(the sequel to X-COM: UFO Defense [Europe: “UFO: Enemy Unknown”])
This is the only X-COM game that I have played, other than demos. I bought X-COM in 1995 or so, and enjoyed it thoroughly. I still would like to finish the game someday… Here’s what happened:
Upon starting TFTD, I see a great intro, with an alien vessel attacking a cruise ship. This sets the mood of the game consistent with how things will go from here on out… Little do I know that cruise ships will become the bane of my existence for the next six months. After the intro, I see a globe of the earth and create my first base. I am commanding X-COM, an international organization set up to deal with the alien threat (this originally happened way back in the first game). After a while, I start receiving messages of terror attacks and alien spaceships. Eventually, I learn that I must buy soldiers (keeping the good ones with good stats and sacking the rest), and put them in my flying interceptor vessels, along with weapons, and then send the ships to the aforementioned sites. As I respond promptly and successfully to attacks, individual nations maintain or increase their funding. Now that I know what I am doing, the fun begins. I learn to avoid some skirmishes (or reduce the number of aliens) by attacking their vessels with special attack ships. I learn to save at the beginning of each skirmish so when my guys die, I can re-load and get those guys ranked up and allow their stats to increase appropriate to their experiences in battle (the game is very detailed that way). I learn to love the automatically-generated names (from a well-sized database of diverse first and last names) such as “Uma Conway”, and to add extra symbols and letters to the end of their names so that I know their abilities and stats for choosing what weapons to give them (such as: Only give heavy weapons to people with enough strength to handle them well… and, don’t give grenades to someone who panics easily! I’m not kidding!) and to know who to sack. I fight many battles, look up a strategy guide for the necessary research items in order to eventually discover the source of the global threat, and after many months I equip my newly-researched huge interceptor with tons of soldiers and equipment and head to the last battle… Only I forget one thing…to move my high-ranked soldiers from my old ships into the my shiny new ship. Upon arriving at the last battle, I discover that–but only after saving over both of my previous saved games.
One day, perhaps I will go back one of my old saved games, and do the necessary week or so of catch-up. At the time, I was so freaked out by the difficulty of the last mission and compared to the already near-impossible feats I had to accomplish to get this far, that I decided I had enough punishment. Even though this happened, I do not regret playing the game (even fighting my way around hundreds of blind corners and powerful aliens in all of those huge passenger ships) and I enjoyed my experience and feel satisfied with all my efforts to get to the last encounter and have a brief look around–before, of course, my low-rank troops panicked. Many misguided grenades and high-explosive weapons were unleashed by my nerve-racked and now uncontrollable troops, and in a fury of lo-fi screams, pixelated munitions and smoke my soldiers were were almost instantly wiped out before I even saw much more than a brief glimpse of the faces of my opposition…The End.
Some people who played the game are confused about how to beat the game. Here is the required research tree (which I created long ago from a heavily-worn strategy guide):
(it is impossible to beat the game if you research MC Lab without having an MC Reader in storage at that time)
…and here is a funny gameplay video made by MickTheMage on YouTube: