Thursday, March 24, 2005

Ann and me. Terri, Tory?: Part 2

This week it's all about True Combat: Elite, a total conversion for Enemy Territory. It's also a sequel of sorts to the original Quake 3 engine-based True Combat. I'd already downloaded TC: E before last week's post, and I'd like to say I've been enjoying it straight from then until now. I would - I've enjoyed what I've played so far - but, as is too frequent an occurrence, I hit a snag.

What snag, you ask? Well, if you already play Enemy Territory, you already know. The 2.60 patch was released on Monday, as well as the Mac client. I, the type who upgrades as soon as one is available, had the patch downloaded and installed minutes after I'd heard the news. The problem? I guess nobody else did. When I loaded up Enemy Territory, there were four servers running. Two were empty, the others had about eight players combined. While the amount of available ET servers quickly started to grow, the servers for True Combat took a while longer to catch up.

Anyway, I've only had the chance to play about five games of True Combat: Elite but, what I've seen, I've liked. The gameplay can best be described as a mix of Counter Strike, the SOCOM games, and vanilla Enemy Territory. There are two gameplay modes: Objective and Bodycount. Bodycount is more or less a slowed-down, objective-less version of the ET gameplay. You get killed - no big deal, you respawn in a few seconds. While this mode is pretty damn fun, Objective is where the real meat of TC: E lies.

In Objective mode, you're limited to one life a round, just like the other two games mentioned above. There are also, yes, objectives to be accomplished. While that sounds pretty ET like, especially with the addition of classes, right now it's basically what most other games would call Demolition mode. It's almost right in the middle of the Counter Strike and SOCOM Demolition modes. There's one bomb, which needs to be picked up, only accessible by the Terrorist team. The other team defends one of two points where the bomb can be placed. Slow-paced fun ensues.

The people behind True Combat: Elite have done an excellent job on this game so far. The maps I've played so far are great looking, as well as truly well balanced. Of course, these guys have probably had some time to get used to the Quake 3 engine, since some of the team members worked on the original True Combat - but they've really gotten it to shine. I do have one major gripe though. The server list keeps disappearing after connecting and playing one game, seemingly only fixable by a complete reinstall. I can't even use XQF to find a server, as the 2.60 ET patch uses a different master server than the 2.56 version. Luckily, tcetest games show up in the normal ET server browser, but it's a less than optimal solution to an annoying problem.

Still though, True Combat: Elite kicks at least as much ass as the game it's based on.

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