Terra Nova is a forgotten Looking Glass classic that remains to this day one of the best squad-level first-person games ever made. Set in the far future of mankind where inter-planetary wars are rife, you must take charge of a crack unit of Strike Force commandos trained to follow your lead in the battle between Centauri colonists and the oppressive Earth Hegemony. |
The number of innovations Terra Nova introduced to the first-person shooter (FPS) genre is considerable. For starters, you must choose up to three other commandos to be your squadmates in most missions. Each commando has his or her own statistics, and a different "specialty": e.g. recon experts are good at spotting enemies and moving undetected, while demolitions experts are indispensable in missions that call for the bombing of enemy structures. Choosing the right team is therefore crucial.
As soon as your squad lands on the ground, the amazing depth of Terra Nova becomes apparent in the wide variety of commands you can give to your squadmates. Unlike other FPS games, these commands are not just inconsequential icing on the cake, but do spell the difference between success and failure. You can employ 'fire and maneuver', diversions and other squad combat tactics, or split your squad up into groups and send them on special missions. Your can order your squadmates to fire at will, fire at a target of your choice, or even request a repair expert to fix failing systems in your battle armor suit as you take damage from enemy fire. The action is always fast, furious, and captivating in a lush, realistic terrain with stunning atmospheric effects: rain falls, lightning strikes and clouds race across alien skies. The 3D vistas, in SVGA mode with full detail on, rival any game made in the same period. And as if that was not enough, you can see the drama of the campaign unfold in full motion video sequences, believably performed by real actors. With 39 missions plus a scenario editor for creating your own combat adventures, Terra Nova grabs hold and doesn't let go. Training missions ease beginners into the game, while veterans will cut their teeth on the "hard" difficulty level. Too bad not many modern FPS's pick up on its novel concepts of co-operative play – although Dynamix' Tribes is a worthy spiritual successor. If you are a FPS fan or anyone interested in a good mix of strategy and action, Terra Nova is simply a must-have. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Underdogs