Written by  :  Stave (7)
Written on  :  Nov 22, 2004
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars
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Who knew that pillaging a planet's natural resources could be so much fun?

The Good

One of the most interesting aspects of this game was the need to balance the harvesting of ore with the production of military units. A chunk of ore, once picked up, could be taken back to your base or turned into a tank or another harvester, but once the decision was made, it was irreversible. When the game ended, the ore you'd returned to your base was worth a lot more points, but all that didn't matter much if your opponent produced a bunch of tanks and captured your base for himself. Finding and maintaining that balance was critical.

Combat was unlike any other strategy game I've ever played, either. To capture or destroy another unit, the target unit had to be within the firing field of at least two attackers. Use of terrain was important- mountains increased the firing range of tanks, while getting caught in a flooded swamp or reef rendered it useless (and unable to resist capture!)

Movement was unique as well- each turn, a player had a number of movement points based on the number of units he controlled. A player was left with the decision of how to divide these points between his units. Was it better to move a few units halfway across the map, or to move several of your units only a few hexes away? While it wasn't particularly realistic ("Sorry Sarge, but Alpha squad used up all our MPs! We can't go over the mountain until tomorrow") and might not appeal to some, it added an interesting element to gameplay

Finally, the ability to customize your team's insignia was a neat touch.

The Bad

The game seriously suffered from a lack of variety. There was only one map, initial setup options were limited, the ore was always in the same place, and the tides weren't even random. Random map options or an editor would have seriously increased the replay value.

The AI, while not a complete pushover, was not much of a challenge for a serious player

The graphics weren't bad, but they were rather dull and limited- brown land, blue water, and gray units.

The Bottom Line

FMP was nothing if not unique. To this day I haven't seen anything like it, which is too bad. Where it really shone was in multiplayer- hotseat was the only option (IIRC- I could be wrong about that), but it was a ton of fun. My friends and I pulled all-nighters with this game on multiple occasions, and it's worth noting that I completely pwn3d them almost every time. The fact that they kept coming back for more, even though it was the same map every time, says a lot about the game's appeal.