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Thread: Uprising

  1. #1

    Uprising

    Anyone else here a fan of this? I glanced through some old threads and found a few comments (including a thread where I'd mentioned the game and then failed to respond to some queries about it; sorry about that), but it hasn't received a whole heap of attention here.

    It was one of the first modern hybrid RTS/FPS games (released shortly before Battlezone), and IIRC got pretty good reviews (perhaps not quite as good as Battlezone) and poor sales. (And a sequel which I've not played, come to think of it).

    I reinstalled it a few nights ago, and it reminded me that (a) it's a pretty neat game, and (b) it can be hard as nails. Although having just completed the single player campaign again, I think I must have handled those tough missions much better than I did the first time around... I do remember there being more hair pulling. I guess my tactics have improved :) Or maybe I simply made more useful upgrade choices this time.

    Unfortunately it seems to be one of the relatively few 3Dfx-enhanced titles that refuses to cooperate with any Glide wrappers :/ I played this with a Voodoo 2 the first time, but I was restricted to software mode this time. It still looks pretty decent, though. The draw distance is poor, however (I got used to it after a few missions, but still... if there was one thing that I could somehow universally improve with all older 3D games, it's the damned draw distance). The options screen lets you adjust it, but the maximum level is just not very large (the minimum being a complete joke!). (*)

    Uprising plays quite differently to Battlezone or other RTSs, and so there's a definite learning curve during which you will often get your newbie commander butt handed to you on a plate :) (and some of the missions are kinda vicious, regardless). There's quite a lot to take in from in the interface and manual, but once you have a handle on how to play it, and all the facilities at your disposal, you can really appreciate it.

    One of the biggest things to get used to is that you can't actually direct existing units to move around the map (which sounds mightily weird for a RTS). Instead you teleport them in ('gate' in the game's vernacular) to attack a particular target, whereupon their A.I. does the rest. You can 'reabsorb' them if they're left standing useless at the end of a battle so as to regain a little energy back (that being the sole resource of the game), but there's no sending them elsewhere. The number of units you can gate in at any time depends on the number of production facilities you have. You can't sit around generating a huge horde of units and then rush the enemy with them; if you you have three tank factories, then you can only gate in three tanks at any one moment (and then another three as soon as the next set are built). You can pile up units at a base for defensive purposes, although there is also a restriction on the maximum number of any given unit type in an area, so you can't create a really overwhelming force.

    You personally control a unique 'Wraith' tank which is the most mobile thing in the game, so you scoot around the map setting up bases (such that you will have supporting units to call on), and then assault the enemy positions, teleporting your units in as required. Units can only teleport within a certain range of either you or one of your bases, so the game mechanics actually force you to be at the front lines, helming the assaults.

    The key to any base you build is the 'Citadel', which powers and protects the other buildings, and sports a massive cannon which can lay waste to most anything. You'll often see it hammering away at incoming aircraft during an assault. One of the things I like most about the game is the ability to, at the press of a button, take first-person control of any of your Citadels, which enables you to do everything you can do with your Wraith (fire its weapons and command your units). So if you're half way across the map and one of your bases is attacked, you can instantly take command of its citadel to control your defence operation. Of course, your Wraith might be destroyed while you are 'away', if you don't pay attention...

    If a Citadel is destroyed you also lose your local gun turrets and SAMs (maximum of three per Citadel), and the other buildings at the base also become highly vulnerable to enemy weapons. Normally you require troops (with their satchel charge explosives) or bombers to take out a building (or else the awesome KSAT orbital beam!), but without a Citadel pretty much anything will do the damage. As such, any assault tends to focus on destroying the enemy Citadel first and foremost, and then annihilating the remaining defensive units and other buildings in a frenzied demonstration of firepower :)

    Bases can be constructed only on pre-defined locations on each map, with a limited number of building positions available at each one. So although you have access to troop, tank, fighter, and bomber generators, you might only be able to have a couple up and running at first. The more bases you possess, the more power you can generate and the more units you'll have available to you (and the less your opposition will have available to them). As such, the missions are generally about grabbing territory. Typically you will start with one or more obvious bases, and the Imperium will likely do the same. In between there may well be a number of unoccupied bases, and grabbing them before the Imperium can get to them will be a considerable bonus. The fights for those middle-ground bases can be quite intense, and there are few sweeter sights in the game than encountering an enemy Citadel that has not yet come online (and hence is defenseless to all your weaponry, allowing you to wipe it out on the spot and set up your own in its place :)

    Sometimes the battle is won or lost within the first few minutes of play due to the success or failure of those early grabs for territory, even if it takes much much longer to play it all out. If you can expand your territory rapidly without overextending your defenses, you will likely succeed.

    There are also a few special missions that play out quite differently to the rest due to extra constraints placed upon you, which is nice for mixing things up a bit.

