DEFCON

Something for the weekend?

After watching Chris Delay from UK games company Introversion Software presenting at Playful last week, I went digging around their back catalog. I’m excited about their upcoming game, ‘Subversion‘, but I was pleased to be able to download demos of Uplink, DEFCON and Darwinia.

DEFCON is already a personal favourite. I was glad to see that, as with their other games, as well as a Windows version it’s also been ported to both Mac and Linux (the Mac version is being distributed by Ambrosia GTames).

It’s strikingly beautiful. Based on a gorgeous world map (with nostalgic Cold War era national borders) the careful placement of silos, airfields, radars and naval units, the escalation of hostilities and eventual all-out nuclear war. Timing is everything. It’s actually pretty tense.

DEFCON - First Strike

The gameplay is simple, with defined countdowns from DEFCON 5 all the way to 1, at which point (as we all know from watching War Games) the use of nuclear force is authorised. You can accelerate time at will, unless you’re playing the real-time ‘office mode’ game mode.

Launch Detected

Unlike most war games, DEFCON doesn’t glorify it. The ambient background music interlaced with atmospheric sounds include a very disconcerting coughing noise and the messages which pop up when a city is hit, telling you how many million people just died, are shockingly stark.

DEFCON

After playing 3 games, I’m now reliably beating the computer. It must be time to start playing online against human opponents; multiplayer games with strategic alliances look like fun.

More detailed reviews (going back a couple of years now) from Gamespot. IGN and many more.

2 Comments

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  1. Couldn’t agree more about DEFCON. I would highly recommend Darwinia. It’s quite simple gameplay, but requires some thought to be applied to each map since each holds a different challenge. The story is told well and is actually quite touching, and the retro graphics are just perfect. It doesn’t take long to play through, but for a tenner is good value.

    Play it then get Multiwinia which is an absolute riot of 15 minute strategy mayhem, even in single player (complete with the subs from DEFCON for nuke attacks which is a nice touch). Not sure if Multiwinia has made it to Mac yet though.

    Comment by skink74 — November 7, 2008 #

  2. Absolutely agree with you on DEFCON, Roo – it’s amazing and addictive – but it’s not an easy ride though. The tagline ‘everybody dies’ sums it up very well and is very sobering as you nuke entire nations and the casualties appear on the screen as huge numbers. Although the music is very atmostpheric, after a while it’s a bit repetitive and makes me feel a little down, but then it’s not meant to be a particuarly jolly game. I love the graphics, I’m sure they must have been inspired by one of my favourite films, Wargames ;-)

    Although different to DEFCON, Multiwinia, is cool and definately worth a look, as skin74 mentions above.

    Comment by Rain Ashford — November 9, 2008 #

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