Dark war fantasy
Harking back to old-school classics like Missile Command
but mixed in with elements of Risk
, DEFCON is a largely enjoyable little game that is best played in multi-player mode for maximum laughs. Played solo, it's entertaining for a while but soon runs out of puff. The setting for the game is just prior to the end of the world, and in this one no one is getting out alive. The trick though is to be the last one standing when the smoke clears and all that's left is radiation, cockroaches and spam. You play the role of a general safely ensconced in a bunker when nuclear war breaks out and it's your job to send up the missiles and take out as many of the enemy as you can before they smoke you. You have a variety of offensive and defensive options available to you, including subs, sonar, carriers and so on and must use them all wisely if you are to succeed. The whole thing is played out in fairly minimalist fashion, with most of the visuals consisting of a map screen and stats running by to represent death tolls and the like. DEFCON is a very unusual war sim that actually makes you think about what's going on rather than just sitting back and enjoying the explosions. It's not going to win any award for visuals, although they are clean and effective but if you can play with others, this is absorbing stuff. There's enough options on offer to ensure a variety of tactical approaches and the game is absorbing and terrifying in equal measure. It loses some of its appeal in single player mode but if you've got some friends, this is thought-provoking blast.