Fallen Haven

6_1Introducing the turn-based tank rush.

Fallen Haven is a strategic/tactical turn-based science-fiction wargame that might remind you of X-COM. You can play from either the invading alien Tauran side or the rebel human side, always starting at opposite ends of the map, with neutrals in the middle. The goal is to conquer neutral territories and then conquer the enemy, with a second campaign option that puts a thinly-stretched enemy in control of the entire planet and you in charge of a single province.

You pick a province to attack, then launch a dropship to that region with forces. Certain provinces have specific bonuses for their conquest, such as a new unit or a number of resource points, and come complete with guerrilla forces ready to fight on your side. These special provinces also have specific goals, like destroying a rocket launcher or a research facility.

During the strategic turn, you can zoom into each province in a city display that shows troops, roads, and buildings. Cities can be expanded with new structures that generate more resource points (such as mines), faster research, and combat units. Research allocation is done with slider bars, and results in bonuses such as better armor, firepower, and movement.

There are nine units on each side in Fallen Haven (aircraft, armor, and infantry) with simple differences: humans are fast with long-range weapons and light armor, while Taurans tend to be slower and more powerful. It’s a good match-up that allows diverse play. The limited number of units is a disappointment in a game like this, however, and keep things from getting really interesting.

Gameplay in Fallen Haven.

Combat itself is fast and easy to handle: units move in phases, and can choose to allocate their action points for movement or firing weapons multiple times. Each has a choice of using a heavy weapon (usually powerful but shorter range and requiring more action points) or a light weapon (the opposite). Or they can save action points for “over watch” mode, which will use them for automatic defensive fire during the opposing turn. The weapon mix leads to various tactics: a squad can lob a mortar shell over a wall, or move out and try to attack with their beam weapon.

The one problem we have with this system is the high expendability of units, which is almost akin to a Command & Conquer-style game. A single hit can take out some units, and this plays poorly in an RTS. Since you can’t fix damaged units, this can lead to some frustrating replays. There is also too much reliance on gun turrets in city layout. You attack more turrets than you do units. Fallen Haven also lacks multiplayer support, and has a tendency to crash randomly on some systems. But as a faster, stripped down X-COM the game works fine enough.

System Requirements: 486 33 MHz, 8 MB RAM, 25 MB HDD, Win95

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