Xenocracy (c) Grolier Interactive

By: Tigzzz

Addons: none

Xenocracy is a space combat simulator along the lines of Wing Commander Prophecy. The concept for Xenocracy sounded pretty good and got me interested, but it doesn't match up to many of the games currently found in this genre.

There are 3 ways to play Xenocracy. You can set it to arcade mode and just go right into the space combat part with over 70 missions; to complete this part of the game is worth many hours of play (and happens to be the best part of the game). In simulation mode you control resources and choose which missions you want to complete to advance. I was very disappointed with this part of the game, there just aren't enough options to make this interesting. It almost seemed like a last minute addition to try to appeal to a wider variety of gamer. With network mode you can play against your favorite friend/enemy. Unfortunately at the time of the review I was unable to track anybody down to test out that portion of the game.

The graphics of this game are only slightly above average. I was unable to use the native 3dfx mode as it would lock up my system when I tried, but was able to use the secondary mode and it seemed snappy. I was impressed with the variety of locations available in the missions. Each mission takes place in a different graphical environment. The ships are nicely detailed and explosions look nice.

The sound in the main menu was great, and the music really set the atmospheric tone. Unfortunately during the combat sequences there is no audio at all. Maybe a fix will be released for this problem, but until then you will have to suffer with no sound at all when in combat.

The game was fairly easy to learn, even with all of the configuration options. If you have played a space combat game and a resource management game you will not have any difficulty picking up this one. I was completely unable to control the ship with a mouse, so you're going to need a joystick for this one!

This game has so much potential, in fact if it had come out 8 months ago I might have given it a 90+. There are just too many average or done-before things in this game. If you like space combat and/or you're dying to play a space resource management game, then get this one -- otherwise don't bother.

The Good: good frame rate even in a secondary mode, gameplay is very configurable

The Bad: no sound during combat, it's all been done before, it's a hard drive hog

Graphics: 17 / 20
Sound: 5 / 15
Gameplay: 20 / 25
Fun Factor: 15 / 20
Multiplayer Play: 0 / 5
Packaging: 3 / 5
Overall Impression: 7 / 10

Overall Rating: 67 / 100