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Harvest: Massive Encounter

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Harvest: Massive Encounter is a real-time strategy indie video game developed and published by Oxeye Game Studio. It was released on March 5, 2008. The game was awarded a second place in the Swedish Game Awards 2007.[1]

Story

It's a space gold rush! You have decided to take part in a race for space, or rather, the race to mine the planets in space in exchange for your fair share of Colonial Credits. Problem is, humans aren't the only sentient beings of the universe. After taking off from Earth and making your way to a system known as "Harvest14", you soon discover that those other sentient beings are closer to home than you thought. After landing a colony on three out of the four planets in the system (the fourth being void of anything necessary), you begin to encounter the aliens, and they're hell-bent on making sure you don't make it off their planet alive. The only question that remains is: how long can you survive?

Planets

There are four planets in the "Harvest14" system, three of which are rich in the minerals that the Intergalactic syndicates wish to be mined. Each planet is unique and changes the gameplay through the differing environments.

Hephaestus

Hephaestus is much like the planet Earth in that it has wild vegetation and looks to have a temperate climate. This planet is the easiest of the three planets because of the lack of extreme landscape. Hephaestus is also the only planet that is playable in the demo version of the game.

Poseidon

Poseidon is an ice covered planet with what appears to be an extremely cold temperature. The difficulty on this planet is higher than that of Hephaestus. Frigid winds that can blow the hovering enemy UFOs around can be a great help or an absolute hindrance. If the gust of wind comes from the wrong direction, you may find your enemies closer to home than you want. Poseidon is available after you purchased the full version of the game.

Aries

Aries is the third mine-able planet in the Harvest14 system. Though it lacks the extreme temperature that can cause chaos on Poseidon, Aries is still considered a difficult planet due to the vast caverns that dot the surface of the planet. Because of these giant "holes-in-the-ground", building a base that is impenetrable can become quite difficult. Not to mention that some of the enemies can hover over these holes.

Unknown

The fourth planet has only been briefly mentioned, so information on it is limited to that it is small and void of the minerals used to gain Colony Credits. Some of the game creators have hinted via the game's forums that the planet may be added in future updates.

Colony Units

All units are stationary and cost both Colony Credits and Sparks (see below), both of which vary depending on the building.

Astrum Power King

The Astrum Power king is the sole means to gain the power needed to continue the expansion of your colonies. The Power King is a solar energy converter and is the only source of power in the game. The Power King spawns one "Controlled Energy Mass" (CEM), or more commonly known as "Sparks", per second.

Astrum Energy Link

The Astrum Energy Link are the means of travel for the CEM Sparks. After a Spark has left the Power King solar plants, it travels along these linked, fixed units until it is used on the construction of a new building or used to recharge a building already in use. The Energy Links can also be used as a weapon against large amounts of enemy UFOs. When selected, you can choose to store large amounts of Sparks in a link until it overheats and becomes a bomb.

Minmeister Harvester

The Minmeister Harvester is used to harvest the minerals of each planet. A spark is sent to an activated harvester, which in turn uses the energy to harvest minerals which are automatically converted into Colony Credits. Those Colony Credits can then be used to purchase more buildings and expand your colony and defenses.
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Textech Base Defense X2

The Textech is the basic defense tower in H:ME. This tower is commonly referred to as the "Defense Tower". The stationary unit uses Spark energy to send a concentrated laser beam at enemies. The range of the laser is limited as well as the damage, however, each aspect can be upgraded by linking more than one of these towers together.

Hareman Evangelist

A short range RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) launcher, the Haremen Evangelist is another basic defense unit. The difference between the Evangelist and the Textech are fairly obvious. While the Textech only focuses on one enemy at a time and can be linked to upgrade range and damage, the Evangelist launches a short RPG (usually inaccurate) that affects a small area that damages multiple enemies, as well as has two different upgrades (see below).

Hareman Eagle Cruiser

The Hareman Eagle Cruiser is one of the two defense units that the Evangelist can upgrade to. The Eagle Cruiser launches three, long range, enemy seeking missiles. If the enemy is defeated by other means before the all missiles are used, the on board AI guidance chip will change the course of the missile for another enemy in range of the Eagle Cruiser unit.

