In memoriam, Donald Sutherland

X-COM: Apocalypse

aka: APOC
Moby ID: 349
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

Things have not gone well since the last Alien War. The world resources have been exhausted, and most of the population have been concentrated into the last hope: Mega-Primus, a self-sufficient city. Things were starting to look good until a strange portal opened in the sky, and UFOs emerged from it. It seems that the X-COM is needed again.

X-COM: Apocalypse is a sequel to X-COM: Terror from the Deep, and is the third entry in the X-COM series. It is a real-time / turn-based strategy game that features a mix of research, resource management, macro tactical combat, and micro tactical combat. At the city screen, the player controls vehicles to engage the threats (everything from rival factions to alien UFOs). If a UFO has landed or infiltration has been reported, the vehicles will land/dock at the infestation site and engage in tactical combat with the equipment at hand. Once the player managed to capture aliens and alien equipment, the scientists can research and perhaps even copy them for the player's use.

The player will also need to balance the budget as everything costs money, from agents to equipment. The various human factions must be kept happy, otherwise they might turn against the X-COM. The player must hire recruits, buy weapons, ammo, and equipment to outfit his squads in the vehicles (including weapons on the vehicles and their ammo). The management mode for tracking down UFOs is called the Cityscape; combat takes place in a separate environment, the Battlescape, where the player engages the individual aliens that managed to escape.

Differences from the previous games in the series include reworked graphics, larger maps, a more complex world, and the possibility of choosing between real-time or turn-based tactical combat. Also, instead of just engaging aliens, the player will also have to deal with multiple human factions, from a cult that worships alien invaders to gangs, from industrial giants to security forces.


  • 幽浮:啟示錄 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Average score: 83% (based on 20 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 87 ratings with 6 reviews)

Aliens + Weapons + Explosions = Fun

The Good
The best part for me was the actual combat. Being able to choose between realtime mode and turn based mode is a nice feature, although I have to admit I've only ever played in turn based. I tried realtime and it wasn't to my liking. Playing in turn based mode I was able to take my time and methodically comb through a building. The different aliens demanded different tactics to deal with them. When going after a multiworm, for example, I didn't fire at it, but instead positioned my agents around it, then ended my turn. When the aliens had their turn, my agents used their remaining time units to fire on the multiworm, hopefully not actually killing it outright. Then when it was my turn again I had full control of my agents to deal with the four hyperworms that popped out of the dead multiworm (this usually meant trying to kill them all with one explosive round from an auto-cannon). On the other hand, the only strategy you need to kill a Spitter is to shoot it a couple times, or in the case of a Psimorph, to hide. The combat really makes this game.

The research helps develop the story at a good pace, and also allows you to make better weapons (and use the aliens weapons against 'em). Better weapons helps you deal with the powerful aliens that show up the farther the game goes. Trust me, if you don't use these new weapons, you'll feel a bit silly trying to kill a Megaspawn with machine guns. One of the trickier things is trying to get a live specimen of every alien, so you can develop an effective toxic to use against them. Stunning most aliens is relativly easy, but trying to get a live Popper or Brainsucker is going to require alot of planning or alot of luck.

You can rename your agents. This makes the death of one of your agents a bit more substantial. I dunno about you, but when I see "(insert girlfriend's/wife's/familys pet's name here) has died." I get a desire to reload the game. Actually, I reloaded every time someone died. I'm just too caring.

There are three types of people you can hire as agents. You've got the normal humans who are usually lacking in skills at the start but get better as the game goes along, those alien/human hybrids from the last game (their name escapes me) who are really slow and pretty bad at combat, but have good psi abilities, and andriods, who are good at everything, and immune to psi attacks from the start, but can't ever get better. Because everyone has different abilities that change as the game progresses, you have to carefully decide who should get what type of weapon. You can't just randomly give people things...a person who has poor aim is going to be worthless with a sniper rifle, and if you weigh down a weak person they'll slow down the entire squad. This is strategy.

Explosions! You can blow up EVERYTHING if you're so inclined. Although this might make some factions in the city unhappy, it will surely satisfy you, and that's what it's all about.

The Bad
The Civilians! Bleh! What were they thinking? They add nothing to the game, only serving to get in your way, and make you wait (during turn based play) for them to move during their turn. I'd rather not spend time watching helpless civilians dash around doing nothing. They don't even try to help. Maybe if they occasionally picked up a weapon to help you, or jumped up and down on a brainsucker, or something, rather then just wasting my time. Their pathfinding is pretty bad too, causing them to get stuck on steps (always in your way), and invariably I ended up shooting half of them so I could get where I needed to be.

Sometimes the map would be awfully big for the amount of aliens on it. There have been times when I've killed a total of three aliens on a map that could have easily taken fifteen. Taking seven to ten turns to carefully walk across three-quarters of a map, making sure an alien doesn't jump out and suck someone's brains out, only to find a Spitter and two eggs at the far end can put a kink in the entertainment.

After a while, before you get to take the fight to the aliens, the buildings all start to look the same. They are made of blocks, instead of randomly generated, and because of this you get to know where everything is, and even where aliens are likely to be. After seeing the same shopping mall six times it kinda loses the cool factor.

You don't get enough control over your vehicles. All you can really do when you spot an alien craft is send your stuff after it, and then just sit back and hope it gets shot down before it beams aliens down to a building, or before it destroys all your craft.

