First Impressions: Nexagon: The Pit

We take an early look at Strategy First's unique strategy game.

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Strategy First dropped by the GameSpot offices to show off its 2001 lineup of games, one of which is Nexagon: The Pit. The game essentially puts you in a single-player or multiplayer gladiator arena, and your only objectives are to destroy the other player's base, to entertain the crowd, and to boost the ratings of the massive media networks sponsoring the battles. But getting into an opponent's base isn't going to be easy because they can be constructed differently for each match. Before the start of each match, you're presented with what looks like basic level editor, which is actually used to construct your base as it appears in the arena. On the left side of the screen, there's a two-dimensional grid illustrating where various objects are placed. The rest of the screen is taken up by a fully 3D representation of your base, which is helpful for getting an overall feel for how it will look on the battlefield. You have a number of different items at your disposal while constructing the base, such as traps and ballistic devices. You can also add trees, which can give you additional resources and make your base look a little more aesthetically pleasing to fans watching the match.

Once you're done constructing the base, you can move on to unit selection and placement. There are three different types of units available initially for each of the four races. The three shown to us were the drone, the golem, and the mole, all of which have different abilities that become more useful depending on the type of strategy you decide to use. Drones are the basic all-purpose unit, while the golems and moles serve a more specialized role for close encounters and operating equipment, respectively. All these units move around in real time once the battle starts, so you have to be quick in moving your units to key areas on the battleground.

Your performance in battle determines the amount of experience your units receive. If you're successful, individual units start to gain more experience in specific skills and they physically change to represent the skill they've become proficient at. For example, some units will carry bigger guns if they become familiar with long-range weapon skills. But the main function of experience is to move up in rank to different difficulty levels in the Nexagon universe, as you can't advance through the game unless you continually gain experience.

Nexagon: The Pit is due out this September.

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