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Jagged Alliance

aka: Jagged Alliance: Kampf um Metavira
Moby ID: 1038
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

The land of Metavira needs your help! Contract additional mercenaries as you explore, capture, and hold new territories so the natives can harvest the valuable trees from which a revolutionary medicine can be extracted. The more trees you hold, the more money you make. The more money you have, the more you can do, such as hire native guards, hire more mercs, in order to take the offense and clear the sector of enemies. You will also need to retrieve certain objects from behind enemy lines, rescue captured personnel, capture equipment, and more. Hire a good mechanic in order to get your equipment and guns repaired, and to "enhance" them with various add-ons. Travel through lush jungles, treacherous rivers (with venomous snakes!), and more as you seek to free Metavira. Eventually, you'll meet up with the bad guys' leader in his compound for the final showdown...

Jagged Alliance is a turn-based tactical combat game with a mixture of strategy, reminiscent of X-Com games. On the "strategic view", you get to see the various sectors of Metavira. You start with just one sector, with a few trees for your income. You need to hold more sectors in order to increase the number of trees you hold, which will increase your income. You can hire or fire mercs.

Each merc can move, shoot or perform any of the other actions as long as they still have action points. Each of the mercenaries have their own personality. Some work well with others, others don't. You'll need shooters (both long and short guns), explosive experts (to set or disarm bombs/traps), mechanics/gunsmiths (to fix and modify your equipment), and doctors/nurses (to heal wounded mercs). Each merc has a different price, so you'll need to balance what you can afford vs. what you need. You will have to manage the equipment as well.

If you move into an enemy-held sector, the game moves to combat mode, where you get an overhead slightly-isometric turn-based tactical combat that's based on "action points", which limits the number of actions each merc can perform. You can do this, or that, but not both. The action continues until the sector is no longer contested (either one side got wiped out, or retreated to another sector, or both).

After the sector is clear, you can call in native guards to "hold" the sector (you need to pay for them as well) as well as hire more natives to process the "new" trees. You will also need to get the mercs to the homebase if any one was wounded, and let the doctor/nurse treat them. Idle mercs at the base can train to improve their ratings. Some scripted events and some random events will keep you busy such as poisoned water, a virus that attacks the trees, the kidnapped daughter of a chief, and others.

So to summarize, you need to manage the mercs (and their salary), their equipment (who gets what), arrange for backup (mercs at base) and medical treatment (doctor/nurse) while taking into account their personalities and strengths. You also need to manage the strategic aspects as you need to "conquer" each sector and then send enough guards to hold the sector after you retrieve the mercs. You manage the money as you need to balance the expenditures (mercs, equipment, guards, natives, etc.) against the income (the trees). You also get to manage the tactical aspects of the battle as you decide each move and shot. A full complement of mercenary supplies (from revolvers to M-16s, plus bombs, grenades, mines, flak jackets, helmets, and more) are available.


  • 铁血联盟 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

120 People (84 developers, 36 thanks) · View all

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Average score: 77% (based on 16 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 58 ratings with 5 reviews)

The most unjustly underappreciated game of all time.

The Good
I liked everything about this game. There's nothing about it that I don't like. I never understood why this game failed to generate the same popularity and fan devotion as the X-Com series, a game series which features the same style of play (turn-based squad-level combat) but has far less personality than Jagged Alliance.

Now, don't get me wrong. I liked the X-Com games immensely. But Jagged Alliance has everything X-Com has, PLUS it has oodles of attitude and personality. In X-Com, your little soldiers were interchangeable, with randomly generated stats, randomly generated names, randomly generated appearances, and ZERO personality.

In Jagged Alliance, your soldiers are not members of the interchangeable brigade. Your soldiers have personality. They have attitude. Some of them even have style. Some mercs have past grudges against other mercs and won't work with you if you have the other merc on your team. Some will form a brand new grudge against another merc after a day or two working together. Sometimes, the person with the grudge is also a little...unhinged, and the merc he dislikes will simply disappear in the night...

And what a selection of mercs!

  • Tex, the Japanese cowboy-wannabe who peppers his speech with "pardner" and "cowpie" -- all with a thick Japanese accent.
  • Fidel, the fanatical explosives expert who's great with bombs, but who doesn't like to switch targets until the first one is dead.
  • Ivan, a former officer for the USSR's Red Army, now pursuing capitalism with vigor. (Ivan turns out to be the best bargain in the game, because he's cheap, and he kicks serious butt. Doesn't speak a lick of English, though, so you have to learn what his Russian phrases mean...)
  • Hurl, the hypochondriac merc who's good with bandages just because he tends to use them on himself -- whether he needs them or not.
  • Sparky, the valley girl merc who comes from a family of guns for hire (her brothers Gary and Larry are also in the game, and her father Leon shows up in one of the sequels).
  • Vinny, the mechanic with the mafia past.

...and many more! All told, there are almost 50 mercs available for hire throughout the game. Some are cheap and inexperienced, but gain experience and skill during the course of the game. Others are experienced, and therefore expensive, and you won't be hiring them until the late stages of the game when you can afford their fees. And each one has a distinctive, memorable personality that will stick in your head long after you finish the game. (I still remember Fidel's confident analysis of "It have bomb BUT it no problem!", or Skitz's psychopathic "I'm all out of bullets...and I'm gettin' really paranoid..." whenever he would run out of ammo.)

Coupled with this wonderful personality is a game engine that any X-Com devotee would be familiar with. You guide your squad of mercs through the jungle in turn-based combat. The ability of your mercs to perform actions is based on their Time Units, and each action takes a certain number of units. You can run your mercs across a field, burning up all their units, or you can have them save some in reserve for opportunity fire.

