Dark Colony

Strategy 1997 Windows SSI Galactic War Real time Space combat

Capitalizes on the lessons learned from StarCraft

If you were to just catch a glimpse of this game while being played you would think it to be none other than Star Craft. Yes, Star Craft spawned more clones than a Zerling hatchery, and as you would expect, there were few that really captured the essence of the original. Dark Colony is somewhere in the middle, managing to be a good enough game to be played on its own terms, abut at the same time, to always send you in the more rapacious and more fun hands of StarCraft. The game takes you to a Mars colony named Petra 4 which is in the later stages of being terraformed, but as the humans begin to find the planet habitable and cozy, an unfortunate event occurs. They are invaded by the Taar, an alien race that, just as the humans, look for a new planet of their own. The game will ask you to defend the colony in 2 distinct campaigns, and you can play each one from the perspective of the humans as well as the alien race the Taar. The balance between the two factions is achieved mainly by the lazy means of employing (almost) exactly the same type of weapons, speeds of movement and building capabilities, with very little differentiation. Because the units are so closely mirrored the only thing that can unbalance the game is finding artifacts which are spawned randomly, and the day and night cycle, with humans being diurnal and the aliens nocturnal. I would recommend this game to someone who wants a less strenuous RTS experience than what StarCraft can offer, but don't expect to get too much out of this one. At the end of a campaign you will have exhausted what the game can offer and you will have to move on.

Twilight of RTS Games

Dark Colony was a surprise RTS that seemed to come out of nowhere. I'd never heard of it until a friend showed it to me. It came out in a time when real-time strategy games were in a transition period. Developers who jumped on board the RTS bandwagon too late didn't realize that mirroring militaries like pieces on a chess board was getting stale. Unfortunately, this game suffered for it. The graphics were sprite based and still look excellent. However base building is very limited and done automatically around a central hub. Even though most games tend to center an official or unofficial base in one concentrated area, I still like having the choice, and felt handicapped by it. However, for people who like to think they've mastered RTS games like Starcraft.

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