Homeworld: Cataclysm

aka: Homeworld: Emergence
Moby ID: 2321
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Description official descriptions

Homeworld: Cataclysm is a stand-alone expansion for the Real-Time Strategy Homeworld.

It includes a new race called "The Beast", an alien sort of biomechanical parasite that "converts" any other units that come in close proximity to such "infected" Beast units.

There are also new units available, such as the Mimic, a fighter that nearly perfectly imitates other units and objects (even such as asteroids); a Ramming Frigate, which rams itself into hostile ships, and many more new units also.

Home-base management has become more complex: If one wants to research new ship classes, one must build a Research Laboratory to do this. If one wants to research a new weapon technology, one must construct yet another Lab. If the player wants to expand his fleet, he must build rooms for his pilots, to support them. All of these add-ons are attached to the "Mothership" (which in this game is actually a large Mining vessel). The Missions' design and scenarios are also new and quite different from as in Homeworld. The controlling user-interface is also improved.

Multiplayer games are available via local network (or virtual LAN), as general Internet games were hosted on the now-defunct WON.net network.

Spellings

  • 家园:惊世浩劫 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

160 People (111 developers, 49 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 30 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 35 ratings with 4 reviews)

Umm... well...

The Good
Cataclysm is both an improvement and a degradation of Homeworld. The goods:

The control system. Barking Dog Studios obviously took a lesson from the feedback Relic got about Homeworld, and were quick to add lots of nifty features. They added a waypoint system (one of the most-praised aspects of the game, although I don't use it much), moved special functionality to the right mouse button (in Homeworld you have to double-click, do it too slow and you end up selecting the target ship), made the game far more compatible with multiple commands (one thing I HATED about Homeworld was giving dock orders to repair corvettes, since double-clicking on the Mothership was always interpreted as a repair command), and made it possible to view the movement orders of strike craft. The mission timer is a wonderful tool, and the in-game message system is neat as well. In Cataclysm, unlike in Homeworld, you can easily customize your screen while in-game, and you can "filter" stuff on the sensors manager.

Anything else? The graphics are a slight improvement over the original Homeworld, and the cinematic sequences are a novel feature that I have not seen in the original game (the closest thing to them in Homeworld is the Mothership launch sequence). Some of the background music is great, although the same could be said for the original.

Some of the ship ideas were interesting, notably the Mimic and Linking technology. The mutability of the Somtaaw Command Ship and the self-allocating abilities of the Beast are equally novel.

The Bad
The bads:

The plot. Some people are planning to make a "Rebel Alliance vs. the Borg" mod. Enough said. I would have preferred a continuation of the original story over a digressing plot involving an assimilationist creature. The entire idea, as well as some details (the Beast "mutates" ships instead of "upgrading" them) smack of unoriginality.

The balance. Unlike Homeworld, which emphasized strategy and ship combination, Cataclysm seems focused on super-ships. The multi-beam frigate is a notable example (it can beat most ships as large as itself or smaller) of ship interactions receiving less priority than new ideas. Likewise, the final mission is entirely based on destroying two super ships, and you beat it by using a super-ship of your own (I can't say more). Compare this to Homeworld, where the final mission was a showdown between two large and diverse fleets (although, to be honest, your fleet by then is so huge that only the first wave is any trouble). In addition, the game's technological advances eventually render some ships useless. Once your enemy implements advanced sensor technology, for instance, all your Leeches and Mimics go overboard. Homeworld also had advanced sensors, but they were either limited in range or limited in sensitivity.

Another complaint is that the game, especially in single-player, is heavily geared towards micromanagement, so there are problems when going from single to multiplayer. The Mimic, although it is a very neat ship and presents some different angles from Homeworld's traditional cloaking, usually requires a menu for its special ability. Imagine the problem in carefully selecting a ship to imitate just when you need to orchestrate an attack on multiple fronts!

The Bottom Line
A nice game, whose features force you to play differently from the original. Also, as I said above, Cataclysm has a decidedly superior user interface to Homeworld. However, I personally find that the original game provides a better experience in terms of gameplay, and I hope Homeworld 2, when it comes out, will incorporate the best of both games.

Windows · by somebody (6) · 2001

Great sequel to a classic game.

The Good
It isn’t an add-on pack, but a completely new title. The gameplay was the best feature from the first Homeworld, and Cataclysm adds to that with some great new features and improving on others from the original. Much effort has been put into the presentation, with a nicely put together manual, great visuals, and a captivating story.

