DEFCON
Developer: Introversion
Publisher: Introversion
Release Date: Soon!
Players: Nothing definite, but quite a few
Words By:

Iím disappointed. Bitterly disappointed. Iíve just opened the handy little preview packet Introversion kindly sent to Gamecell and hastily spun up the Defcon CD contained within only to find that, lo, those cheeky chaps have neglected to include any code of a playable nature. They thoughtfully packaged a demo of their previous titles Uplink and Darwinia next to a bundle of sexy screenshots for their new title, but damn if I donít already know how good Introversion are. Which is why Iím so disappointed at the lack of a proper demo. Sigh.

What the above ultimately means is that thereís precious little I can expound upon that will be new to anyone taking an active interest in this title. Defcon is looking set to be the ultimate game of electronic Risk, a tense Cold War drama played out in ghostly blue light on your computer screen. But we already know this.

It looks slick, the simplified graphical style at once both reminiscent of ancient missile defence games while still oozing future-cool all over the monitor. But if youíve seen the screens bouncing about the net you already know that too.

Introversion have their sights set firmly on conquering the office with variations on the gameís multiplayer mode, paving the way for fraught nuclear duels between the HR and Accounts departments in addition to the standard after-hours LAN match. But that too is old news.

What might be proper news is that controllable units are being kept to a minimum. The full game will place you in command of your nuclear missile silos supported by radar dishes and airfields capable of launching nuke-laden bombers. In addition fleets of carriers and battleships will be at your disposal, while youíll also be in control of lurking submarines. There are no super units, research trees or other gimmickry, keeping this a lean but hopefully impeccably tuned strategy offering.

When you start a new game a payload of nuclear fury will not be available to you straight away. Introversion have implemented a threat level system (the titular Defence Condition) that steadily rises as the game is played, cranking up the tension and unlocking ever more hostile actions for your units to perform. At Defcon 5 no aggressive moves are allowed as players scramble to negotiate shaky alliances (supported in the game) in the knowledge that only one can ultimately prevail, while at Defcon 1 all bets are off and itís the end of the world as we know it.

Games are set to average about 40 minutes apiece, allowing for nuclear annihilation over a lunch hour and in keeping with Introversionís stated objective of frequent office holocausts. LAN and internet multiplayer is the main focus, but the game will also include a powerful A.I. for players to hone their tactics against. And that, sadly, is all there is for now. No playable code means no definitive word, but Introversion has already proven that they are among the best at what they do. Watching the handful of gameplay movies on the preview CD just made me want to play Defcon more and, frankly, the bomb canít drop soon enough folks.


by: Barry 'Imperial Creed' White

Copyright © Gamecell 2006