Kiss you life goodbye. You're with X-COM now.
X-COM UFO Defense is one of those few classic games that truly changed gaming forever. It's right up there with DOOM and Civilization as one of the greatest games of the nineties.
It presents enormous value for money, since it will keep you glued to the screen for many months on end. Pick this one up and kiss your social life goodbye.
X-COM is as complicated as you want it to be : if you want to study base defenses and statistics, fine. If you want to blow the crap of aliens, you can do that too. Either way, you're in for a whole lot of fun 'cause this is a BIG game. As in, it could conceivable take you many months to finish, depending on how much hours a day you play it.
X-COM was released seven years ago, when practically all games used VGA mode 13h, which was limited to a 320*200 resolution, in 256 colors. Mythos Games handled these limitations with style - the color scheme covers everything from bright reds and yellows to the dark, murky browns and greens. In the Battlescape, lights fade out across a certain distance, without any color artifacts (aka banding) like in other games.
The isometric tiles and character sprites are another example of how the limited technology was exploited to its fullest. And the artwork looks genuinely cool and coherent.
The MIDI music is brilliant, both in the Geoscape and during combat.
The number of actual sound samples is few (we're talking 1994 after all, when many people had no sound cards, or cards that weren't compatible with many games). The effects fit the mood perfectly though; who will ever forget the first time they heard the clicking footsteps of a Chryssalid during a terror mission, or the hovering sound of the man-sized UFOs as they closed in on your squad ?
The Bottom Line
Load up your old 486, play this game till the sun comes up and you will know: this is truly one of the greatest games of all time.