Desperately you are called to the island of Metavira by scientist Jack Richards and his lovely daughter Brenda. You hear of their plight - the Fallow trees, their precious, medicinal sap on which countless of lives depend, are under the control of the evil and traitorous Santino. With most of the island already in his grasp, you must hand-pick a commando force of mercenaries and take back the island by force. That is, if you can...
Jagged Alliance features: 60 mercenaries... 60 attitudes... 60 voices; intense turn-based combat lets you plan every action; non-linear gameplay; three exciting levels of play will determine if you're as good as you think you are and a replay feature to look for Santino's Achilles heel - you'll need all the help you can get!
An exciting game design approach - role playing and strategy - puts you in the thick of the action!
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: TEEN with Animated Blood, Animated Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 512MB RAM (1 GB recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard. Patched to version 1.13
Posted on 2009-03-18 14:01:08 bylowyhong:
Before I continue, I assure you there will be no spoilers here
In all my years with turn based games, I've known them to be very frustrating. Often, making a wrong choice leads to a result that you'd live to regret with. Games like X-COM, Fallout and first person RPGs like Might and Magic - you should always think your strategies through before executing them. Jagged Alliance isread more no different from these games
Jagged Alliance takes place on the island of Metavira. Without spoiling anything, the story is that your pal Jack is having problems with this dude called Lucas Santino, who wants to extract all the medicinal sap on that island for his own profits. The natives are also living in fear of this bloke. That's when you, the player, who so happens to have connections to the mercenary group A.I.M, are called in to deal with this shit and kick Santino's ass
Graphically, for a 1994 game, Jagged Alliance is...well, crap. People say graphics don't make a game. Well, that's true, but here, it affects your gameplay experience directly: because of the low-res sprites, it's difficult to tell if an enemy is facing your direction or not; the lack of being able to zoom on a scale between the overview and isometric map is a problem, because the overview map is too large to let you make combat decisions, and the isometric map is too small, meaning you will be doing quite a lot of scrolling just to perfect your execution of moves. Overall, even for a 1994 game, Jagged Alliance doesn't do too well in the graphics area
However, I must commend the artistic design of cutscenes and equipment. Whereas as I mentioned earlier, the sprites in the isometric map aren't pretty and don't show you many details, the stuff that you can pick up along the way are nicely drawn
The effects are not going to make you go WOW, but they're not shabby either. FWIW the sounds can be differentiated from one another - you can probably tell when the enemy's using a shotty, M16 or M14. Unlike the poor graphics which hamper gameplay experience, the sounds don't get in the way - you will find it's easier to make your move without getting your merc killed
From the description above, you'd probably be wondering why I gave the sounds a 10/10. The reason's simple: voice acting. Of the tons of mercenaries you're given to choose from, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has a voice of his/her own. From the bratty voice of Sparky to the Russian merc Ivan who doesn't speak a word of English at all, the voice acting is top notch. They range from serious, to "I can't believe they're serious" types. If there's a flaw here, though, it's that after a while, you just want to mute them when exploring sectors - there's too much of a good thing here
There are 3 stages to the game: first, you start off in your room. You can choose to contact A.I.M and hire or fire mercs. After that, you go to bed. It's very straightforward.
Here we come to the second stage: the overview map of Metavira. You can choose to hire guards, tappers, increase their salary, and most importantly, decide who in your team will go to work that day. Before going to work though, you can assign your team members different tasks to do, such as doing repair work at home for the rest of the day, or being a doctor, or being a patient, or training specific skills, or simply resting (to cut costs, if you're low on money)
And now, on to the third stage: the exploration part. Once you have chosen where you want to situate your team on the island map, you're sent off to start work that day. Here's where you start making two types of strategic decisions: where to attack, and of course, the meat of combat itself.
