SWINE pits pigs against rabbits to supposedly humorous effect. The rabbits speak with bad French accents and the pigs speak with bad German accents, with their entire personality stemming from mispronunciations of the word “the” as “ze”. Between missions, you’ll be subjected to wacky cut scenes and mission briefings peppered with cringy puns. The rabbit artillery is a “Carrotpult.” The pigs have a tank called “That’s All, Folks.”
To be fair, the humor is almost invisible in SWINE when you’re actually playing it., which is an entirely conventional real-time strategy game. If it weren’t for occasional postage stamp sized window popping up with animated animals delivering corny sound bites in their bad accents (yes, you can turn these off), you might as well be playing any real-time strategy game with tanks. The two sides are almost identical. Pigs and rabbits use the same vehicles, with the exception that pigs get a heavy tank and the rabbits get an anti-tank rocket launcher.
Worse yet, there’s no base building or resource management, and there are only a handful of tactical options. Basically you’re dealing with the maxim that slow units have more firepower and weaker units move faster. Some units have special abilities, but most of these favor the defender. You can lay mines, dig in so you’re invulnerable to most weapons, or deploy artillery so it can fire. Since S.W.I.N.E. has only a rudimentary AI that won’t attack unless you enter a unit’s activation radius, defensive special abilities are all but wasted in the single player game. In fact, you can breeze through most of S.W.I.N.E. by buying slow hard-hitting units and always keeping them close together, or buying lots of artillery to attack units from outside the computer units’ activation radius.
Most of the missions are puzzles with hard-coded linear solutions: fight group of units A, cross bridge B, fight group of units C, reach objective D, win. Since each vehicle earns experience and you can buy then upgrades that carry over from mission to mission, you can’t afford to lose units. This means a lot of saving, reloading, and replaying. As you earn strategic points, you can buy units during a mission. Each vehicle has a limited supply of ammo and fuel that can be replenished with supply trailers. It’s all very Panzer General, but in real-time and with 3D graphics.
The limited ammo and fuel don’t add anything to the game but busywork. The customizable units should have given multiplayer games a bit more depth, but they almost always come down to expensive heavy units slugging it out with each other (multiplayer Domination and Capture the Flag games are the exception, forcing tactics like splitting up your forces or holding positions on the map). Without a skirmish AI or missions with any replay value, this is one of those games you may as well shelve once you’ve played the single player campaigns.
System Requirements: Pentium II 233 MHz, 64 MB RAM, Win95
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