Overlaying all of the action is an ongoing storyline regarding the island your mercs are trying to recover from the bad guys. Sometimes you find secret notes leading to a hidden cache of weapons if you take a certain sector on a certain day. Sometimes you have to do sneaky, single-merc missions into a factory where the enemy has to be neutralized silently lest someone blow the factory up, setting your progress back a few days.

All in all, Jagged Alliance is a great, great game. It's a shame that it's never gotten the recognition it deserves.

The Bad
Nothing. There wasn't a thing about the game I disliked.

The Bottom Line
A fabulous, funny turn-based squad-level combat game, like X-Com, but with tons more personality.

DOS · by Afterburner (486) · 2001

I didn't like it as much as most people...

The Good
I like the tactical combat of this game. The sector management and conquest isn't very sophisticated, but it does make the game a lot more interesting than a linear tactical RPG where you can't pick your battles and territories.

I think the most exciting part is choosing and managing your mercs. They're all very well-defined both in stats and personality. They often make remarks that breathe so much life into each mission.

The Bad
The game lacks the character-building/leveling elements of most RPG games. To me, the appeal of most RPG games comes from taking weak characters and making them strong. This is just a personal preference and my review is very personal. Don't expect to do this in this game. The characters progress way too slowly to make them worthwhile in a long run.

You can't expect to hire a bunch of weak level 1 mercs and level them up to a point where they surpass the more expensive mercs that you can hire later on in the game. Their skills develop far too slowly, whether in the field or with dedicated time spent for training. If you end up getting a pathetic character to a high level, he/she will still be pretty pathetic and won't even be close to the other high level characters you can hire to replace them. The characters are meant to be disposable. You're going to want them to be killed off or fired in the late game to replace them with better mercs.

This need to replace characters is the one thing that really turns me off about this game. I want to have a band of mercs that I want to build up myself. It's been forever since I beat the game, but the only unit I remember keeping from beginning to end was Ivan, who was supernaturally good for a level 2 character anyway.

Aside from this, the tactical combat suffers because of extremely poor firing accuracy. The battles are unnecessarily long and tedious and very random because of how easy it is to miss. Even with a merc with 90+ firing accuracy, it's a pretty special feeling just to get in a hit from medium range because the overall firing accuracy is so horrible. Terrain and cover doesn't do much for the game either because when you're behind cover, you just seem to have as much chance of your shot not going through the tree or whatever you're behind as the enemy does of hitting the tree instead of you, so your own cover ends up getting in your way. The kneel feature could have been really useful but it wasn't put to use the way it should have been.

The maps are also far too big. If you think X-Com is annoying when you are down to one hidden unit on a map that takes 30 turns to find, just wait till you see Jagged Alliance. I've spent an entire day (in game time, not real time - maybe 20-30 minutes of actual time in reality) searching for a single unit. They move around like crazy and with your small party it can be a nightmare to spot the last enemy. Mobilizing your force across the map in turn-based time is also a major management pain. It makes you want to sacrifice strategy and have the most agile guy just move ahead of everyone and dispatch the enemies just out of laziness.

The Bottom Line
This is a pretty fun game if you like tactical RPGs. I just don't agree with other people though who think it's as good or better than X-Com mainly because of the lack of character building (X-com not only has this but also combines a far more sophisticated management game) and the less sophisticated and far more tedious tactical combat.

DOS · by John Lucas (12) · 2005

Holiday Island? Not at all.

The Good
Boy, this game took away almost a month of my life. I was back in school then and hardly finished lunch, before "Metavira" dragged me back to the PC. Jagged Alliance got seriously addicting.
The game's idea to integrate strategy, action and a decent bit of role playing made for a great concept. I loved to hire soldiers of fortune on the one hand, while placing workers to harvest the island's natural resources on the other. The game was relatively complex, while still easy to get a grip on.

The Bad
The graphics weren't much of an attraction, even back in 1994. The top-down perspective made for a good overview of the sector your hired guns were in, but it would hurt your eyes after a while.

The Bottom Line
Jagged Alliance is a great strategy-action-roleplaying-game. No wonder it became a series. The game is one of my all-time classics, still lying in my bookshelf, ready for replay.

DOS · by Isdaron (715) · 2001

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Since when is this game so difficult? Daniel Saner (3503) Aug 30, 2023


German version

For the German version, the Association of International Mercenaries A.I.M. was renamed to I.V.S., short for "Internationale Vereinigung der Söldner". The game's sequels, however, stuck with the A.I.M. notation.

Speech pack

According to a sale offer placed in the manual, Sir-tech planned to release a speech pack as a floppy version add-on back in 1994, although the official website doesn't contain such a product.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #114 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #52 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1996 – Best Game in 1995


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Related Games

Jagged Alliance 2
Released 1999 on Windows, Linux, 2013 on Macintosh
Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire
Released 2004 on Windows, 2015 on Macintosh, 2016 on Linux
Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business
Released 2000 on Windows, 2013 on Macintosh
Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire
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Jagged Alliance World
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Jagged Alliance Compilation
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Jagged Alliance 2: Gold Pack
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Jagged Alliance: Back in Action
Released 2012 on Windows, Linux, 2014 on Macintosh
Jagged Alliance: Snova v dele
Released 2012 on Windows

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  • MobyGames ID: 1038
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tony Van.

Windows added by Picard. Macintosh, Linux added by Plok. Nintendo DSi added by HelloMrKearns. Nintendo DS added by Alaka.

Additional contributors: Kasey Chang, Unicorn Lynx, phlux, Daniel Saner, Patrick Bregger, Karsa Orlong.

Game added March 12, 2000. Last modified January 29, 2024.