taking advantage of the station's size, making you explore places that you wouldn't have even bothered with before. Though, if they were also gonna be difficult and annoying, then I guess we should just be thankful this is all we're getting out of Defcon 5.
Featured community review by pickhut (February 21, 2007)
Honestly don't want remakes of any of the terrible Alex Kidd sequels unless they're made DRASTICALLY better. Can you imagine a good High-Tech World or Enchanted Castle?
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