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Domination

Score: 65%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: DreamCatcher Interactive
Developer: Wargaming.net
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Turn-Based Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

There is a damaging trend going around in the production of low budget games. More time and effort are being pumped into the graphics than any other portion of the game in order to try and keep up with the high end looks of todayís blockbusters. Domination is a shining example of a non-blockbuster title overextending itself on trying to look like the 3D strategy games out on the market now. The result is a graphical scheme that looks clunky and has little style.

The sound isnít much better. The voice acting between missions is horrendously over-emphasized in the wrong places and exceedingly dull at others. The music and effects are thankfully neutral, neither degrading the audio experience nor doing much in the way of helping it.


Gameplay:

Never before have I seen more useless information on the box of a video game than I have with Domination. Its fold-out front covers are saturated with blurbs and pictures describing nothing at all. Not once on the box is there any mention that the game is turn-based. It promises ďplanet on planet massive assault.Ē Global weaponry is mentioned. The words ďEndless GameplayĒ are proudly brazened in raised, yellow letters on the box. Any self-respecting game player trying to get something out of these base promises will feel cheated and lied to five minutes after loading up the game.

As mentioned earlier, Domination is a turn-based strategy game. Not much of this basic gameplay doctrine has been tampered with. Each map that is being fought over is based around a certain number of cities and the surrounding area encompassing them. Capturing cities gains you money, money gains you more troops, and more troops gain you a better chance at victory.

The inclusion of the territories surrounding each city changes things up a bit. When you move units into an enemy territory, they get to deploy what are called guerilla forces. These forces can be set up anywhere in their territory and can move and shoot as soon as they are placed. This simple rule makes it almost impossible to sneak a unit past the front line to move into a city and capture it. It ensures that when you invade a territory, you have a serious invasion force to back things up.

This basic premise is changed up a bit by the inclusion of various gameplay modes. Scenario and Campaign are similar to each other in that the Campaign mode is just a bunch of Scenario missions linked together by a storyline. These missions usually have some sort of criteria which usually involves you surviving for a set number of turns or having to kill the enemy in a set number of turns. You can also pick between two different sides, one of which is usually on the offensive and the other which is usually on the defensive.

Career mode allows you to create a persona and upgrade them with certain unit construction capabilities. The more battles you win, the more points you get to spend on being able to create other units. Assault mode is four different missions that give you a set number of turns and a set amount of money to spend on your starting forces. After you purchase and set up your troops, you are on a timer to assault an enemyís stronghold. World War, the final mode, is basically the core gameplay on larger maps. Nothing is really added here in terms of different strategies, just longer game length. There is also a Multiplayer mode that lets you hook up with all of the other people out there who are sure to own this game by now, and play them in a one-on-one fight to the death.


Difficulty:

Domination isnít the deepest turn-based strategy game on the market. That said, itís also not the easiest to pick up and learn right off the bat. The instruction book gives you a brief outline of how the game is played, and the tutorial mode is full of stuff that could be figured out in a shorter amount of time if you tried learning things on your own. There is little mention anywhere on how to purchase or deploy your units. In-game pop ups are what saves Domination from turning into a frustrating guessing game.

Game Mechanics:

Though Domination is labeled as a strategy game, there isnít much strategy to it. The elaborate terrain on the maps doesnít offer much in terms of strategic value. The only thing they can do is slow down movement and block line of sight. Each unit in the game has a certain number of health points shown above their head. Each unit also deals out a certain number of hits when they attack. There isnít even a rock-paper-scissors scheme here. A tank does two points of damage to anything it attacks, no matter how big or small. Winning is usually gained by building nothing but the most cost efficient unit, one that is relatively cheap but does a good number of damage points.

Domination talks a big game but ultimately falls short on everything it promises. Donít fall for the fancy box. It seems like more money went into it than the actual marketing of the game. If youíre looking for a great turn-based strategy game, look elsewhere.


-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, 750 MHz CPU, 256 MB RAM, 4X CD/DVD-ROM, 570 MB Available Hard Drive Space, GeForce 2 or Compatible with 32 MB Video Card, DirectX 8.1 Compatible Sound Card, Keyboard and Mouse
 

Test System:



Windows ME, AMD Athlon 1.4 GHz Processor, 256 MB RAM, 128 MB GeForce FX 5200 Video Card, 40 GB Hard Drive, Creative Labs Sound Card, Cable Modem Internet Connetion

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