If You Could Command Any Star Wars Army…

23 11 2016

Star Wars (Lucasfilm)

I used to like Star Wars, but I digress.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (LucasFilm - 2015

While riding on the train back home from a Wedding back in August, I asked my Friend Matt the question; if he could command any army in Star Wars, which would it be? It’s a bit of an out there question I know and one that I had in my head for a couple of months preceding that, which in turn developed from a few other questions that I will probably end up writing about in the future (which include but are not limited to such things as who would I pick to be in my ultimate superhero/villain team). Anyway I asked this question. Basically the question is in the circumstances that if you were given the power and choice to lead an entire army from the Star Wars Universe, which would it be?

I remember that his immediate answer was Ewoks. Good choice, as the Ewoks pretty much single handily did defeat the Empire intrusion on the Forest Moon of Endor. Personally that is not my choice, but I can see how that could be a good choice, as not only are they practical, but also very musical, as well as very cuddly. My answer though to the question I am asking, I immediately chose when I originally thought of the question. There are a lot of good armies to choose from (even when sticking just to the films), many of which garner a lot of variety in their arsenal as well as secret weapons that are entirely attributed to them only. But for me, there really is only one obvious choice, one that if put into battle with all the others would simply dominate. They are the one army that suggests anything army like, and have the weaponry and technology to back it up: The Galactic Republic.

galctic-republic-logo

It would be a very short post if I just ended it there, but I feel like I should explain my reasoning and choice, so what follows is a brief but detailed post of why I would choose the Galactic Republic over all the others, and I will do that by stating where their strengths lie by going into the different elements of a Star Wars army and attempt to argue their strengths against those of the other armies.

clone-trooper

Infantry: Infantry/personnel units make the backbone of an army; without Infantry and Personnel there would be no army. No matter the ships, tanks, aerial units, without soldiers and personnel to use them or back them up and maintain them, all you will have is a load of machines that cannot be used. Infantry is the main force of an army, and while Tanks and other vehicles have a lot more firepower and are better armored, they can cost a lot to build and are not as practical as soldiers. Every army in Star Wars has their infantry, ranging from swamp dwelling frogmen, to cuddly teddy bears, to general foot soldiers and even robots. One of the most iconic units in Star Wars is of course the Stormtrooper, and Stormtroopers are a well-equipped fighting force, but given that the universe pretty much belongs to the Empire by the time the Stormtroopers are introduced, they are less infantry, more a peace keeping force. They are a tried and tested as well as disciplined fighting force of course, but they present themselves more as shock troopers rather than infantry, if not more like; well, police officers of the galaxy. They do not suggest themselves as being a fighting force that could work on a large scale battle front, their guns themselves look pretty small, and in the end, they’re probably about as much good as those white fellas from The Hunger Games. Now take the Republic Soldier (or Clone Trooper); the republican army is of course famously built from clones, under a strict regime program that turns them into an equipped and disciplined fighting force the second they step out of the factory. The best way I can describe them is during the Battle of Geonosis. The minute they arrive in the arena, they are perched on the edge of the LAAT gunships, and the second they land they are firing shots at a large fighting force of battle droids. They don’t wait, they know who the enemy is, they know how to attack and they have been well-trained enough to know that now is the time to attack. This is just basic infantry, there are other kinds of units, but as they are just the basic infantry in battle, to go in there, and get to work, plus cause as much damage in less than a minute, only to then join a much bigger fight, suggests a dedicated and effective fighting machine, not one that is unprepared for a larger fight.

clone-troopers

Infantry Specialists: Basic infantry units may be the backbone and largest part of a military fighting force; but every army should work at producing some specialist’s within the infantry division as to be able to deal with specific or certain situations on the battlefield. This can range of course from specialist infantry for certain weather conditions such as the Galactic Empire’s Snow Troopers, but by specialists I mean more in the form of weapon specialists to of course engineers and medics. In terms of weapon specialists, the Republic has shown a great level of degree of weapon specialists throughout their use. Some of these are designated by their role in the army, but unlike most armies in Star Wars, the Republic Army appears to be unique in their use of Snipers. I have never seen the Gungans, Ewoks, Rebel Alliance, Galactic Empire, Confederacy of Independent Systems or even the Trade Federation use Snipers. I like Snipers as it’s the idea of not being seen but picking off enemies from afar. Other unique soldiers in their arsenal include Medics, as most other armies (except maybe Ewoks) seem to work under the idea of if you are injured you are already Dead and it’s not worth bothering with. Two things may appear to be a little small in number of examples, but it’s still more than the others (at least from what I have seen).

