No Man’s Land

No Man’s Land clearly fits the definition of real-time strategy game. It features villagers that mine, farm, chop and build. It has a multitude of nicely rendered historical structures. It contains units of varying usefulness with both ranged and melee attacks. Most importantly, the units spout catchy one-liners when ordered around. It’s the Age of Revolution without the Ensemble.

8_1It’s generic almost to a fault when it comes to gameplay, but a few cool additions manage to set it apart. A nifty railroad building winning condition has you and your opponents connecting two sides of the map with rails for the iron horse. This creates a back and forth struggle to both build and destroy. There are mercenaries you hire to take out elite units for a price and counter upgrades that hinder your opposite number’s progress. These few gameplay additions, and some superb looking naval combat, are enough to satisfy the need for something new.

There’s some great voice acting in No Man’s Land. Whether you’re listening to the banter in the well-presented in-game cutscenes or just enjoying the cries of battle, the strength of the audio is undeniable. Booming sound effects add punch to the proceedings as cannon balls blast plumes of dirt and smoke into the sky.

The setting brings everything together, though. Most games don’t let you recruit outlaws and gunslingers at the Saloon to take on a pack of angry Woodland Indians. Possibly due to its European developer, there’s no sappy mucking with history here. The white man and the Indian don’t get along. The Spanish hate the British. There’s a great primal vibe that somehow makes you enjoy every minute the six sides spend at each other’s throats.

System Requirements: Pentium III 500 MHz, 128 MB RAM, Win98

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