    There is some decent strategy involved in deciding what to build, when and where to deploy them, and which targets to assign them to, but the game does lean a little more to the action side of things, and because you are not required to 'micromanage' your units the gameplay can become quite frantic, with lots of fast-paced FPS combat in your Wraith (sometimes attacking, sometimes just distracting attention away from your other units). You should certainly go into an assault with a plan (and the right units to back it up), but once the assault is underway you'll definitely need some nimble fingers. Or you can just gate in everything you have, and hope for the best :)

    Each successful mission carries a monetary reward, enabling you to purchase permanent upgrades for your technology. It's your choice as to what to upgrade, though (so a little CRPG flavour into the mix as well), and all your units, weapons, and structures have upgrade paths, so you might have to decide whether it's more important to get better armoured tanks, a more rapid fire rate for your defensive SAMs, or add a new missile type to your Wraith. Admittedly by the end you probably have most things maxed out regardless, but it allows you to vary your overall strategy for the campaign. I think it's a mark of how well this works that, having just completed the campaign, I now have a whole new strategy I'd like to try out.

    The campaign itself consists of fixed missions, but presented in a (limited) non-linear order. At any given time, you will have a choice of anywhere from two to seven missions, and you can invariably skip missions and still progress. I ignored three missions near the end and finished the campaign early this time around, but as I lost the reward money from those three missions, I wasn't as well equipped in the end-game as I might have been.

    There's also a customisable 'instant action' generator (always a nice feature), and there's a multiplayer component which I've never played (but I can imagine human opponents being a whole different kettle of fish!)

    All in all, I like it quite a lot. If games like Battlezone, Hostile Waters, and the like are your cup of tea, you might well enjoy this one. It's hard to compare it directly to those -- hybrid games like these are rarely actually all that similar in gameplay, and I think this probably ranks third in that illustrious group -- but if the combination of fast-paced first-person action combined with strategic base management sounds good, you should at the very least try the demo.




    (*) Damn it. It only just now occurred to me that, seeing as how it had to save that draw-distance setting to a config file, it would be possible to edit this manually, and the game engine might be capable of more than it was making available through the user interface. I'm having to edit it in hexadecimal, and it's a bit weird as the internal numbers start out high for the shortest distances, descend, and then grow again for the longer ones! In addition, I've managed to get a 'long distance' number that overlaps the initial higher 'short distance' numbers, so I'm really not sure how this works. I have succeeded in improving it, but the game crashes unpredictably with much more than a moderate increase. (and for all I know the setting I've left it on (equates to 300 in the scale used by the options menu) could still trigger some instability). It's a shame... I can actually start a mission with a vastly better draw distance (600 compared to the default maximum of 200) and be able to look around and admire the view, but something in the code can't handle it :/

    If anyone is interested, open fonts/settings.cfg with a hex editor, and change bytes 0xc to 0x30 and 0xd to 0x75

    I don't know whether this is totally stable, but I at least completed a mission that was crashing with some of the higher numbers I tried. I have no idea if or how this will work if you install the 3Dfx version.
    Last edited by Shadowcat; 8th Apr 2006 at 20:11.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2000
    Location: Baltimore
    I played this for a while but I eventually gave up in frustration over some of the incredibly hard missions. Perhaps with another try and a FAQ I might have more luck...

    Compared to Battlezone, the graphics are older, there is less control of units, and much more individual combat. One thing that I felt it did better was to give the player a sense of immersion, mostly due to the arial fighting, large base buildings, and frantic fighting that went on in a base assault. Oh, and its also way too hard

  3. #3
    Reading the topic title brought up some good memories. I remember this stuff, I played a lot with the demo. A whole lot. But for some reason I didn't get it back then ... like Battlezone - I played the demo, but missed the full game. Maybe I'll check it out some time ... though I'd rather get Battlezone first...

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Garboshnik
    I played this for a while but I eventually gave up in frustration over some of the incredibly hard missions.
    If worst comes to worst, you can probably skip the missions that are causing you frustration. The downside is losing the associated income, but if you can get a few more missions under your belt, you could always return to it with better equipment and hopefully grab the cash after all.

    One thing that I felt it did better was to give the player a sense of immersion, mostly due to the arial fighting, large base buildings, and frantic fighting that went on in a base assault.
    Agreed! With all the chatter from your units, fighters screaming overhead (or spiraling earthwards after taking hits from the ack-ack), the big Citadel gun pounding away, and you hitting anything and everything in your Wraith, you definitely feel like you're in a battle :)

    Oh, and its also way too hard :p
    You know, I started writing the contents of that post well before I'd completed the campaign, and I made comments about the difficulty based in large part on my recollections of first playing it, but I honestly didn't find it nearly so hard this time around.

    I think that if you make 'bad' upgrade decisions along the way, you will likely run into problems. I tended to focus my upgrades on just a few units and weapons that I knew I would make heavy use of. The Jack of All Trades will probably have a rough time in this game.

    It's vital to make use of your Wraith's power management facilities. It works almost exactly like the I-War power triangle, letting you focus on weapons, speed, or shields.

    There are some valuable tips at the back of the manual, as well (although I found that I disagreed with a couple of them :)

    There are also some tricks you can employ. My favourite one is
    spoiler:
    exploiting the fact that you can start your base-building activities right from the moment you call in the Citadel, without even waiting for it to arrive or come online. This means you can (a) instantly regain your hit points; and (b) instantly place SAMs to wipe out the aircraft which would take down your Citadel before it could land. So calling in a Citadel can actually be a valuable offensive move in the middle of a pitched battle.


    I say give it another go! You may well find it easier the second time around, and I'll happily offer advice if you still run into problems.

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