The Bad
You really need to be a pro of the original to get the best out of this. Still, it’s easier then the original in some ways, but beginners will struggle (with the story as well as the gameplay, if you are yet to play the first game)

The Bottom Line
A great follow-up to Homeworld. This is the type of game that deserves a movie or TV series. The story is an event in itself.

Windows · by Kartanym (12419) · 2001

Great game with some annoying, niggly quirks.

The Good
There is a lot to like in Homeworld: Cataclysm. The graphics are better, the interface is cooler, the units are more interesting, and the music is slightly better.

There are many cool things about your the race you control this time--namely the fact that some of the ships are generally more tactically useful and just plain cooler than the last. The mimic ships are great--build a bunch in single player, mimic then, then have them suicide themselves into the enemy fleet, and the computer doesn't know WTF just happened.

The graphics are slightly more detailed, and the interface, while I think was streamlined in the sense that it was supposed to appeal to more people, is generally more functional and easier to work with. Essential information is now available on screen or off (not necessarily a taskbar), and the elements you see are more customizable.

The story line, if a little cookie-cutter, is good. Player battles an enemy that assimilates you--interesting, and requires a distinctively different tactical style.

Waypoints are a good feature, but I find them a little overhyped--I don't use them much. Time compression, on the other hand, is incredibly handy. As with the ability to give orders while paused (and have them carried out, unlike the original).

Another good feature is that the asteroids seem to last longer now (either that or the workers gather RUs more slowly).

I like the idea of workers, as well. These ships are basically the Harvester, Repair Corvette, and Salvage Corvette wrapped into one. Tactically, they are nicer because when functioning as repair or salvage corvette, they are considerably stronger. Unfortunately, this bonus is offset by the fact that they cost considerably more to build than a repair or salvage corvette, but about 100 less than a harvester.

The Bad
However, Catalclysm has it share of annoyances, many which I find almost distracting, and other are just plain disappointing.

-There is no guard command! This command was incredibly useful in Homeworld, and now it is gone.

-Similarly, the functionality of the Special Abilities command ("Z") has now been changed significantly. Most notable is the Processor, the Cataclysm equivalent of a Resource Controller. In Homeworld, bandbox (select) all my harvesters with the Z command, and the Controller would follow the Harvesters around, staying nearby even if the harvesters had to move to a different asteroid field. Now you can't do that. You have to place the Processor in the middle of the field manually, then move it to wherever the Workers are every time they move to a different field. Grrrrr.

-The interface. Functionally, it works slightly better than Homeworld's. However, it makes sacrifices in style. The coolness factor is targeted in a completely different area this time, and as a result, the game has a completely different feel to it.

-Speaking of interfaces, the checkboxes in the game are harder to tell whether they're on or off, especially in the systems menu, where there are two disabled boxes and a checkbox that defaults in off. This is because both on and off checkboxes look kind of like this: (X) , with the X being red when off, and green when on.

-When paused, you still cant work with the research, build, or systems menu. That would have been a nice feature to help offset some of the other quirks.

-The build limit flat out sucks, especially during the early single player missions. It gets better when you can add more people to it later on, but I found it impeding on my performance during some of the earlier campaigns. Divide the number in 2 to get how many different fighters you can have. Corvettes take up two. Workers take a few more. Frigates take like five. The nice thing about it is that it prevents tank rushing, and forces a more tactical approach--something good for those who don't like tank rushing, or building a large fleet quickly--unlike me.

-The change in salvaging is akin to the change in Engineers between Command & Conquer and Command & Conquer: Red Alert: Ships have to be >50% health to be captured. Worse, it's compounded by the fact that your salvage corvettes are also repair corvettes AND your harvesters. Oh, and they cost 500 a piece.

-It might be my computer, but with a Athlon 1900+, Radeon 7000, and onboard sound, all the sounds and music sounded like they were being played back as 48kbit MP3s--they're muddy, especially in the higher frequencies. It's annoying, especially for audiophiles. This never occurred in Homeworld.

-The AI isn't as alert. I took out a carrier with a Ramming Frigate, accompanied by two workers in repair mode, and it was surrounded by missile corvettes at a medium to long range. The carrier died, then the corvettes attacked me.

-Cataclysm just seems to be harder.

The Bottom Line
In any case, I would say to get. Just prepare for a radical new paradigm shift in the way the game is played--in essence, it's a whole new ballgame. With the bargain bin price for the game nowadays, it's an excellent investment of $20.

Windows · by luciphercolors (67) · 2002

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

Server shutdown

The official Sierra game servers were shut down on 1st November 2008.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by DaHero.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Patrick Bregger, Cavalary.

Game added September 16, 2000. Last modified January 18, 2024.