The Bottom Line
All gripes aside, this is a really fun game, even more so now that you could probably get it for $10. If you like turn based strategy games at all, go buy this game. If you like realtime strategy games, I'd imagine you'd like this game too.

Windows · by Dr. Elementary (273) · 2012

You'll either love this game or you will hate it; I hated it

The Good
I liked the classic X-com part of the game..down an alien craft, investigate it, research new alien technologies, manage your base, buy weapons, all that good stuff.

The Bad
I hated the insanity of every combat aspect of the game. For starters, the game almost required you to play it in real time(you can choose either real time or turnbased) since one turn base mission usually takes about 4 hours. I really did not like playing this game in real time..I'm more accustomed to the traditional turnbased style of UFO Defense. I also hated the fact that rarely does 1 alien craft come through the portal to attack, it's usually several..making many companies hate you early on in the game. All in all, I was for the most part disappointed by this game.

The Bottom Line
If you think real time fighting is more fun than the traditional x-com turnbased fighting then you may like this game, if not, I recommend you stay clear of this game.

Windows · by xTSx (13) · 2001

X-Com 3: The return of the life eater

The Good
Everything, its like the first game - but ten times better. There are so many levels to this game: politics, corporate wars research etc. Often I found myself forgetting the point is to stop 'the alien menace' and instead concentrating on turning a profit and raiding my rivals base for laughs!

I have kept coming back to this game over the course of the last 5 or so years - its got replayability in droves!

The Bad
The graphics are poor even for the time it was released, and the music is made up of fairly annoying 80's style synths which you'll want to turn off straightaway. The sound effects are good and solid though.

I found the real time play option redundant. I always preferred the turn based action, but this was mainly personal preference

The Bottom Line
In depth squad based strategy

DOS · by Ken0x (34) · 2005

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Just found a poster: Lumpi (189) Sep 1, 2009


1001 Video Games

X-COM: Apocalypse appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Apocalypse has a bug that appears rarely, which can render legit playing tougher or be a boon for all the cheaters out there.

After a fight you return with the stuff you found, or you produced an item in your workshop, and suddenly you get a message that your storage is full, even though it should just be at, say, 20%. Look through your storage, the chance is high that one item type has 65536 items in it. To use the base ever again for storing anything, you have to sell the stuff.

Now it depends on whether you want to play legit or cheat:

You can have 65536 alien artifacts, each one worth 0$, so 0$ in total. But you could also have 65536 missile launchers worth 20 million $.

There is apparently no real solution for it, nor any bug fix available. But try re-loading your last battle-savegame, the bug may shift to another item type.

So, if you want to cheat, chances are high that you can get an incredible amount of cash (compare 20 mio $ to an income of 100.000 $). If you want to play legit, you must have an unresearched item available, otherwise you are screwed (either you must take the cash or you can't use the base any more for any legit storage use).


If the above is a common vehicle item (both aircraft and ground vehicle), sell only from one of both. Do not sell from the other one, even it says it has 65.536 items there too! If you do, the storage percentage goes into the negative and the game crashes! If you don't, but wait a bit after selling the first items, the second stack just disappears.

Cut content

Look at the screenshots on the back of the box of the European release. In one of them you can see a building being attacked by gigantic yellow aliens. These are not actually featured in the game, being one of the things that didn't make it into the final release version. Also, if you check the contents of the CD, you can find graphics for items and monsters that didn't make it into the game but are still included there.


The X-Com: Apocalypse design went through a number of significant changes before release, including the controversial introduction of real-time action in tactical combat. Pre-release concerns about this change ultimately led to a compromise: the option to choose between turn-based and real-time combat.

A lot more things besides that were planned to be in the game, but were never finished due to lack of time and problems implementing it. This includes multiplayer support (for up to 8 players with hotseat, play by email or lan), a large number of skills for the agents (driving, flying, perceptive ability and sanity among others), a scenario generator to quickly start a tactical missions with as many sides as you'd want (and you could control anyone, from any organization to the aliens themselves), multiple random generated alien dimensions, among other things.

Actually, some of these things was programmed and were in a somewhat working state in the beta stage, but they were removed for the retail release.

XCOM agents

Originally the plan was for all the XCOM agents to have ability in research and engineering as well as combat skills, and you must hire the best agents. That feature unfortunately did not survive the game, and the game ended up with separate engineers and researchers apart from the XCOM agents, but if you look closely, they use the same agent recruitment interface.

Information also contributed by deepcut, Kate Jones, PCGamer77, and Xoleras


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Related Sites +

  • OpenApoc
    OpenApoc is an open-source re-implementation of the original X-COM: Apocalypse, that requires the original files to run, licensed under the MIT and written in C++ / SDL2.
  • OpenApoc code at GitHub
    OpenApoc is open-source and anyone can contribute own code!
  • OpenApoc is new (mod for) X-COM: Apocalypse
    OpenApoc is an open-source re-implementation of the original X-COM: Apocalypse, that requires the original files to run, licensed under the MIT and written in C++ / SDL2.
  • X-COM Tactical Command
    Tips, strategy, and general information on all things X-COM.
  • X-Com: Apocalypse -
    Very detailed wiki for Apoc that contain all info you need and more

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 349
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by robotriot.

Additional contributors: Narf!, Kasey Chang, Paulus18950, FatherJack, Mak Sim.

Game added November 1, 1999. Last modified April 17, 2024.