Carrier Command

[Retro] - Review: A classic game mixing strategy and action from 'back in the day' when learning curves were beyond vertical
The Details
  • Title: Carrier Command
  • Web: Un-Official Site
  • Developer: Realtime Games
  • Publisher: Rainbird
  • Released: 9 February, 1988
  •  
  • Platforms: Other
  • Reviewed On: Other

Platform: Amiga, Atari ST and many more
Year: 1988

Set in a resource poor near future where world governments are desperate to find alternatives. When a report that major volcanic activity in the Pacific has created new and resource rich islands the world governments are sure their salvation is at hand.

Two Aircraft Carriers are built to colonize and exploit the resources as quickly as possible. The unnamed government builds ACC Epsilon and ACC Omega , but only the Epsilon will have a human captain. Developments in AI have meant that as Omega is finished, it will be entirely computer driven. This, of course, is exploited by a terrorist organisation, which install their own AI and activate it when Omega is already half way to the islands and threaten to destroy them unless they are paid a lot of the moneys.

Looks like a mountain or a volcano? Probably useful, maybe?

The game is played through the viewpoint of the ACC Epsilon’s commander. Throughout the course of the game, you never physically leave the carrier and are able to control everything in the game from the bridge. Everything in your carrier is controlled by yourself, either directly or indirectly. None of your Manta fighters or Walrus amphibious assault craft had pilots, you controlled them remotely.

The goal is to either destroy the enemy carrier or destroy its own home island, although the Omega has to be out of the way before any serious attempt can be made on its main base. There are two ways to play the game, either Action or Strategic mode. Action games start you with an established group of islands as though the game had already been going for a few hours. A Strategic game starts you with one island and lets you decide the way to start colonizing.

Fighters go! Zip!

Free Islands are converted to your side by building command centres. The Walrus assault craft, launched from your carrier does this. You build Resource, Industrial, or Defence Islands. They do as their name would suggest. Resource management is important as your carrier will need replacement jets, tanks, missiles and most importantly; CARRIER FUEL. If you run out of fuel in between islands, it is pretty much game over!

Pew Pew!

While the graphics are strictly functional and the sound effects were as about as sophisticated as an Atari 2600, the game’s strength lies in its interface. What holds many classic games back I have found is their less user-friendly controls. Carrier Command is an exception to this rule, with its clean menus and surprisingly clear manual, the game is easy to pick up and play. It is lacking a tutorial though so if you’re one that requires complete hand holding, then getting started might be more effort than you’re used to.

A sequel is set to come out early 2012, being developed by Bohemia Interactive. They are the creators of Operation Flashpoint, so I think the franchise is in safe hands.

Judgement
Pros:
  • A genre defining game.
Cons:
  • There is none. It's that good.
Keeper Garret
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