Finally, the 3D real-time strategy genre has been refined to near perfection. Amongst the vast number of titles overwhelming the genre, few have come close to what TopWare Interactive has achieved with Earth 2150. Included in the mix is an engrossing story, 70 non-linear campaign missions, a high-action skirmish mode, aggressive and intelligent enemy AI, extensive multiplayer variety, Internet play and visually stunning graphics. You might imagine that a game of such considerable detail would come at some expenses or loss of action, but not in Earth 2150.

As expected with any disaster story of a global scale, we enter as the world is in anguish and the struggle to survive has begun. The world is not united as one, however, and three dominating corporations are fighting it out to see who is worthy of colonising Mars -- away from the destruction that will eventually devastate Earth. It all begins in the 21st century, where it was believed the world would leave behind war, famine and suffering to advance in the technological age with renewed prosperity. By 2012, the world's economy has fully collapsed due to a meltdown of the stock and currency exchange, creating overwhelming poverty and hunger as well as social and political conflict. War eventually breaks out, bringing with it a level of violence unparalleled by anything the human race has ever seen. The lucky few who can afford to escape Earth do so without hesitation, taking refuge on the moon under the guidance of the Lunar Corporation (LC).

Soon after the war, two earth-bound forces emerge. The European and Asian territories, which suffered so terribly in the war, found an empire under the strict regime of the Khans. With access to the military bases, weapons and technology of the former Soviet Union, they are able to build a formidable military presence, bringing forth the Eurasian Dynasty (ED). In the meantime, twelve of the former U.S.A. states join together to create a new country -- the United Civilized States (UCS). Contrasting the strict loyalty of the ED citizens, the people of the UCS are slothful and lazy, employing robots which do all their work for them. The forces of both Earth-bound powers spreads around the globe until eventually war breaks out a second time. The immense destruction of a skirmish near the North Pole shakes the Earth to its core, changing the orbital motion of the planet and projecting it on a course towards the Sun. The only hope now is to escape the doomed planet. Each of the three forces must set out in a race to create an evacuation fleet, fighting for resources to achieve the ultimate goal -- survival.

The three "races" are uniquely represented in the game with their own set of units, buildings and special abilities. The Eurasian Dynasty (ED) is technologically disadvantaged, giving them an old-fashioned flavour. Comprised mainly of tanks, boats and helicopters, the simplicity of their units means less chance of breakdown but more vulnerability to poor weather and tough terrain. The United Civilized States (UCS) comprises mainly two-legged mech robots with a few sea-based vessels and some anti-gravity powered aircraft. The Lunar Corporation (LC) is by far the most technologically advanced, but has very little in the way of strong offensive weaponry. Their highly creative scientists do allow them to keep a strong hold on their opponents by means of such technologies as Weather Generators and anti-nuclear weapon defence systems.

As the story suggests, the ultimate goal of the game is to acquire enough money to create the transport that will send your race to colonise Mars. You might think that this immediately condemns you to hours of meaningless money-hungry fighting, but that is far from the truth. Each mission has a purpose, each increasing in difficulty as you progress through the game. Not only must you attend to the tasks at hand, but you must also be careful to not lose track of what must eventually be achieved. It is not an easy task for any of the races, as the ED and UCS both require one million credits, while the LC must struggle for 500 000.

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