clone-commander

Ranks: On the battlefield, much like in other more modern (REAL!) day circumstances, it’s important to have a clue as to what on earth you are meant to be doing. This is where more experienced and well taught soldiers come in to play whose job it is rather to issue commands to the lower downs than fight up front. In the real army these are known as commanders or officers. Now, not all high level commanders are sat behind the army with their feet up, many have to be on the battlefield to direct soldiers in the heat of battle. All armies have ranked commanders, but the Republic better enhances the role of theses soldiers in a very obvious way, one that is actually used in the real world – using colour on uniform to point out who is in charge. It’s not just the Republic who uses this system in Star Wars of course as the Droids of the Trade Federation use a similar system. Now the colour for the most part in both armies is more of a designation as to their role in the army, but even when uniform and colour changes in role, Yellow has always stood out as some form of Commander. This use of colour is actually used in the real world; one example is in the uniforms of the Police in the United Kingdom. During big events, officers use coloured epaulettes to highlight their rank, as it stands out more than symbols. Examples of colour include White for Sergeants and Red for Commanders.

police-sergeant-white-epaulettes

On the battlefield this would be very useful for an army, as if soldiers lose their place and need guidance or even assistance, being able to pin point a commander or someone in a similar position would be a lot easier if it was especially highlighted, rather than going round examining their shoulders.

at-te-in-action

Tanks: Since World War One, Tanks have been an instrumental feature on the battlefields of the world; it’s the same with Star Wars (but as the film suggests it was a long time ago, the question has to be raised as to whether or not the films are set before or after World War One). Tanks play an important role on the battlefield, as they can do things infantry cannot do. They come with far superior forms of firepower, are a lot quicker and more mobile than infantry, can travel great distances, and can attack bigger and more armoured units as well as buildings from afar. Tanks have always been a key role to the battlefields of Star Wars and there are several unique and iconic tanks in the series, ranging from but not limiting to vehicles such as the AAT hover Battle tanks of the Trade Federation to the giant four-legged AT-AT’s of the Galactic Empire. While these vehicles are all well and good, the Republic’s AT-TE is a much more superior vehicle than both of these and more for some very simple reasons. Firstly, while it is a big and possibly sluggish vehicle, because it hugs the ground, it does not fall to the great weakness of the mighty AT-AT. While the AT-AT is a pretty good piece of equipment, due to its set of four legs to walk on carrying a heavy load, it makes the vehicle very unstable, and easy to be tripped up with something as easy as a cable. Once it hits the ground it’s less useful than paper weight. The AT-TE uses six legs, supporting and distributing the weight evenly across itself. Also, it does not fall under this trip up weakness either, as in order for that to work, the cable would need to intertwine and near shackle each leg, and would need to be done quickly. Another major gain for the AT-TE is that it has access to one main Big Gun. While it has access to smaller support guns, using a much bigger gun allows it to use the gun for close up attack but also far off artillery shots too. The gun itself also means it uses one main powerful shot rather than distributing its attack between several guns, and in the use of energy weapons which require fuel and power to use, a big shot would be a lot better than lots of small shots, plus would mean it could be used a lot more than others and would be more energy-efficient in the long run.

at-te

The other advantage though the AT-TE has over its contemporary rivals is that it can be considered as being like what is known as an MBT or Main Battle Tank. During World War Two, lots of different kinds of tanks were made for various purposes and reasons and there was a lot of variety. Since then however it has become apparent that designing lots of Tanks for different purposes is sort of a long-winded strategy and in the end it would be a lot more efficient t design one vehicle that could suit most, if not all purposes than just a few, then support said vehicle with other support vehicles (or even infantry) in that vehicles (short) list of failings. Variations of MBT’s exist of course, but as they are based on a base vehicle, it actually makes designing variations a lot easier. The Galactic Empire utilities a lot of different walker based designs but very few of these are similar, which means, in similar fashion to Germany in WW2, they designed them for different situations in order to create as much power as possible from each vehicle, but in the process spread themselves rather thin. The Republic on the other hand, created a vehicle, and stuck with it. They adapted future designs and included features such as wheels and even made base troop carriers out of them, and in one case a two-legged version and sometimes carry even smaller weapons, but in the end, all variations were based on the same vehicle; one that was the real ground work horse of their arsenal. It’s similar to the UK’s use of the Challenger 2; it’s the base model for variations, but in the end is based on a workable design. In the end the AT-TE would probably be replaced for a more up to date advanced model, but it would still serve the Republic in a long-term purpose for a very long time.

challenger-2-tank

spha-t

Artillery: Artillery is just as important as Tanks, as Artillery delivers greater levels of firepower to bring down much bigger obstacles such as buildings and fortifications. The Republic (as a going theme you may have cottoned on to) is possibly the only ones to show off a degree of artillery usage. The Empire and Trade Federation have only really used a tank’s superior firepower to one shot defences, but have not really experimented with using them to bring down buildings. The Republic however has presented their artillery in the past in the form of the self-propelled SPHA-T; most notably during the battle of Geonosis to bring down the Trade Federation star ships. These vehicles are very big, possibly bigger than AT-TE’s but use a very simple form of artillery to bring down the ships: that being an adjustable arm with a strong energy weapon on the end. Such vehicles are of course very slow, but on show they are very powerful and capable in the role. In comparison, well; no one has actually showed off a viable comparison, which is even weirder considering how basic these vehicles are.

