Why X-COM Is the Greatest Game Ever

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Why X-COM Is the Greatest Game Ever

It's been the greatest game ever for 17 years now. Can it be improved?

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Amen. Even despite massive bugs (like the difficulty always defaulting back to the easiest setting) and a merciless difficulty curve (even despite said difficulty-affecting bug you could EASILY get wiped out when the aliens bring Blaster Bombs and psychic powers to the field) it's still an unsurpassed achievement in game design. Ahead of its time when it was released, and arguably ahead of its time even today.

I am in agreement with the Butts.

X-Com really is the best game ever made. Plucked it off the shelf way back in what, 1996? as a bright eye'd 15 year old. Its got it all, I love it, I got back and play through it again periodically.

It lost its mojo in Terror from the Deep, and I couldn't ever figure out what the heck I was suppposed to do in apocalypse.

Its this magic that made us so upset that X-com had been reformatted into a 1950s gay rights FPS. Sure, there could be a fun game there, but it ain't this X-Com. I'm very pleased to see the updated graphics and base design-- now, lets just hope they don't skimp horribly on the most pleasing aspects of the original.

Edit:

In the situation shown in the attached picture:
Do you: A: autofire the alien in front of you
B: autofire the alien further away (hoping to clip the one in front)
C: prime and drop a grenade
D: RUN LIKE THE WIND

I have attempted to play and beat these games multiple times over the years. They're so hard, I never have been able to do it, especially since I have a horrible time letting characters die. I still go back every few years to try again, and love it just as much as the first time I played. I found the first two X-Com games more terrifying and stress inducing than any survival horror game.

I have attempted to play and beat these games multiple times over the years. They're so hard, I never have been able to do it, especially since I have a horrible time letting characters die. I still go back every few years to try again, and love it just as much as the first time I played. I found the first two X-Com games more terrifying and stress inducing than any survival horror game.

MY GOD...

Have to Agree... i hold X-Com as my favorite game of all time (Maby not entirely true) and one of the game which made me a TRUE gamer. Before that it was quick fun and arcade destruction. MAYBE Gameboy RPG's. But this...

The atmosphere was AMAZING. Music, Soundeffects, graphics. Tension when it's the Enemies turn. I REALLY prefer turnbased gameplay. It never was the same...

Well, Nostalgia away (I have still a few versions of this.... You can get on on Steam cheaply by the way)

I bought the game on one of those online sales and was immediately intimidated by the interface. If the game is ever remade with a tutorial, I will definitely give it another try.

X-com made me a gamer. Hand's down. It's delivered an experience that I hold every RTS game up against. None have been able to deliver as of yet.

Fantastic game from my youth, back in the day when we had PAPER manuals. There was a little company called Microprose who made manuals into an art form (and their games ruled the roost). MOO, MOM, Pirates, Railroad Tycoon, F-15 Strike Eagle, Darklands and on and on and on.

Them and SSI. Fan-tabi-dozy!

I bought this game on Steam about two years ago at the recommendation of a friend, but was always too intimidated by it. Looks like I'll have to make the investment.

I JUST got free of Skyrim's spell yesterday, and now you drop this delicious strategy game in my lap. And I go back to school tomorrow! DAMMIT VIDEOGAMES! I wish I could quit you!

Kristian Fischer:
Fantastic game from my youth, back in the day when we had PAPER manuals. There was a little company called Microprose who made manuals into an art form (and their games ruled the roost). MOO, MOM, Pirates, Railroad Tycoon, F-15 Strike Eagle, Darklands and on and on and on.

Them and SSI. Fan-tabi-dozy!

Don't forget the golden goose that eventually led to it's death, Civ.

Jagged Alliance!!! YES! I never played XCOM but whenever I saw or heard of it I kept thinking of that shooter game I played that sounded very similar. It was Jagged Alliance!

I loved that game. It kicked my ass, but it was awesome. I also had fun with the level creator lol.

I tried to love X-COM, and there really were things I absolutely adored about it, but CHRIST the battles started to drag on after awhile, and most of them ended up becoming a half hour-long game of hide-and-seek.

Hell Steve Butts, way to hit my hot buttons, X-Com, Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, Pirates! Do you want me to stalk you? Because I will! X-Com was my first "Holy shit is that dawn?" game, I still have my original floppies somewhere.

thiosk:

In the situation shown in the attached picture:
Do you: A: autofire the alien in front of you
B: autofire the alien further away (hoping to clip the one in front)
C: prime and drop a grenade
D: RUN LIKE THE WIND

C: detonation time 0 turns, then try shooting the furthest Sectoid. That rookie is dead anyway without armor.

