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Military Madness: Nectaris Review

April 5th, 2010 by

The moon is a bastard. Just look at his sneering face up there in a sky. Like an acne ridden teenager his gloating chops have been the only thing in space man has ever really conquered.  If you can really call it conquering because all we really did was play golf, pick up rocks and if you’re Buzz Aldrin: see what it would be like to urinate whilst on the moon’s cavernous surface. However, do not worry because in the very near future we will get our own back on the moon and make sure his face of pride and abandon is scarred forever.

Military Madness: Nectaris is a re-telling of the original 1989 TurboGrafx- 16 title Military Madness, and has a console wide release with Hudson on PSN, XBOX Live Arcade and Wii Ware stores. It’s 2156 in MM:N and the vastly over populated earth cannot cope with its criminal population, so like a modern day New South Wales, the government send them all off to the moon to mine for uranium. Though a few years later the colonies begin to revolt on the moon and announce they want to destroy the earth. The government are not that happy about this so they send up forces to stop them and the Military Madness ensues. Make sure to see the trailer of the bombastic action on MLG as part of this months Trailer-Gasm.

Really, that is probably the only madness you’ll encounter in MM:N as the gameplay in this turn-based strategy game is anything but as mad as the story line. You play as the good guys:  the Union military, and are sent to stop the destruction of earth. Oe by one, turn by turn, you eliminate every one of the members of the lunar revolution.

Each of the 17 locations on the moon is home to a Union force and a Xenos force, the latter being the revolters. Using the units supplied you have to destroy each of the opposing forces units or take over their base with your Charlie foot soldiers. You simply move your units over their selective areas of hexagons and effectively use the land and support you put in place to gain advantage over your enemy. Unless you really go hunting for it, there is no tutorial available for the title, and though it seems to be aimed at the fully grown players who experienced the original, playing MM:N is an absolute breeze.

So far so simple, however, MM:N is not easy. It’s a big game of lunar chess basically, but this time the bishops and pawns are heavily armoured with shiny, shiny guns.  Just like in chess, certain units have certain restrictions on their movements and in this way MM:N is a classic example of tactical execution, which is no surprise given its heritage.

Most of your detail when you go into battle is given to you as facts, like a pie chart obsessed Sun Tzu you need to numerically gain the advantage over your opponents. You may not have the same number or tanks or ground troops on the map, but certain areas of the land can give you attacking advantages, whilst setting up your squad tactically can also boost your potency in attack.  Working out where to place your team so they will not get launched upon by air attacks, or set up your units so that within a few moves they have surrounded the enemy from above, is a joy and one that MM:N does time and time again. Whether you wipe out every item of metal before or above you or sneakily conduct a takeover of their base, when you’ve achieved this success the brain can feel sufficiently worked out, and mental breaks are commonplace to recover from the tactical savagery!

If you, like me, are a novice at these games, multiple restarts and trial and error are common place, which is fine and to be expected when just getting the hang of the challenging A.I. However after a time it becomes more and more frustrating that certain elements of MM:N seem to occur by way of luck and chance no matter how much you plan your onslaught. Numerically when you go to head to head with another unit you can be perfectly matched in every way, but when it comes to the attack you lose 3 units to their 1, and these kinds of inconsistencies seemed to occur much too often.

The look and feel of MM:N will not charm you but it shouldn’t put you off either. The lunar landscapes are detailed enough, even on the Wii, to give you a fair amount of visual information as to which areas will offer you greatest protection and advantage.

MM:N is a tough game and will really provide most hardened and indeed any novice players with a tough and challenging environment. Graphical and auditory elements may not be the most welcoming but there is some longevity with this title. 17 maps to traverse and certain customisable options are available. Also there is the opportunity for friends to play locally or online. The online community though is not thriving and just like the moon itself I found it extremely challenging to find people who were on it!

The price for all this is a little steep as well. For 1,000 Wii points you are not really getting much more than the Wii Virtual Console re-release of the original, with true fans of Turn Based Strategy being able to experience the TurboGrafx title for 400 points less.

MLG Rating: 5/10

Platform: PSN/Xbox Live Arcade/WiiWare  Release Date: 12/03/2010

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Military Madness:Nectaris for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of five days on a Wii. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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