laat

Aerial Vehicles: This being Star Wars, this could probably be put in two different parts, so for now we will consider those on the battlefield, not necessarily for use in non-air space. When it comes to use on the battlefield, aircraft serve mainly the use of transportation in Star Wars. In the real world aircraft are better used for support craft and can be used to bomb enemy positions from afar and more importantly be used for reconnaissance. In Star Wars it appears armies decide to just jump into battle full force with no dedicated planning, so reconnaissance is not really required. In Star Wars, battles take up quite a bit of the screen as well as scene, but in order for anyone to actually get there; they have two options, either walk, or get some Transport. In terms of practicality; the Republic is very practical in their designs. Armies like the Trade Federation use transport vehicles to move troops around, but are susceptible to attack as the troops need unfolding and then turning on. Empire transports such as the Lambda-class T-4a shuttle and it’s larger variants are less than practical also, as while they can disembark from the front, the access is very limited, and only really practical when allowing two people off at a time, but then the ramp is very narrow and can be a bit of a squeeze. For the most part Storm Troopers usually depart from the back, which is protective, but makes them prone to attack from the enemy as they run around and set up, meaning they could be picked off with ease before they fire a single shot. The Low Altitude Assault Transport (LAAT) used by the republic army is a gunship aerial vehicle, which comes packed to the teeth with a variety of advanced weaponry. These range from standard light laser cannons, to focus beams and cluster missiles. It is a powerful and fearsome vehicle in its own right; however it is also a very useful ship for the transporting of infantry across the battlefield. Once again, the battle of Geonosis proves their practicality and efficiency, as the vehicle allowed soldiers to sit off the side of the ship on both sides, fire from the ships openings, and as soon as it landed, could safely and effectively deploy troops into the battlefield. It allowed and carried defensive capabilities, plus carried offensive abilities too, while also providing an effective launch pad for a quick infantry deployment and attack. Much like the AT-TE too, it was such a well-designed vehicle, that it allowed itself to be customized into other varieties including a vehicle carrier which could carry good heavy loads including the likes of the AT-TE.

assault-ship

Ships: As stated in the last section, aerial vehicles provide two purposes in Star Wars, because you could not have a war in the stars if you did not have vehicles that could compete in the stars. So to this end, huge capital ships become an integral part of the arsenal for any Star Wars Army wishing to compete on a Galactic Scale. Now, while the Republic could be considered weak in context – just bear with me for a moment. If this question was simply about star/space ships, I would have chosen the Empire. I love Star Destroyers, and the Galactic Empire has the awesome power of the Executor. However I would not consider the Republic weak in this department, as they have a superb collection of small fighter/bomber craft ranging from Jedi Starfighters, to X-Wing like designed aircraft in the form of the ARC-170 space fighter. But when it comes to Capitol carrier ships, these Acclamator-class Assault ships are well designed as carrier transports, but in the form of space conflicts, they can still bring a level of broadside firepower. Their shape allows them to sort of glide through the stars, and their light size in comparison to others should give them a speed and maneuverability bonus, but if you think about it, a fleet of these things are less like capitol ships, and more like mini sized battleships, and there are entire fleets of them. Just imagine that. Less a capitol/command ships, but more a proper battle ship. In Earth terms it would be like having an entire fleet of Yamato or Iowa Class Battleships, and who doesn’t want that? Yes, they could look a little weaker to the might of the Star Destroyer, but in Firepower, they could still deliver a punishing.

yamato

Well I hope that wasn’t too boring of a read, but I wanted to cover the reasoning of my choice. Anyway the chances of me being given the keys to the Republic Army Arsenal is very slim, probably more like impossible as Star Wars isn’t real, but I suppose it’s just good fun. Anyway, that is why; given the power and choice I would choose to command the Republic Army. Yes, the other armies have their own strengths as well that should (and need to) be considered, but as a good all-rounder, there can’t be any better than the Republic, as for one thing, they are at least consistent in their designs and are a very efficient machine. That is my choice, who would you pick to command?