Ah! I played this game during the summer leading up to my first semester in college. That summer went down the drain to this game and I wouldn't have it any other way. I remember the thrill of the night battles in the cities with that small ufo looking tank. Scary stuff!

I have purchased and repurchased this game about.. hmmm... 4 times that I can remember off hand and then I got the second one twice. First the "normal" version on disc and then the CD version with the improved video. (Can't recall if the disc version had any video or not or stills only)

Another game I have happily purchased more than twice is the first Panzer General.... Good times.. good times.. :D

Wolfram01:
Jagged Alliance!!! YES! I never played XCOM but whenever I saw or heard of it I kept thinking of that shooter game I played that sounded very similar. It was Jagged Alliance!

I loved that game. It kicked my ass, but it was awesome. I also had fun with the level creator lol.

You, of course, know that JA 3 is in preorder on Steam?

No, no, no. I tried to get into this game when it was first released and it turned me off turn based strategy ever since. Hey, I am quite happy to go along with it being the best game for people who like this kind of thins, but best game ever, with the likes of Elite, etc in the running. The best game ever should not make half of gamers go yawn when you mention it's name....

thiosk:

In the situation shown in the attached picture:
Do you: A: autofire the alien in front of you
B: autofire the alien further away (hoping to clip the one in front)
C: prime and drop a grenade
D: RUN LIKE THE WIND

E: Mind-control the alien, launch the blaster bomb, make it do 3 passing circles before detonating on the floor below the alien, throwing him into a mangled heap of research bits.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Wolfram01:
Jagged Alliance!!! YES! I never played XCOM but whenever I saw or heard of it I kept thinking of that shooter game I played that sounded very similar. It was Jagged Alliance!

I loved that game. It kicked my ass, but it was awesome. I also had fun with the level creator lol.

You, of course, know that JA 3 is in preorder on Steam?

I did not! Like I said, I couldn't remember the game. I shall investigate promptly! Thank you, kind sir.

I try my best to make people play this. I remember sitting in the buddies basement around the glow of a shitty monitor on a 486 running win 3.1 with both of us yelling out ideas at each other and reloading when our "fav guy" died in a fight. I just never understand when people who call themselves "gamers" never have even heard of this gem

Steve Butts: the last sane man in an insane world.

TheElusiveHobo:
I bought this game on Steam about two years ago at the recommendation of a friend, but was always too intimidated by it. Looks like I'll have to make the investment.

If your looking to get into X-Com I reccomend checking the strategy guide out on this site.

http://www.xcomufo.com/

There's no shame in consulting FAQ's for the X-Com franchise. Also if you want an idea of how the gmae is played you can watch a couple lets play's. I highly reccomend Kikosikia's LP of X Com.

http://www.youtube.com/user/Kikoskia#g/c/D91BACF0E36EE427

He's not the best X-Com player but he is the most entertaining.

Even with all that the game is still pretty hard so your first few tries are still probably going to end in spectacular failure. Best advice I can give is to not get discouraged and abuse the hell out of the save game function.

It's no good i think i'm gonna have to install it again! x-com and frontier i'd say are the two best games ever made!

I was always more of a Syndicate fan myself, but X-Com was still a lot of fun. True, the difficulty curve could be brutal at times, but I'm honest enough with myself to admit that was probably down to my play style. Back then I used to try and play it like I played Syndicate, but X-Com was far more tactical than Bullfrog's offering. I tried to get back into the series with 'Terror from the Deep', but that was a mistake 'cause it was even harder than it's predecessor! Even though I couldn't get as far into the games as I would have liked, I did enjoy what I was able to play and look forward to seeing what Firaxis can do.

On a side note I see from another article that the FPS 're-imagining' of X-Com has been delayed, and I couldn't care less.

2010 it was Shadow of the Colossus, 2011 it was Deus Ex, this year it seems to be X-Com. Wonder what it'll be in 2013...

Ahh I remember my 10 year old mind working like that of a wh40k commissar.
Entry into Intact UFO was so fun.
"YOU! Expendable 40.000$, with weak stats compared to other troops, armed with a grenade; prime it (0), end turn, run inside.
They missed?! You threw the grenade?! Congratulations! Welcome to X-COM"

If they hit poor bastard the grenade might take some out and/or make some smoke.
;D

Hey Steve, have a go at Front Mission 3. Judging by what I've read here, I think you'll like it.

I can absolutely see where the writer is coming from here.