The objective is simple here: capture as many sectors as you can by killing more bad guys. Where you attack that day is very important. Jagged Alliance is a very dynamic game, so shit can happen at any point in time. For example, if you capture a sector which is surrounded by heated sectors that Santino controls, there's a high chance your sector will be re-captured when you turn your back. This means you're forced to plan wisely. Do you attack the part of the island that's easier to guard, but has fewer fallow trees, or do you attack the fallow-rich sector which is prone to frequent attacks? And if your previously owned sectors get attacked and taken over by Santino's man, do you want to go back to reclaim them or move on to the next sector that's easier to capture? These sorts of decision making are very fun, though frustrating, especially after you've spent the last 1 hour (of real time, not game time) trying to capture it
The combat itself is truly something you won't forget. It's a love-hate experience. I don't mean it in the sense that you either love it or hate it; instead, you will love it, and then you will hate it. It's a cycle. Yes, the combat is really very tough. Yes, you will quick load a lot if you hate losing mercs, like me. But when you successfully outmaneuvre the enemy with a very clever tactic, it will really make your day. Try being out numbered by 5 mercs, then blowing up the bridge and watching one of them get eaten alive by the Metaviran reptiles - that's how awesome the game can be
Combat, as you'd expect from a turn-based game, is...well, turn based. You get a number of action points, and the game tries to be as realistic as possible. Using up all the AP in one turn will make your merc more tired, which in turn reduces the AP during the next few turns. Focusing your fire on one target will improve your shot on that particular area, thus reducing the AP requirement for your next shot. There are a lot of ways to plan your moves - you will seldom use the same tactics when late game, once you get your hands on more explosives and equipment
Speaking of explosives, there are many magic touches to Jagged Alliance that make the game such a pleasant surprise. Yes, almost everything is destructible - walls, doors, crates. You decide how you want to play it. Door blocking your way? Blow it up with 3 good shotgun blasts or a grenade. Want to play stealth? Attach a silencer to your weapon
Also note worthy is the item merging system. Yes you can modify and create items, like molotovs. There aren't a lot of combinations, but what combinations there are, they're exciting and you'd always look forward to creating a new molotov for your team to use
Remember when I said that the voice acting is top notch? Well, Sirtech takes it one step further and gives the mercs personality. You won't feel like you're playing a modern knock-off of some dungeon crawler, because your mercs have personality. I haven't explored all of them yet, but Fidel is one stubborn bastard ;)
The main problem that I see with Jagged Alliance is that it's too unforgiving. The reason why I classified the gameplay into 3 main stages above is because each stage affects the others. Shit happens in the story, and you'll find that if you hire too many expensive mercs, you'll bite off more than you can chew. Also, as I mentioned before, Jagged Alliance is a very intelligent game. If your mercs die and you don't pay for their funeral, others will leave. If you don't pay for one merc's salary, others may exploit this situation and try to ask for a pay raise. It's sooooo unforgiving that if you make just ONE fatal flaw in your decisions, you can probably kiss your game goodbye - you'll have to start all over again
The combat is also very difficult. Often, you will find yourself outflanked, and because your chance to hit is also affected by luck, there will be times when you think your hiding place is better than the enemy's, yet you can't hit them and they're scoring bullseyes on you. Or how about the fact that everytime you take one step, your merc gets owned by a grenade - it's quite possibly the most frustrating death to have, because enemies with grenades are so damn numerous, it's not funny. Like I said, it's love-hate. It can get to the point where you get so frustrated you just quit the game, but never to the point where you look at the game and say "ok I'm deleting this shit"
Overall, Jagged Alliance is something you should try if you like turn based games, or thinking games. I can't recommend it to people who only like first person shooters, especially since the game is NOT newbie friendly at all, but if you have the slightest interest in turn based games at all, you really should check this game out. Likewise, if you don't mind low-res graphics, and want something you can play for a long time, get JA. The voice acting will draw a smile on your face every now and then, and so will getting out of seemingly impossible situations (trust me, you'll run into these situations many many times). There are times when you bite your nails and pray for the best, and whoop with joy when luck is on your side (enemy hits his friend and kills him = lol).
4 stars out of 5. I recommend it :)
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Posted on 2009-01-09 11:26:21 byRafaelLopez:
I know masterpiece is a strong word but Jagged alliance deserves it. It's one of those games that never gets old, you can always go back and have hours of fun. To me, it's the best tactical combat simulation ever.
Much in the vein of X-COM: UFO defense, Jagged alliance is a blend of tactical combat, strategy, resource management, challenge tension and fun. While in X-COM you'llread more mainly manage your headquarters, research and production, Jagged alliance has none of that: instead you manage guerilla mercenaries, hired with your hard-earned money to help you blow your enemy's own mercs to pieces. This offers a unique twist I can't recall in any other game. You can't just hire all the best of the best like you would in Pro evolution soccer. These men and women you'll want to hire have their personalities and connections. First you'll need a lot of money, then you'll have to gain their trust, and then again deal with their likes and dislikes, the fact that some are damn murderers who'll kill each other at night and so on.
Once in the field, they'll be like five or six against a whole army or bastards hidden in the woods, grass, swamps, barracks, on bridges, behinds boxes, just waiting to shoot your team. Your equipment is scarce and the guns react badly to the environment, frequently jamming when you need them the most. As you conquer the island sector by sector (there's like 40 sectors if I recall well), the deeper you go, the riskier it gets, and the challenge brings some cool tension while playing it.
In fact the only thing I can imagine some people won't like in this game is the high challenge. Personally I totally love it, so I love this game.
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Posted on 2008-11-04 20:19:06 bykenholst:
There have been many games along the same lines as Jagged Alliance, but I have yet to find one that can match the personality that just drips from this game. The various MERCS, all of them with full voice acting, are just hilarious and add so much to the already strong tactical gameplay.
You will have expensive mercs, cheap mercs, insane mercs, mercs who develop relationships withread more each other, and some mercs who simply cannot stand to be around each other - and they will let you know it! I would all but guarantee that you will laugh quite a bit while playing this game and controlling your little squad of mercs and push their skills to the max.
Aside from the mercs themselves, you have a pretty basic but decent story revolving around Metavira and some pretty magical sap. Nothing earthshattering, but it gets the job done and gives you something to think about while you are stabbing and shooting people >:)
Expect to get down and dirty in this game with a huge arsenal of weapons as you progress through the island and get into innumerable gunfights. I would rate this a 4, only because Jagged Alliance 2 has much much better graphics (and would get a 5 star from me, were it listed here). Buy it, play it, and cross your fingers that GOG picks up JA2.
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