E3 2001 Hands-onNatural Resistance: Days of Fate

We get to see Jowood's impressive real-time strategy game in action.


Natural Resistance: Days of Fate

Jowood has a diverse lineup of games at this year's E3. Everything ranging from real-time strategy games, to RPGs and shooters could be found in their booth. One of the more impressive games is Natural Resistance, a real-time strategy game featuring a very complex graphics engine, realistic units, and fairly distinctive gameplay. The premise behind the game is that a deadly disease has stricken the Earth, causing people to go underground into bases. Unfortunately, something happens in one of the bases and the people who went underground are forced to go back to the surface where they find a world dominated by criminal factions.

The first thing you notice about Natural Resistance is how good it looks. The landscape is detailed with plenty of hills and other topographical features, and the textures are incredibly crisp, giving the environments a very smooth look. There are also plenty of secondary objects populating the landscape such as trees, graveyards, abandoned cars, decaying buildings, and even abandoned trains. Every single one of these objects, including the landscape, can be destroyed or manipulated in some fashion. In fact, destroying the surrounding environment actually becomes part of your strategy. Whenever a tank or similar unit hits the landscape with artillery, a crater is actually created, and surprisingly, these craters serve more than just an aesthetic purpose. Ground units have a difficult time getting through craters, and individual infantry can hide in craters to launch surprise attacks on unsuspecting enemy forces.

There isn't any resource management in Natural Resistance, so one way you can acquire new units is actually rather unique--you simply steal them. Most of the units in Natural Resistance need a soldier for them to operate properly. For example, with the helicopters you have to order a solider to go pilot the helicopter and as you do this, you can actually see the pilot get in the helicopter, start the engines, and lift off. One way to steal the helicopter would be to equip one of your infantry with a sniper rifle, and have him shoot the pilot before he can get in. As soon as he's dead, you can send in a small group of soldiers to steal the helicopter. The same goes for other units as well. Natural Resistance's graphics engine is so detailed that you can see drivers and pilots for just about every vehicle while they're actually inside, so you can decide if you want to kill the driver or pilot and steal the unit or just to destroy it entirely.

There are some other ways to get new units, one of which is to successfully accomplish missions. In one mission, you may have to go to a merchant that has some sort of electrical chips, but that merchant says that the only electrical chips he has left are located in a nearby town. You must escort the merchant safely to the town, and successfully defend the town if it comes under attack. Once the mission is done, you'll probably end up with new recruits from the town as well as a few new mobile units.

There are plans for a multiplayer mode that has a number of different features. There are going to be capture the flag, king of the hill, and free for all modes with support for up to eight players. Natural Resistance has a very impressive graphics engine, and the lack of resource management has actually created a gameplay system that's a combination of Commandos and Command & Conquer. Natural Resistance is due out this fall.

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