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Carrier Command: Gaea Mission review

An interesting mix of RTS and shooter elements let down by poor AI
Thu Oct 11 2012, 12:48

THE ORIGINAL CARRIER COMMAND game was released all the way back in 1988 offering gamers a comprehensive 3D futuristic aircraft carrier simulation experience.

Sadly, despite positive reviews at the time, outside of a few hardcore circles the game didn't garner mainstream success.

Years later the game has returned, with Carrier Command: Gaea Mission offering the same mix of hardcore real-time strategy and vehicle shooter elements, tasking you to take control of a powerful aircraft carrier and use it to conquer the world.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is slow to start opening due to a largely superfluous first person shooter scene that has little purpose past introducing the game's main protagonist, Lt Myrik.

The new story revolves around Myrik, a battle hardened soldier in the Unified Earth Coalition and chronicles his fight against the Asian Pacific Alliance for control of Taurus, a remote water rich moon.

The entire opening segment is a trying experience since it is completely unrepresentative of the more strategy focused main game. This is made worse by the fact that the main story is really very thin, showcasing the game's worst rather than best features.

The first and most noticeable problem is the game's graphics. Character models look wooden, to the point that we'd confuse them for Thunderbirds puppets. They're brought to life by at best questionable voice acting that can't decide whether the cast are British or American.

The sequence takes over an hour to complete and is very dull, featuring stripped down controls that only let you fire your weapon at woefully stupid enemies that seem hell bent on running into your fire. Not featuring even basic run or jump controls, the first person opening sequence is so bare bones that it feels like a demo product rather than a final game.

It's only after the opening sequence, when your patience has been thoroughly tested, that you get control of your aircraft carrier and the main game begins. Tasking you to act as the warship's commander, the majority of Carrier Command: Gaea Mission's gameplay is a combination of base management, real-time strategy and arcade vehicle combat.

The carrier is a massive goliath of a warship that carries smaller vehicles that can be upgraded and deployed to conquer or defend a series of small islands littered across the global map. When you initially take control of the carrier it's in a terrible state, severely damaged and woefully low on resources, leaving you with a single Walrus, an amphibious jeep/tank, to begin your quest for world domination. This means that the majority of the early campaign is spent restocking and armouring your carrier.

The main goal of Carrier Command: Gaea Mission's campaign mode is to conquer all the islands on the world map. This means that the game is broken up into a series of levels, with each island presenting a different landscape and strategic set of goals and challenges.

Carrier Command battle

The first level, for example, sees you attempt to storm an island using your one Walrus, looking to conquer the island's command centre. Over time however the game gets more complex, giving you control over more vehicles and tasking you with increasingly difficult goals that require exact timing and masterful strategy.


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