GENEPOOL

Advertisements




Top 5 Robot Wars Robots

20 07 2016

New Robot Wars Logo

In 1998, a TV Show began airing on BBC Two that would change Friday Night Programming for many years to come and would become a highlight in many people’s TV Calendar’s. It was a show about engineering, construction, but mostly fighting. The show was called Robot Wars and each week involved people from all walks of life, stepping into an arena with a homemade contraption of weaponry and forcing it to fight with another homemade contraption of weaponry. It was so much fun, it was new, exciting, revolutionary, futuristic, but above all…fun; and now it’s back. Yes, coming soon to BBC Two, the game show about creating but most of all destroying robots returns for a brand new run. I have been excited since the day it was announced, and have already begun to celebrate: my profile picture on Facebook is a picture of my favourite robot from the original show, and I have written a post about the House Robots from the original show too. It has been my goal to write a post though on my Top 5 Robots from the original show, and now that teaser trailers have already been appearing to air on BBC Two for the last few weeks, I thought I should better hurry up and write it.

It has been something of a struggle trying to choose my Top 5. There have been so many great Robots (Steg-O-Saw-Us, Rameses II, GBH, Dantomkia, Cassius, Pitbull, Dominator 2, Roadblock, Panic AttackBerserk 2Pussycat and Behemoth to name but a few) in the show’s history, and whittling them down to 5 was going to be hard. My top 3 were easy as they have always been my top 3, but choosing another 2 was hard. Number 4 was chosen over time as eventually it made sense that it would be in the Top 5, while the 5th position was being fought for by 3 machines. At one point I was sure that it would be those 3 machines holding that title equally, but then it came to mind that one of them stood out more than the other 2 (Tornado and Dreadnaut): so I got 5. Anyway, enough of how I chose the 2 bottom machines, here is the list of my Top 5 Favourite Robots from Robot Wars (original series).

Trident

5. Trident –During series 3, a new format was introduced in the form of more battles, less trials. Because of the more pro wrestling style format; more of certain performers would become firm fan favourites in the future. Many of the future crops of Robot Legends did not actually debut until the third wars with such (and other related) robots as: Firestorm, Wild Thing, Bigger Brother, 101, Spawn Again and Hypno-Disc. One thing though that was good about series 3, it was still virtually about homemade machines that anybody could enter, and still make a name for themselves with relative ease. As the show progressed, some teams poured thousands of pounds into their machines making it look more like a professional gig rather than a fun thing to do. Series 3, and 4, were the place to be, with some machines still carrying that homemade feel, while also making some really interesting designs, and one such entry that stood out more than most (at least for me) was Trident. Trident was an interesting design, it seemed to be very long, and a bit over balanced, but kept upright. It shined both gold and silver, had a triangular wheel axle and a pretty impressive axe. It debuted in series 3 and reached the semi-finals with ease. It stood out for me as 1 it had an Axe and 2, it just looked pretty awesome, but still looked like it could deal a world of hurt to whomever it challenged. I don’t know what it is specifically that makes it stand out for me, except maybe for a flare of je-ne-sais-quoi, which is more than most robots had.

Mace

4. Mace – As the second wars dawned, it was still anyone’s game as to who will achieve immortality. By series 2, Weapons still had a point, and the age of flippers was still over a year away, lifters had more purpose than flippers, and a good weapon would always go far. Series 2 though was a time for new blood to join the fold, as more and more people got in on the act and wanted to compete, and into this fold came Mace. Mace was very box like in shape, but on the front it came with a sort of sloped angle which easily merged with its thin but still effective lifting arm, and while mostly for rear defence, it came with a terrifying looking flail, possibly the only time in the show’s history where one of those was actually effective. It wasn’t the most terrifying of robots, nor was it a looker, for the most part it looked more like a thin shopping trolley than anything else, but Robot Wars is not about looks: it’s about conquest, war and the fight to be the very best, and Mace on several occasions showed that it too followed this belief. It may not have been the hottest date at the prom, but it was definitely one you did not want to meet outside. Mace would appear in both Series 2 and 3 and on both occasions do pretty well and carries an impressive fight record of 6 wins and 2 losses. While it may never have won a title; it is clear that Mace is a bona fide Robot Wars Legend.

Chaos 2

3. Chaos 2 – During series 3, and beyond, a terrible curse was brought into Robot Wars, one that: to cut a long as tory short; basically the show became more about flipping robots around and out of the arena rather than causing any damage. There was some pretty impressive weaponry, but if you did not have a flipper, you were nothing, pretty much. It stayed like this for quite a while. Anyway, while the show became mostly about flippers, some stood out that were worthy of carrying them and showed what Flippers could do. One Robot more than most stood out, and is the only robot in the show’s history to win the Grand Championship more than once, in fact it won it two years in a row: Chaos 2. Chaos 2 had something of a stumpy small body, and looked like a car in design; however size is not everything, as Chaos 2 proved. With Chaos 2, it was all about the flipper and the power within, the robot was designed with that in mind and it worked as a self-righting mechanism too. It was quite a nippy machine too, one that zoomed around the arena quite happily, which is more than could be said for its opponents. Yes, it may not have had a proper weapon, but everything else in mind, Chaos 2 was a pretty cool little machine.