Hareman Tempest Upgrade

The Tempest Upgrade is vastly different from its counterpart, the Eagle Cruiser. Unlike the long range of the EC, the Tempest is a mid-range grenade launcher. This upgrade of the Evangelist launches four separate projectiles, however unlike the EC, the Tempest's damage focuses on the area-of-effect damage like that of the Evangelist. After the projectiles hit an enemy or the ground near an enemy, they set off a small EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) that damages any enemies within the vicinity. The Tempest's area-of-effect is larger than that of the Evangelist and can actually spread from enemy to enemy if they are close enough to each other.

Alien Units

Alien units will spawn at the edges of the map and attempt to destroy any and all colony units by any means they possess.

D-70 Armored Hovercraft

This unit is the basic enemy. It is slow and has no major strengths or weaknesses. To kill a colony unit, it must hover over it and destroy it. This unit is easy to get rid of, and damage from it can be prevented if killed at a far range. The Armored Hovercraft can be found on all three planets in the Harvest14 system.

Zoom Armadillo Tank

Another basic enemy unit, the Armadillo has special reinforced armor and shields that are resistant to explosions. The best means to rid yourself of this enemy is to use laser defense towers. This unit also appears on all three planets.

Black Dragon

The Black Dragon is an annoying unit that, after reaching a safe point (usually out of range of an unlinked defense tower), will begin to summon Homing Shuttles (three at a time). The best weapon to use against these summoners is to get some long range missiles or link a few towers together so as to increase the range. The Black Dragon makes an appearance on Hephaestus and Poseidon.

Homing Shuttles

A small alien ship that is summoned by the Black Dragon, the Homing Shuttles are small, high speed, kamikaze ships that will attempt to cut off energy supply within your defenses. Unlinked towers are the best strategy against these because they usually attack in swarms.

Thunder Flea

A massive enemy unit, the Thunder Flea is a slow moving unit that is hard to hit and hard to kill. It moves by stretching out a piston-like mechanism and then hopping towards the human base. It will hop onto a colony building in order to kill it and continue its rampage. This unit appears on Hephaestus and Aries.

Steel Monocle

This unit was originally created to counter the extremely hot and bright environment of the moon Icarus I so the alien harvesters could work without perishing because of the harsh conditions. The Monocle is used in militaristic battles to deflect the colony's lasers. This unit can only be defeated by hitting it with lasers from behind OR by means of missile/grenade. The unit only appears on Poseidon and Aries.

"Death Mite" Military Miner

This unit is used to mine planets for precious minerals. During battle, the Death Mite can replenish its health by finding a raw mineral area and use the raw minerals to repair itself. The best way to defeat this unit is to use long range colony buildings. The Death Mite only appears on the Hephaestus planet.

A-13 T.I.V.

The A-13 is a smart unit that, after choosing its target, will swarm it with all surrounding A-13s. This can be deadly because they will find any weak spot in your defense and remove it. The A-13 only appears on Poseidon.

Star-5 Energy Sapper

The Star-5 is a unit that, instead of damaging colony units, will attempt to "sap" energy from the closest energy link. Usually, they will be just outside the range of an unlinked laser tower. The Star-5 only appears on Aries.

Gameplay

The game, regardless of mode, leaves the player with a small base with two power generators and three power links. The player would then use the starting money to begin mining operations and setting up defensive lasers. Depending on the game mode, various waves of aliens will approach. The player can build lasers and missile turrets to destroy them. The player can increase the power of a single laser by linking it together with others. This yields a more powerful beam at the expense of the total number of lasers. The missile turrets can be upgraded to either a long range cruise missile that will swarm targets, or storm missiles which have an area of effect but smaller alien detection range. The game also features a "creative mode", in which various modes can be emulated, as well as enabling "Infinite Money" to creatively construct a base without limitation. Creative mode also allows instant placement of enemy ships to test out defenses.

Reception

Harvest: Massive Encounter received a 5.5 out of 10 (mediocre) from IGN, and a 4 out of 5 from FZ.[2][3]

References

  1. About Harvest. Oxeye Game Studio. Retrieved on 2008-06-15.
  2. Mark Asher (2008-05-19). Harvest: Massive Encounter Review. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-06-15.
  3. Tomas Andersson (2008-03-14). Test - Harvest: Massive Encounter (Swedish). FZ. Retrieved on 2008-06-15.

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