Personally, I think Civilization is the best video game ever made and it's not really close, but I get the X-Com love for sure.

octafish:
Hell Steve Butts, way to hit my hot buttons, X-Com, Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, Pirates! Do you want me to stalk you? Because I will! X-Com was my first "Holy shit is that dawn?" game, I still have my original floppies somewhere.

thiosk:

In the situation shown in the attached picture:
Do you: A: autofire the alien in front of you
B: autofire the alien further away (hoping to clip the one in front)
C: prime and drop a grenade
D: RUN LIKE THE WIND

C: detonation time 0 turns, then try shooting the furthest Sectoid. That rookie is dead anyway without armor.

A grenade would ruin the shiny pristine reactor behind the first alien. Why would he charge in there where his buddies can't support him at all, silly rookie.

Always open the door and check inside with your flashlight before you rush in.

SOP when an undamaged UFO is spotted:

1. Get yourself and your buddy to a defensible position overlooking the entrance.
2. Call for backup.
3. When the team has arrived one man opens the door, empties his clip inside and steps away.
4. During the inevitable counter attack the rest of the squad provides cover fire, and hopefully will be able to kill them.
5. In case of failure plasma-bomb the landing site from orbit, only way to be sure.

It was a damn hard game, I don't think I ever managed to do anything remotely useful at a difficulty level higher than normal. Terror from the Deep was even harder though, the horror of going in with a team of rookies and encountering lobster men. If one dude got away with a few alien trinkets that would be considered a complete success.

I love strategy games so this is obviously one of my favorite games. This game was just amazing on so many levels.
One thing that gets overlooked sometimes (I haven't read the article yet so you may talk about it) but the story was actually quite a cut above average for the time, especially when you consider it is a strat game, not exactly a genre rife with well written and nuanced stories.

I just re-bought X-Com on Steam, thanks to them for making it available on that platform. X-Com was the absolute best turn based strategy, resource management... I don't even know how to categorize the game. Before its time, revolutionary? ONE OF A KIND. Thats my view. I played all the other TBS games, and they were ok. But none of them had the hook of X-Com. From the first time I picked up an enemy on radar, to the invasion of the alien homeworld... I could not get enough of this game. I still can't. I think I might play it again tonight cuz I can't sleep...
X-Com, get it if you never played it. Do it now, and push yourself through the beginning. Its worth every moment.

Darth Sea Bass:
It's no good i think i'm gonna have to install it again! x-com and frontier i'd say are the two best games ever made!

Frontier? As in ELITE ??
<--- AVATAR OF AWESOMENESS

*ahem* Sorry .. someone mentions something vaguely to do with Elite and I squeal like a girl.

And btw ... I've seen a lot of mentions of X-Com recently .... and no one seems to be talking about the X-Com remake that was made in the Quake engine .... or is that against the rules?

I've been playing this game recently since the all the X-Com games went on a Steam sale about 1-2 weeks ago. It is really fun, challenging, and genuinely interesting despite its age. Also, I too have had those little "story experiences" with my teams, which actually gives me a surprising amount of emotional investment in characters that are otherwise indistinguishable.

For example, a soldier I got at the beginning of the game (some guy with a German name :o) ended up being my best non-officer veteran. He had the highest kill count of all of my other guys, and he was always the first one out of the transport ship. I took him on every mission pretty much, even if I rotated out others routinely to get experience and ranks for others. At one mission though that I think was in Outer Mongolia (China), he got shot the moment he walked out of the ship. He survived the shot, but was really badly wounded and I had no medi-kits or anything at this point in the game. I got freaked out because he was bleeding out fast and I didn't want my best guy to get killed. Thankfully, I managed to complete the mission before he died, so he managed to get back to base and stay in recovery for like 3 weeks. Now he's back in action, promoted to Captain while he was resting, and leading a new crop of recruits and veterans into the fray. And he still has the highest kill count. :3

For my soldiers, I recruit large numbers of spare soldiers, then throw the new recruits with a team of veterans and a few officers. The recruits end up leading my forces in while my veterans and sergeants slowly follow, with the leader (usually a captain) hanging in the back. It pretty much means that recruits have a terrible life expectancy, but if they manage to survive and even gets some kills, they get a suit of armor (having "proved their worth") and I try to take care of their lives more. The result is that my team is a mixed of fresh-faces recruits and alot of kick-ass survivors, most of whom seem to have Japanese or German names strangely enough. :o

It is taking me forever to finish it though. Really big UFO's like battleships are starting to land all over North America at the moment, and the battles are getting really intense. I am wondering how my game will turn out, and who of my team will end up surviving. Also I think i'm only like... 4 months in so far, and those wankers in India have betrayed me. Things are only going to get worse...

So umm... yeah. I'm loving this game. ^^

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