Killertron

2. Killertron – During the show’s first series, the term War suggested lots of robots fighting each other to the death, and while the machines were a load of contraptions made from stuff around the house, the Weapons were anything but, and Killertron was the first one to show off a viable and destructive weapon. Killertron was an Axe Robot unlike most of that class. It would become more common place in future wars (with robots like StingerThor and Terrorhurtz), but at that time Killertron was the only robot to have an Axe that could attack on two sides rather than just one. The Axe was terrifyingly big, and thanks to the machines design of Big Wheels in the middle, and small on the front and back, The Axe came down with more force than most. Killertron would actually have a successful career, making it to the Heat final in series 1 and the grand final in series 2. From there it sort of got lost in the pages of robot history, but thanks to its terrifying weapon, it’s pink and yellow (and orange) colouration, it’s strange wheel design, and generally how good and amazing it looked; the show for those of us who remember the first episode got a treat but also a taster into what this show had in store for us all.

Mortis

1. Mortis – Throughout the show’s entire run, one robot stood out for me more than most. It was this tracked tank like vehicle, and it sported an impressive Axe (or Tanto Blade as it was called) that from the moment I saw it, just fell in love with it. From then on, it became a case of me cheering it on, and even when it was retired after series 4, I had hope that maybe one day, it may return. Yes, it never was UK Champion nor never reached a grand final (it did win the War of Independence for the UK though), but I always knew it should have been champion, and was pretty annoyed every time it was eliminated. Firstly it had an Axe, and then it gained a lifting arm. In the course of the show’s history, it was the most expensive machine built but sort of relatively underperformed and gained numerous faults, but when it was working just right, it showed everyone how capable it was of causing widespread damage to all its competitors. Many roboteers feared and loathed it and beating it in battle was considered a badge of honour by many. In hindsight, maybe it came in a bit too early, and was better built for later competitions, with some beating it by luck in the first couple of series; but from those early years onward, it remained my favourite; and while it has not been seen since, Mortis is still my Favourite Robot Wars Robot.

GENEPOOL





The Lost Reviews – Etherium

15 06 2016

Etherium

When Cavedog Entertainment first released Total Annihilation in 1997, they couldn’t have imagined what kind of impact it was going to make. To this day Total Annihilation is still one of the most beloved and talked about PC games out there, and has since become the lead inspiration for several, ‘spiritual successors’; including games like Supreme Commander, Planetary Annihilation, Meridian: New World; and now…there is another one.

Planetary Annihilation

Etherium is a real-time strategy game heavily inspired by games like Total Annihilation, but also contains the D.N.A. and accessories of other well-known games including Halo Wars. In Etherium, you are one of 3 different factions, racing for control of a super powerful form of fuel known as Etherium. Your job is simple, you need to colonise planets to gain Etherium. There is a major problem however in the form of other empires plus several tribal like factions who want claim of Etherium and eventual control of the universe. To this end, you need to build and grow colonies, create military units to defend yourself with and purge all these power-hungry maniacs unlike you from anywhere where you stake claim to.

Etherium 3

For the most part; Etherium is a ground based real-time strategy game. When you start a match, you begin with one big base. If this one base is destroyed, your game ends and you lose. As the level gets going you will need to claim and defend territories as fast as you can so you can then gather as much Etherium as possible to build your forces and destroy your enemies. Etherium does things differently to a lot of similar RTS games in how you play it. Most games like these include several different forms of resources which need to be independently collected at the same time. In Etherium, there is only one main resource: Etherium. This makes the game rather easy to pick up and play for both experienced and inexperienced gamers of the genre. Another thing Etherium has is no need for Radar. The map is split up into territories; in each of these is something of a node: if you take it, you have full view and control of that territory. This removes the need for Radar which can be quite annoying when you are nearing the end of the level and are still looking for one random tank or builder. As for resource gathering, Etherium appears in only a few territories with in the map. If you have somewhere where you can collect it, it’s collected automatically as soon as a building is built on the resource location. You can increase the speed of collection and gathering by building extensions onto your colonies and any nodes you take over. These extra buildings do specific things once built ranging from Etherium refineries to spaceports. Each one does a different thing but greatly helps you in the need of battle.

