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Starship Troopers (video game)

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Starship Troopers is a first-person shooter game developed by Strangelite Studios and published by Empire Interactive. The game is based upon the canon of the film Starship Troopers by Paul Verhoeven.

Set five years after the events of the film, the game lets players assume the role of 'Marauder Zero Six' as they assault the planet Hesperus which has been invaded by the Arachnids. The game features footage from both the original Starship Troopers and Hero of the Federation films for pre-mission briefings and has a small, cameo voice-over from Casper Van Dien in the first mission should the player fail it.[1]

Gameplay

Single-player

The single-player game features a campaign mode consisting of a series of missions connected by mission briefings. After a level is completed it is then available to play in a Level Attack mode, which is similar to a time trial mode, except a score and the number of kills are also recorded.

There are three different levels of difficulty, easy, medium, and hard. The level of difficulty affects the AI of the bugs, meaning they will notice you, and begin to attack you sooner on hard than on easy. The different levels also affect the amount of ammunition, and grenades available throughout the missions, and the health of the boss bugs, making them more resilient on hard.

Most missions involve a player completing a single objective, with obstacles on the way. For example, the player's ultimate objective is to rescue comrades. The player may have to find the soldiers,[2] protect them,[3] retrieve supplies,[4] fix equipment,[5] and then escape.[6]

During the course of a mission, a player may run into one or more bosses, often a Royal warrior or a bug that performs a heavy support role, such as a plasma bug or a tanker. As the game progresses, and tougher enemies are introduced, better guns are made available to the player.

Weapons

  • Morita MK4: This is the standard issue weapon for a Marauder. It has unlimited ammo, but will overheat after continuous fire. The bullets are not armor piercing making this weapon virtually ineffective against any armored bugs, like the tiger. It is more effective against unarmored bugs such as the Warrior. It has a grenade launcher attachment, but uses the same grenades as the Morita MK2 grenade launcher.
  • Morita MK2 Rifle: This is the standard issue weapon for enlisted troopers. It has a 160 round armor piercing clip, making it effective against the tiger and other heavily armored bugs.
  • Morita MK2 Attachments: The Morita MK2 rifle has many several attachments making it more effective in certain situations. The first attachment is a small shotgun located under the main barrel, it is best used in close proximity engagements. The second attachment is a grenade launcher that is also located under the barrel. This is best used when bugs are clustered together. The last attachment is a long range scope mounted on top of the rifle. When zooming in with this attachment the rate of fire is decreased, making it more accurate. However its clip is limited to 100 rounds.
  • Morita MK2 Carbine: This is the standard issue carbine for officers. Its shorter than the Morita MK2 rifle with no attachments. However it makes up for the attachments in rate of fire.
  • TAC Shotgun: This is an extremely powerful shotgun with a 20 shell capacity and can inflict massive damage on virtually any target at close range. It has the ability to fire four shells at once to inflict even more damage on the intended target.
  • M.L.R.: This weapon continuously fires rockets. What this rocket launcher lacks in damage it makes up for in heat seeking and automatic capabilities. The longer this weapon is fired, the more rapid the fire gets. It has a cartridge size of 50 rockets.


Characters

  • Marauder 06: The player character, sent on extremely dangerous missions, sometimes alone. He is one of the only six in the entire campaign, and aside from him, only Marauder 01 is ever shown. The Marauder is feared and respected for his position, and is idolized by other troops.
  • Radio Controller: The officer in orbit who directs the Marauder on his missions.
  • Dropship pilot: She flies the Marauder's dropship, and saves his life on a number of occasions.[7] She is extremely brave, risking her own life to aid the Marauder.
  • Mech Trooper: A single mech trooper, trained to repair Federation equipment, is seen throughout the game, often to repair defense systems. When he appears, the Marauder has to protect him from the local Arachnid population.
  • General Hauser: A Psi-Ops officer who developed the X-bug. He must be rescued on multiple occasions, and also releases the X-bug.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer in Starship Troopers consists of three different modes; Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Co-op. The most popular mode is Co-op which sees players defending a mechanic from an onslaught of arachnids whilst retrieving parts to repair a dropship to escape in. The network and lobby functions of Starship Troopers were provided by Demonware who have now withdrawn the services.

Promised dedicated server and modification tools were never released, along with the closing of the official English forums player numbers in the multiplayer game were very low. The game also lacked any console or server commands which makes it impossible to execute a variety of necessary admin functions such as kick, ban or a map change. Lastly as the balancing of the weapons is directly inherited from the singleplayer mode this means that deathmatch play isn't very competitive. A player who picks up the rocket launcher for example is likely to dominate the game because it scores significantly more damage compared to many other weapons, has an area of effect, can be fired rapidly and has a very large magazine.

Patches released for the game mainly focused upon improving bringing the game's multiplayer mode. The latest, version 5.24 released in December 2005, introduced 4 new DM/TDM maps and 3 new co-op maps.

Reception

The game was shunned by most critics, receiving a score of 3.8 (out of 10) on GameSpot and a 5 (out of 10) from IGN, with both sites stating technical issues, such as problems with the AI and arrachnid graphics the reason for the low score. There are very few character models, leaving every other trooper looking identical. The sound bites used for the troopers voices are also repeated many times throughout the game, with some bites placed at inappropriate times.

References

Notes

  1. http://www.games.net/article/feature/105682/shoot-to-thrill-casper-van-dien-talks-starship-troopers/
  2. Game level "Lost Marauder"
  3. Game level "Outpost"
  4. Game level "Outpost"
  5. Game level "Compound"
  6. Game level "Outpost"
  7. "Stronghold" and "Bug Hives"

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