Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Dear God, why?
Every time anyone whines that XCOM is not sufficiently like X-COM, I want to grab them by the lapels, or if, as is likely if they’re in my unbearably attractive presence, they are naked then by that fleshy bit near their armpits and bellow “YOU DON’T KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO HAVE THIS LOOK AT WHAT THEY THOUGHT WE WANTED INSTEAD LOOK HOW BAD IT GOT NOW LOOK WHERE WE ARE NOW AND REALISE IT’S A GODDAMNED MIRACLE” right into their faces. Then we’ll both put our rubber Sectoid bodysuits back on and do some more kissing, I guess.
By the crank ’em out standards of 2001, X-COM Enforcer is not the worst shooter in the world. But after years of promise that there would be an X-COM shooter, after years since the last real X-COM game (1997’s Apocalypse), after the similar abomination that was X-COM: Interceptor, it seemed the clearest death knell for X-COM that there could possibly be.
Enforcer bore almost no relation to any previous X-COM, other than having aliens in it, so its very existence was bewildering. While not truly an outright disaster, it felt cheap and retrograde upon release (remember, these were post-Half-Life times), was deeply tedious, was somehow simultaneously lurid and bland to behold, and we somehow had to live with the knowledge that two far more interesting-sounding X-COM games had been cancelled in place of it. It was a disaster, commercially and critically, and turned the X-COM name into all but a laughing stock.
It is a God-damned miracle that we got XCOM: Enemy Unknown 11 years later, and don’t you bloody well forget it.