Military construction is a lot different too as units are not really built but rather delivered. You basically choose from a side menu what unit you want (ranging from infantry, tanks, planes and titans) and then the unit is delivered to your base. You need to select where you want them delivered to and they can only be delivered to locations with a spaceport next to them. Sending them into battle can then be done the usual way of left clicking on a unit, then right clicking where you want that unit to go. Alternatively you can call in an air drop which will deliver the units directly to where you want them to go. But while your main goal is to rid yourself of the main villain on the map, you will also need to pay attention to one if not several local alien races. They are automatically hostile if you go anywhere near them. There is a way around this however, as you can make peace with them and then call them to your aide. If you don’t do this however, the enemy might and then you will have more than one alien race on your hands. One thing Etherium has though over other RTS games though is the option of a second way of achieving victory. The first way is the above stated way of destroying the enemies’ main base. No need to worry about all other units on the map, destroy that and you win. The other way though is an ingenious way of winning, even if on the ground you are losing. That is to build guns that attack the enemy fleets. These fire automatically once you have enough resources to build them and then it’s a simple matter of waiting until the enemy fleet is destroyed, in which case you win no matter how badly you are losing on the ground. In Etherium’s conquest mode you build fleets then send them to enemy planets, upgrade your forces and unlock new weapons to send into battle. There is no clogging down with huge amounts of story neither, there is some detailed background into the races which is revealed before conquest mode, but as soon as you complete the tutorial, you are just left to your own devices.

Etherium 1

Etherium is a nicely put together game. It features methods of gameplay as yet inexistence in the RTS genre and its ways of controlling the battlefield and winning the map are nice additions too. The game is superbly animated and it’s a lot of fun just watching colonies get built and units delivered. The colonies themselves are nicely detailed too. However the game does have some rather large issues to contend with. While its colonies and structures plus units are nicely animated and built, its units are rather static. What I mean by this is that there is a lack of movement in the heat of battle, they just sort of take on a formation and stay in that formation quite well, but it just doesn’t feel alive or realistic. There is no evasion or moving around to get a much clearer shot. While there is some evidence and advantage of cover, it just seems like the hits from weapons land a bit randomly. While units are nicely thought about and cleverly include units which are better at some things than other units, the lack of life and movement in the heat of battle just doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing. The camera is a bit dodgy too as there just doesn’t appear to be any sort of Zoom functionality, which when everything else comes up 2D in the face means that doing stuff like dropping off units can be rather clumsy. The controls themselves are nicely tuned and the way of building colonies plus the need of building certain units are nice additional features but overall are let down by some of the game’s imperfections.

Galactic Colossus

There is another thing too which gripes me about this game which is a primary unit in games of this kind. That is in the use of large/giant units. In Etherium they are known as titans, extremely big units that could lay waste to the entire map providing no-one else has one. Units like this have been a main stay of the genre since the addition of the Krogoth in Total Annihilation: The Core Contingency and have appeared in other games like Supreme Commander in the form of ‘Experimental Units’. The problem I have with them in Etherium is the need of them. Battles can take long amounts of time depending on how well defended an opponent is. The bigger and stronger plus the advantage of a unit can turn the tide of the battle within a split second, so why should armies feel the need to build something like a Titan if smaller units in theory can do it just as well? Why should Titans even be in this game unless they serve a certain purpose? Why can’t it be that a game like Etherium with its idea of specialized units just be a game with them and only them? No need for a unit that can destroy everything, it’s more about learning the strengths and weaknesses of each unit and find a way to counteract them. Because really the only way to counteract a titan in Etherium…..is to build your own titan.

Etherium 2

Etherium on the whole is a nice little game, one that can easily consider itself equal alongside other ‘so-called’ spiritual successors to Total Annihilation. As for the game itself, it introduces new forms of gameplay as yet unseen, has some nicely crafted in game pieces, animates them really well and doesn’t bog down players in lengthy uninteresting story plots in its conquest mode. On the downside however its graphics and units feel lifeless and static and I think over-does it with the titan units just by including them. There is a lot to like about this game and it is reasonably enjoyable, it’s just held back by clumsy bits and bobs which don’t help it in any way shape or form.

Etherium 4

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Weapons I Would Choose In The Hunger Games

18 05 2016

Katniss Everdeen

I love The Hunger Games, by that I of course mean the combination of the Film and the Book, not necessarily the setting of jumping into an arena and having to kill people. A few years ago, after the release of the first one, I remember an interview that was conducted on some of the cast members who were asked how they would act inside the arena. Now for me, I would more than likely just hide in the corner, and cry my eyes out until I was either dead, or just go mad and become some kind of psychopath. In my head though, it’s a completely different story as I would see myself being like Blade and just be invincible going round killing everyone, but that is very unlikely. Anyway I thought I would do a post on what my ideal weapon choices would be in the arena.

M110A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer

Now I decided to sort of be semi-realistic in my choices. For one, I know I cannot bring anything in to the ring, so it prevents my 3 main options: Godzilla, a M110A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer and Lisbeth Salander; although fair point, Lisbeth Salander would receive double points for having access to a cool leather jacket.

Lisbeth Salander

It’s certainly better than wearing those swimming outfits in Catching fire. I mean, what would you prefer; the swimming costumes from Catching Fire, or a Cool Leather Jacket?

