|Genres:||Arcade / Shoot 'Em Up|
|Release Date:||June 19, 2000|
|Game Modes:||Singleplayer / Multiplayer|
Arcade action shooters and real-time strategy titles mix like oil and water. So how is it that Gromada can manage to almost work as a game? Good question. At its heart, Gromada is the first major retail release of an arcade shooter since Infogrames’ Slave Zero. Indeed, Gromada has nothing to do with real combat situations in terms of the presence of real-world physics or accurate simulation of weapons systems. Nonetheless, the gameplay is such that a traditional “run-and-gun” approach devoid of tactics is counterproductive.
The story is simple and straightforward: Gromada is an artificial planet created as a testing site for combat equipment, and it has come under heavy attack by aliens. All of the combat machines but one (codenamed Kassandra) is under the control of the enemy, and it’s your job to conquer enemy outposts with this tank through 25 missions. These are non-linear in that there is more than one order in which you may complete them; when you finish a mission, more than one new option often opens up. Before each mission, there is a brief unspoken text description of your objectives.
Along the way you have to undertake a wide variety of tasks, which include destroying structures. These tasks frequently require the use teleporters, which are usually guarded by mines or rings of laser guns, just as you are constantly looking for keys to get access to what you need. After a mission is over, whether successfully or unsuccessfully, a giant “K” (for Kassandra) appears on the screen before you go on to the next. If you are destroyed, it is convenient that you get to start that mission again right away from scratch. A multiplayer deathmatch mode using special maps is also available via LAN and modem.
To fight your foes you have Kassandra, a customizable tank with incredible versatility. This fully transformable machine has multiple weapons mounts for armaments like machine guns, lasers, anti-aircraft cannons, and rocket launchers (including self-guided rockets). As is typical of arcade shooters, you do not have to worry about such issues as overheating your tank, but like strategy games you do have to make sure you do not run out of ammunition. Between levels you may go to the service center to modify your vehicle.
You face 20 different types of hostile machines and cannons in Gromada. Many of these are tricky to destroy, such as a mortar that has heavy armor and can only be damaged while it is shooting. In some cases, such as with the bombard, if you destroy the weapon a robot repair unit quickly comes to fix it. Mines are also present all over the place so you really have to watch your step. Overall the mechanized enemies could be a bit more varied in appearance and functionality.
Gromada integrates elements of several different games. Its appearance, with its weird organic-looking structures, resembles of Buka’s earlier strategy-oriented release, Vangers. Its isometric perspective and scattered enemy installations and teleportation points resembles Epic MegaGames’ classic shooter Fire Fight. The way you control the tanks and their movement resembles Tanktics. Finally, its non-stop shooting resembles Space Time Foam’s Chase Ace 2. In the end, though, Gromada emerges as an oddly made though still somewhat original strategy/action hybrid.
System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, Win95
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