Warzone 2100 is a real-time strategy game developed by Pumpkin Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. Released in 1999 for Microsoft Windows and Sony Playstation the game received mostly positive reviews from critics, although none of them were fawning over it. It was simply a good strategy title for the time, and one of the first RTS games I had played back in a time when I was new to the PC as a gaming platform. Unfortunately, the game wasn’t much of a commercial success, hence the lack of a sequel and the fact that the developer was shut down only a year after Warzone released.

Despite it “just” being a good strategy game with no particularly outstanding features, Warzone 2100 holds a special place in the hearts of the people who enjoyed the game. As a result of having a small but dedicated fanbase so many years after its original release the source code to Warzone 2100 was released to the public on December 6th, 2004. It didn’t take too long after that for fans to start up an effort to patch the code with long-awaited fixes.

A shot from one of the earlier missions taking place in a desert area.

A shot from one of the earlier missions taking place in a desert area.

The Warzone 2100 Resurrection Project is an effort to fix outstanding bugs left over from the last official patch and add some enhancements in the process. As far as I know they don’t plan to do anything crazy with the source such as overhaul the graphics engine to include modern shader effects, it’s more of a clean up and optimization project I believe. However, I think that they do plan to enhance some of the games textures in the future.

I hadn’t written about this project until now because it had still been in a rather incomplete state before the most recent version, namely that the single player campaign was missing its FMV cutscenes and music. While the game source code was released under the GPL license, the FMV cutscenes and the Music were not included. Luckily, in June ’08 Eidos interactive updated the license to rectify the situation.

The cutscenes don't hold very well, but they get the job done.

The cutscenes didn't age very well, but they get the job done.

Thanks to the updated License you now essentially have the full product for free, and actively being worked on by a small team people who share a genuine interest in the game. However, keep in mind that it is not perfect. There are still bugs and you may crash from time to time, but ultimately it’s still a fun game and considering it’s free you can’t really complain. The single player campaign is fairly meaty, taking you across multiple types of locations ranging from desert wastelands to destroyed cities and snow-capped mountains.

Story isn’t really the games strong suit, but I suppose you could do worse. In a nutshell, the Missle defense system screws up, shit hits fan, nuclear apocalypse, blah blah blah – all that good stuff. It’s really just there to serve as a reason to do what you’re doing, not something to get super immersed in. But it does it’s job well enough and provides enough incentive to move forward through the campaign.

A skirmish with computer-controlled Scavengers enabled

A skirmish with computer-controlled Scavengers enabled

Warzone’s gameplay consists of fairly standard RTS fair: build bases, build units, collect resources, attack enemy and repeat. However, for it’s time it had a unique feature that may not seem like much these days; as you progress through the game and research new technologies you can use individual parts to construct your own units utilizing different combination’s adapted to specific situations. They aren’t completely arbitrary, but you’ll likely to find one or two unit combinations that work as all-arounders and just stick when them unless you really enjoy playing virtual Legos with Tanks, Cyborgs and Aircraft.

If you like RTS games and don’t mind playing something that feels (pathfinding issues ahoy!) and looks dated but still offers some entertainment then I’d definitely recommend giving Warzone a download.

Link: Official Warzone 2100 Resurrection Project Website

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