Anyway, under the point that I can’t necessarily take anything in, this list is made up of choices I would choose if they became available in the arena themselves. Now, I do realise that this list may seem a little bit rushed. I have had these dreams for a while of what I would choose, but have only just decided to do this as a post, and in the end, I don’t think I have used my imagination all that much, and this list is made up of more practical stuff mixed with things from Movies, and so I may eventually regret my choices (apart from the leather jacket), and do another one of these in the future with either some additional thought, a selection of weapons from the films/books, things I just made up. Anyway, here are my choices of what I was able to simple cobble together.

Mortis

5. Mortis – What could be better than if one of the choices was the robot Mortis from Robot Wars? What could be better than Mortis, the best robot in all of Robot Wars? Now he would be ranked higher if it wasn’t for the case of a remote-controlled robot being relatively impractical as you would spend most of your time behind the robot directing it rather than looking out for the girl from district 6 creeping up on you. But forgetting that bit, its axe would be so deadly an attack, you don’t necessarily need to kill anybody, just puncture them and let them bleed out. It’s a grim idea, but it might be easier on your conscience.

M4A1

4. M4A1 Assault Rifle – Ok, this one is mostly based on what fun I could get out of MW2 Multiplayer, but yeah. Why not choose a Gun? It makes complete and total sense; you can get it over with good and quick as long as your aim is good and true. Why not add the attachable grenade launcher, then that way you can set fire to any forestry around you and force people out before shooting them. Ok, it relies on you not wasting ammo; but why on earth would the Capitol only give you one clip?

Crossbow

3. CrossbowKatniss Everdeen had her bow and arrows; I would have my Crossbow (even though I should point out this is all hypothetical and I don’t actually own one). It’s similar to the above mentioned Gun, but this time it’s a bit more quiet and lethal. Yes, I can see a Crossbow coming quite handy in the Hunger Games, and I don’t mean just some old relic of a device, no! I mean a proper modern beast of a weapon, similar to the one used in Brainiac: Science Abuse for testing armour in a modern civil war, or like at the end of Reign of Fire when Christian Bale’s character kills the Big Dragon.

Quarriors

2. Quarriors Dice – If you have no idea what those 2 words mixed together mean, it’s obvious you have not played my Favourite Board Game. In Quarriors (using a similar sort of game play to Dominion, if you know what that is), you roll and collect dice to attack other people. Dice can be used to summon spells, and summon monsters. Just imagine it, you roll the dice, and in a similar vein to Yu-Gi-Oh, Monsters and Spells come out of the dice to attack your enemies.

Heimdall

1. Equipment from Thor – When I think about me being in The Hunger Games, one thing that always comes to mind is the film Thor, quite possibly because the night on the day that I first saw The Hunger Games, I went home and watched some scenes from Thor. Anyway, I have decided to call this bit Equipment of Thor (I know it does not sound all that exciting), because there are 3 things I can think of that would be quite useful to have in The Hunger Games. As to how you would get them is relatively obvious, basically you will be covered in lightning like Thor and receive the equipment as it is bonded to your body. Anyway, the items in question; Heimdall’s Armour, Heimdall’s Sword, and Thor’s Hammer. It’s all you really need isn’t it, just the basics, and the hammer could prove to be a useful escape route as you could just plough through a wall or the roof, or better yet, send the hammer flying and destroy the Capitol, end of The Hunger Games, everyone is free, let’s go home. Basically, all this time, I just see myself becoming Thor while also receiving some equipment from the mighty Heimdall too.

GENEPOOL





Top 5 Robot Wars House Robots

23 02 2016

New Robot Wars Logo

Robot Wars is back. Yes; the fiercest, deadliest quite possibly the finest game show to grace the home TV screen is set to return to its rightful home on BBC Two. Announced just a couple of months ago, a lot of excitement has already begun to build for the return of a TV game show Icon with announcements including who is going to be hosting it in the form of Dara O’Briain and Angela Scanlon with also the return of Jonathan Pearce on commentating duties, to some sketchy videos showing the possible return of the House Robots. While little has been announced in terms of show content, it has already begun to get some momentum, and excitement is already high. For me, it is a big thing as I absolutely loved Robot Wars and I have wanted it back on for many, many years. Well now it is happening, and I am brimming full of nostalgia. So; while I try to figure out exactly which were my favourite robots for a later post (although I am sure of who Number 1 is), I thought I would do a post on who were my favourite House Robots.

The House Robots for those not in the know were the shows sort of villains. They were a group of robots suggested to be so good that they were unbeatable. They were presented as bad guys, and there was always a cheer when one of them was taken out of action. They were loved, but most of all hated. In more basic terms though they were just an extra addition to add to both entertainment value, plus the overall destruction content of the show. They were sort of like characters in pro-wrestling that would invade the ring and beat the other wrestlers up. But still they were entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Over the course of the shows run there were 9 house robots in total; but this list is really only going to be filled with the best 5, which also happen to be the first 5. So there will be no RefBot, Growler, Mr. Psycho or Cassius Chrome, (or the Sentinel…..or Shove) because no matter who got introduced in later shows, to me there was only 5 real House Robots (the others were more like sidekicks). So, prepare yourself for a destructive route down memory lane, as I present to you, my Top 5 favourite House Robots from Robot Wars.

