Military Madness review

PlayStation 3 owners have had many reasons to think themselves better than Wii owners over the years. Be it the next generation 1080p visuals, Blu-ray Disc storage or an online multiplayer system that doesn’t require the pesky Friend Codes. One other reason the Playstation 3 owners had an excuse for smugness was the release of Military Madness Nectaris for the PS3 back in January. So it’s taken a whole two months but Wii owners can now (at last) get their hands on their very own slice of Military Madness pie from the WiiWare Shop Channel for 1000 WiiPoints.

So what is Military Madness for Wii all about? Well the first thing to mention is that Military Madness Nectaris for Wii is a remake of the classic 1989 Turbografx-16 game that most of us never played back in the day, either because we didn’t own the Turbografx or that we were born years after the game came out. Whichever the excuse; Hudson Software and Backbone Entertainment have resurrected the franchise and you now have no excuse not to get into the action; but before that – the story:

There are two factions battling for supremacy on the moon in the year 2156 and as with any War we need to look into the past to understand why it started. Due to an ever increasing population and therefore a total lack of space to build anymore luxury villas on the Spanish Rivera; somebody had to find a way to free up a bit of space on Earth and do it quickly. With Ethnic Cleansing (or to give it it’s correct name; Genocide) being out of popularity the only other option was to move all of the World’s criminals to a new hyper prison newly built on the Moon.

But wouldn’t you know it, there was another reason why cheap labour being sent up to the Moon seemed such a good idea to those on Earth. There just so happened to be a wonderful, powerful and valuable new element under the Moon’s surface which needed to be mined, refined and sent back to Earth right away. Jump forward a few more years and we find that the prisoners have managed to revolt against their captors and have managed to take over the moon and use that aforementioned new mineral to start developing a massive super weapon that could destroy the Earth.

So it’s time for you as leader of the Earth’s Military to put a stop to this mess by flying to the moon and engage in a series of turn based battles to defeat those nasty baddies.

Military Madness is a strategy game set in the future on the Moon. For the most part the setting doesn’t matter because you’ll really only be concentrating on one thing: numerous amounts of futuristic tanks shooting at each other against a bland grey Moon backdrop. Nectaris for Wii is split into two straightforward modes; a Single Player Campaign and Multiplayer. In single player mode you start with a series of small enclosed maps with normal difficulty and then when you’re done with those you can move onto some larger more advanced maps.

The goal of each map is to defeat the opponent by either capturing their home base or destroying all of their units. Both require quite different tactics so which you’ll choose to do is entirely up to you, your play style and how well you are doing at the time. Each map typically starts off with both forces on opposite sides of the map with their units spread out around their home base. To confuse things a little I must explain that each of those units is actually a placeholder for up to eight actual units. To put it another way, instead of having a cluttered map the number of onscreen units is limited by grouping eight individual units into one big unit. These units never separate into their individual parts but individual ones can be destroyed when you enter battle – I’ll come to battle in a moment. Teams take it in turns to move all, some or even none of their units. Units can only move set distances and this will also vary depending on the type of ground. Flat ground is easy land based units will only move slowly across rough land and slopes.

Let’s take a look into the strengths and weaknesses of these units:

  • Walking Armour – Super tough but slow. Very effective against land and air based units.
  • Transporters – As the name suggests these can transport other units around the map at high speed. They’re rubbish in battle though.
  • Tanks – You already know what Tanks are. Very strong, but a tad slow.
  • Aerials – These are very fast and agile but not the toughest by any means. It’s best to keep moving these around attacking in short bursts.
  • Infantries – The weakest but also the most useful. Human’s in armoured spacesuits with jet packs capable of flight. These are the only units which can capture an opponent’s home base.
  • Technicals – Unlike the other units these can attack and then run away afterwards. Quick and agile but very weak too.

When it comes to attacking other units it all comes down to RPG like stats. Although the main factor in any battles is the unit(s) strengths and weaknesses, there are other things to consider. If friendly or enemy units are directly surrounding in the battle then that will alter the stats. Another contributor is if units are on flat, unstable or higher ground. Ideally you want to surround an enemy with several of your units trapping them on lower ground; this will give you the upper hand even this will not save you if you send a weak unit up against something very strong. Units can be repaired in factories but they will lose a movement turn whilst under repairs and at any time the factory could be captured by the enemy if not guarded.

The Military Madness Multiplayer mode is very similar to the single player campaign featuring just a few gameplay tweaks not really worth mentioning here. The good news is that you and up to three others can battle each-other locally or online. Sadly just like my experience of Military Madness on PS3, the Wii game also features a distinct lack of people playing online in random matches. This isn’t too bad if you have friends with the game but it may turn out you’ll be playing offline more than online until more people buy the title.

Interestingly enough the WiiWare version of Military Madness stands up very well against its higher def sibling on the PS3. Sure Military Madness on Wii is in low definition but unless they were running side by side you could probably not tell the difference. Everything looks near identical to the game on PS3 just without being displayed in high res. It’s just a shame that the moon maps are very bland (understandably I guess) and the units all look more or less the same. Sometimes the similarity in appearance was to my own detriment; a couple of times I got a bit mixed up and sent in low powered units up against tough ones. Apart from the bland visuals and a lack of analogue or pointer controls I was very impressed of the Wii port of Military Madness and award it 6 out of 10.

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Military Madness review pics

Military Madness review screenshots

Related: Military Madness: Nectaris for the PS3

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