Defcon Review

There is an area that is hidden in the back of everyone’s mind that hides a deep and dark secret. This secret is the desire to blow the crap out of anyone who does not agree with you and your views. Looks like the folks at Introversion Software read your minds and delivered this lovely little jewel of a game.

Defcon puts you in the command of a superpower in the world as you blow your opponent’s infrastructure and population to smithereens as you attempt to keep your lands stable. This game caught me by surprise as I read about it and the simplicity and subject matter kept me wanting more as I played the game. As I have mentioned previously, for such a simple game, the tactical know how that is needed to succeed is hidden within the game. Only practice will make you victorious, but all of your plans could be shattered by moving around your pawns. Who doesn

If you have viewed any movies that contain an underground war room with the huge map in the central screen, you will feel at home with Defcon. Think of the movie Wargames and you can imagine what the game is like. There is definitely a minimalist approach to the interface, but it all fits the feel of the game. You have a map of the world on the screen and use this as the canvas for your magic. You place your boats, radar, airfields, etc. on the map and arrange them in such a manner that you will have offensive strength and a defensive web erected.

Once the missiles fly, little blips fill your screen as the idea of reciprocity is rewritten. Green radiated areas start to fill the map and planes, projectiles, and other objects litter the screen. The towns slowly lose population and the ammo becomes scarce and then the countdown runs out and the statistics scroll across the screen.

The haunting music clips play during the game and add a mood of despair and madness to the situation as the timer counts down. Once the missiles are in flight, the explosions as they reach play a symphony of death. The coughing and suffering is the chorus to this musical and sends shivers down the player The controls for the game are deceptively simple and are easy to master so you can get your game going rather quickly.  The original setup during Defcon 5 and 4 uses a simple drag and drop interface to place the units and structures.  Most of the units on the map have secondary functions that can be accessed by right clicking on said unit and chosing the function that is desired.  Chat can be compared to a chat program and is placed within elegantly within in the GUI. 

Defcon begins at Defcon 5 with time quickly ticking away to the pending apocalypse. During Defcon 5, you are allowed to place your units and move your fleets around into enemy territory. Airports allow you to scramble either fighters or send out bombers with the task to deploy their nuclear payload, radars act as your eyes in the sky, naval fleets allow you to bring the hurt to your opponent’s shores, and Anti-Air defense act as your line of defense and can be transformed to a nuclear silo, putting a dampener in your defenses.

Once Defcon 4 hits, all of your radars will become operational and report on enemy positions. During this time, there still is no hostile action, but you can continue to place your units and move them around the map.

With Defcon 3, any units you have not placed will remain inactive for the rest of the battle and that could put you at a huge disadvantage, so it pays to preplan and see what your enemies are up to. During this phase, conventional combat begins as fleets start firing on each other and aerial dog fighting begins.

With the advent of Defcon 2, the conventional warfare phase is continues on and nukes are being prepped in the silos and the bombers. Once Defcon 1 rolls around, all hell breaks loose as SAM sites can be transformed into nuclear silos and the missiles are let go. Nuclear subs fire their payload as nuclear bombers fly in and add new glass parking lots to the different regions of our Earth. Once Defcon 1 ends, the winner is declared depending on who has the most population alive after the apocalypse.

When I pre-ordered the game, I was able to grab it for $15 dollars, a download, and a boxed copy in the mail. Now the cost went up to $17.50 for the direct download an $26.25 for the download and the boxed copy. My fifteen dollars were definitely well spent on both the online and offline modes.  Once you get tired of beating on the computer, it is definitely time to jump online and try your tactics against a human opponent. Playing against humans will add another dimension as certain strategies that I believed to help me to an easy win did not as my opponent adjusted their strategy to mine. Also, the ability to create alliances allows for even more depth as you nuke your ally-turned enemy. 

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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