ECTS: Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy

We went toe-to-toe with Klendathu's giant bugs in Hasbro Interactive's forthcoming 3D tactical combat game based on the sci-fi movie and novel. Details plus new screens inside.

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Having quickly achieved a cult status as one of the goriest - and perhaps greatest - sci-fi movies of the '90s, Starship Troopers helped revitalize interest in the '50s Robert Heinlein novel that the film was based on. The film itself was markedly different from the novel, thanks largely to the distinctive style of director Paul Verhoeven, whose sci-fi movie Robocop had a similar impact around a decade earlier. And while the discrepancies between the film and the novel disappointed some fans of the novel, it's these fans that might be especially interested in Starship Troopers: Terran Ascendancy, a 3D tactical combat game that's influenced both by the movie and the novel. The game is being developed by Blue Tongue, Inc. and was shown in near-finished form at ECTS, preceding the game's October release date.

Starship Troopers is playable from an isometric perspective similar to that of other tactical combat games such as Bungie's hit Myth: The Fallen Lords and Sierra's recent Ground Control. You'll command a platoon of mobile infantry in a series of encounters that span across 20 different areas. Although the movie portrayed only a handful of types of alien monsters - most notably the vicious Klendathu arachnid - the game will feature over a dozen different varieties of things to kill.

In addition, aside from commanding your standard mobile infantry, you'll also have access to more specialized Terran forces, including stealth infiltrators, combat engineers, and psychics. But most notably, you'll have access to the powerful, walking mobile combat suits, which were prevalent in the novel but weren't in the movie.

However, the game does have a visual style that's similar to the movie's. When arachnids are killed, they stumble about in death throes while spewing their green ichor; and your mobile infantry's machine guns seem to pack a powerful punch. The game features some truly gigantic alien monsters for you to fight, and the 3D environments look authentic. Also, the game's interface seems to be accessible and attractive, and it lets you toggle between different types of combat behavior for your forces. While it's unclear as yet how complex the game's tactics will be - we had pretty good luck just throwing our infantry headlong at the enemy threat, as in the movie - the game seems like it will be satisfying for fans of the source material.

Starship Troopers is almost complete, and should be available in October. Until then, have a look at these new screenshots showing off the terrain and some giant insects.

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