Dead Metal

5. Dead Metal – Dead Metal has always been something of an outsider in comparison to the rest of the group. He has always been difficult to place nor had much of a personality in comparison to the rest of them. This however has also sort of worked in his favour. In comparison to the rest of the House Robots, he has changed very little. He has always sported a pair of pincers and circular saw. Like some of the others he was updated a bit more by series 3, by having the saw not on an arm like it had been, but instead more on an extending beak position. He started out as something more like a scorpion before becoming something more hawk like. His look has always been off-putting and has not look as crisp as the others. This however is his charm, because while the others are more like personalities, or characters; Dead Metal is more like a grotesque Monster; A Beast to say the least. A creature of pure destruction, sacrificing looks for power. So while he did start of relatively boring, and has not been in as a favoured light to the others; he has his own characteristics and charm, and that is in by having none of those things in the first place.

Sgt Bash

4. Sergeant Bash – The original leader of the Gang. Sgt Bash had a great start to his career carrying a magnificent yet terrifying (as well as very effective) flame thrower, his main weapon of choice. He also came with some kind of frontal ram later replaced with some claws and a circular saw at the rear. Given his name, he was dressed up to look like a military commander, and until the arrival of Sir Killalot was the group’s leader. Sgt Bash always remained something of an up front leader and continued to enjoy a popular career as a house robot and continued to remain a main figure-head in the arena all the way through the series run.

Sir Killalot

3. Sir Killalot – When first introduced in series 2, Sir Killalot made a quick impression thanks to new host Craig Charles giving a live demonstration of the machines powerful claw hand attachment. I remember his debut quite well, and I believed he was far too overly powered (but not in the same kind of language, as I was not even in high school yet). I thought his size was far too big, and his strengths far too good. Basically he had to far and unfair an advantage to everyone and everything else. But to come to think of it now wasn’t that the point? I mean, these guys were villains, they were not her to battle and win, they were here to bully and destroy, and now they had the perfect leader to send them into the battlefield. Sir Killalot was always magnificent. He was huge and came packed with weapons as iconic to that of Bash in series 1. He was big, came on tracks, but more importantly, looked like a cyborg. He had human like features. Arms, hands, even a face that would put those Brotherhood of Steel Fallout 3 characters to shame. He was imposing and deadly; and remained so throughout the show’s run. While he may have been copied slightly with the arrival of Mr. Psycho in series 6, there was only one true leader of the House Robots, a robot so deadly, it did not need any form of back up…..unless it fell in the pit.

Matilda

2. Matilda – The show’s first real personality and everyone’s favourite (for a time at least) Matilda was iconic the first time she rolled on-screen. She was a simple enough idea but came backed up with a whole lot of weaponry. Her charm was in what she was, she was a Dinosaur. She looked so detailed, and was a very close embodiment of a robotic Triceratops, complete with tusks that acted like fork lifts. But this was not all she had though, because she also came armed with a tail, a tail chainsaw, and a cool looking one at that. While she may have had that replaced with a fly-wheel, the chainsaw armed Matilda was always her most beautiful form. She was simple, beautiful but always deadlier than her male counterparts.

Shunt

1. Shunt – Shunt is a little bit different to all the other house robots. Yes, while they are all independently different from one another in look and abilities…and of course name, Shunt has one extra level of difference which makes him that extra bit unique. You see if you look at all of them, there is a certain level of character and personality, suggesting that there is more life in them and that they, as robots are the next stage in earths cycle for the need of a dominant life form. Shunt though, is less cyborg, less android. He does not look like a living creature, nor has a name to suggest it. You see, Shunt is more like a machine. He/It looks more machine like, more robotic than the others. His design is more like a bulldozer than anything else. Armed with not one, but two bulldozer blades and a terrifying axe and suggested that it can pull a land rover. He has virtually no colour nor personality. But because of that he always stood out for me. I like Axe Robots, plus I like big imposing robots that look like they can deal damage instead of just flipping robots up and over. Shunt is not a robot to make others less powerful or invulnerable, he is a robot designed to do what House Robots are meant to do; once again, Bully and Destroy. Using its scoops and axe to pin robots just where he wants them, and then use the axe to kill them all together. Not so deadly an assassin, but more like a vicious tank, plus he just looks unstoppable, and as far as I remember, he was; and that for me is why he was my favourite.

GENEPOOL








%d bloggers like this: