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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC and Zaurus Linux games

Strategic Assault, by Xen Games (ported to Linux by Eon Games)$5.99
Reviewed May 2002

If you have never played an RTS (Real Time Strategy) game, Strategic Assault is a good one to try. If you want to know more about RTS games, read our game FAQ here. Developed by Xen Games, Strategic Assault resembles the RTS masterpiece "Command and Conquer". There isn't really a Tom Clancy type of story behind the game, but it has all the ingredients of a fun RTS.

Character: You are in the Army starting at very bottom as a Trainee. There are 15 levels (missions) and each time you successfully complete a mission you go up a rank.

Mission: Destroy enemy bases in each level.

Resources: In the beginning of a mission, you are given a base, some artillery and some money. It will be up to you to build an army and complete your mission. The most important resource in this game is money, like in the real war. You have a small amount of money to start. Once you start, you must capture the Strategic Buildings that will generate more money for you. There are different numbers of Strategic Buildings in each level. The more you capture the faster money generates. Also like in a real war, either side can capture buildings. So you should have a strategy to guard them after you capture the buildings.

Based on the terrain in the level, the artillery varies. Tanks and jeeps are good for desert terrain where Gunboats and Hovercraft are more suited for water, and HoverTanks fit just about anywhere. There are different types of factories that build different artillery. For example, in a Light Factory you can build jeeps and light tanks; where in a Heavy Factory you can build heavy tanks, rocket launchers and helicopters. If you want to build naval artillery you must build the Dock first.

AI: The enemy AI level increases well as the game progresses. There is some variation in each mission, which makes the game fun. In some levels, the enemy will build a fortress with walls and plasma and wait for you to attack. In other levels, they might come in waves at a very high frequency. The game keeps you guessing and trying different strategies to complete the mission. The character AI does not seem to progress fast enough though. Sometimes your tanks or gunboats will react to enemy attack and ignore your command. Your artillery might run aimlessly when stuck and it may take you a few seconds to regain control.

Graphics are sharp and pretty in this game. The strategy planning area is on the bottom of the screen. Radar lets you access a small map that clearly shows where everything is; Group gives you access to each group's activities in one glance; Build shows you a list of factories and artillery you can build, and the amount of money you have; Info allows access to information on anything from artillery status to building functions; and main Menu takes you to options where you can select sound options and difficulty levels as well as to quit the game. The game saves the completed missions automatically. You can start at any mission you've accomplished before. Sound effects and sound tracks are cool, though not abundant.

All in all, this is a fun RTS that you will spend hours playing. There'll be additional Mission Packs in the future. Currently there is one new mission pack at around $5. The game takes very little space and can be run off of a card. I did experience hanging a couple of times running it off of a CompactFlash card on a NEC Mobile Pro P300.

Playing Hints and Tips
First, understand what all the artillery do and how much damage they cause. This will help you to decide what to build. Try different routes or artillery combo if you failed a mission. You will get it eventually.

Strategic Asault screen shot

Strategic Assault screen shot 2

Pocket PC
Zaurus SL-5500


Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Graphics are sharp, but not too fancy. It works well for this game. The radar map is easy to see.
Sound Cool sound effects and music, but not much variety.
Fun Meter 15 levels of well-designed missions combine with some really cool weapons can get anyone to pick up this game and start playing. I had fun with it because it was easy to start, but challenging enough to finish.
Addictivity It's fun for the first 2 or 3 times. The terrain is not massive. After a while you will memorize everything and game play becomes routine.


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