Here's an excerpt from Crossing Over Alpha Centauri:
New elements introduced into the game built upon familiar aspects of Civilization II; Wonders of the World were replaced by Secret Projects, with many of them touching upon themes of transhumanism, technological convergence, and ecological sustainability. Players menaced by roving bands of Barbarians in Civ II would find the mindworms of Planet to be just as familiar...and just as deadly. Terraforming was a key gameplay element, building upon the ability of settlers and engineers to improve land squares in Civ II. The tech tree was massively updated and expanded, and to go with it was a Design Workshop - that felt like it was almost taken straight out of Warzone 2100 - which gave players a dizzying amount of choices and possibilities for new units. Turn your transport ships into aircraft carriers. Upgrade your colony pods to allow them to make orbital insertions. The only limit, it seemed, to what you could build was your imagination - and your present tech level, of course. To drive home the point of the consequences of WMDs, use of the Planet Buster missile, Alpha Centauri's answer to Civ II's mighty Nuclear Missile, carried grave consequences. Not only would every other Faction in the game declare war on you, but the immense ecological damage would cause Planet itself to attack you with hoards of powerful mind worms and other native life forms. To match the ambition and grandiosity of the most epic endgame of Civ II - construction of the colony ship to Alpha Centauri - the team at Firaxis brought in the concept of Transcendance, the unification of humanity's collective digital and biological consciousness with that of Planet, thus bringing about humanity's conversion into Godhood. However, simply building the requisite Secret Project and acquiring the necessary research breakthroughs wasn't enough; once its accompanying Secret Project was completed, players had to act fast, lest a competing Faction attain Transcendance first.
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