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Decent strategy with interesting alien races
Sid Mayer is well known for its love for games that want to tackle a lot but eventually manage to fall short on certain aspects. This is also the case with Alien Crossfire; the game seems relatively decent at first sight. You get a territory and you can start to exploit its resource. At another level, you want to make sure that your resources and your expenses are well managed, though at times it is a good idea to veer straight into a direction or the other, either focus on combat units, or on the harvesters. The fact is, however, while at the surface level there seems to be some diversity, when you get to experience the emergent strategies possible, you find out that most of the game is bland and has the same feel to it. Basically, there aren't too many different options to try and to consider. Therefore, after a short playing session you realize that the gameplay will force you towards a one single minded strategy that uses combat rather than any of the diplomacy settings or other win types. So, rather than try your hand on this one, why not go straight to a more serious and more nicely implemented game such as any in the Civ series. This one in my opinion doesn't really deserve the Sid Mayer seal of quality.
Lack of a more complex combat system
Alien Crossfire is the expansion of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. It is a turn based strategy game (Build, Research, Diplomacy, Spionage, City management and improvement...). If you have played the Civilization series, this game is a must since it has a more complex system than Civilization 3 and I'd go further to say that it's even better than Civilization 4. The graphics are ok but the game excels in diplomacy (really complete and complex), research, government, city development and building. The AI is fine and the replayability is almost infinite. The only weakness I could find is the lack of a more complex combat system. Don't get me wrong, it's good and well elaborated, but the lack of units grouping makes the troop management somewhat messy, and units must attack one by one so having a good mix of troops is not that important.