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Have You Played... X-COM: Interceptor

unwanted flying objects

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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There was a time when I’d buy anything X-COM. I sometimes look at people who have an entire room dedicated to collectibles and tat based on a specific franchise and think, “there but for the grace of Gollop go I”. If there’d been X-COM cereal, I’d have bought it. Action figures, of course. Comics, watercolour paintings, boardgames, plushies, chocolate bars…the Saturday morning X-COM cartoon would have been a precious thing indeed. Actually, yes, I’d still like an X-COM cartoon.

As it turned out, I just ended up with a copy of X-COM: Interceptor. Enforcer too, but Interceptor is the one I remember best.

The disappointment wasn’t that I’d bought a crappy spin-off, it was that I actually wanted a space sim set in the X-COM universe. For, you see, that’s what Interceptor was. Set after the events of the first two games but before Apocalypse (though it was released afterwards), Interceptor sees humanity looking for resources in space, having burned through everything back on Earth. Idiots.

Aliens are waiting for them out there in space, of course, and they’re planning yet another doomsday event that will shatter our planet into pieces. So you manage space stations, send Interceptor squadrons out on missions, and then zip around in flight sim mode shooting down alien craft while trying to coordinate your wingmen. It could have been great, or mediocre even, but all I can remember is bad jokes, tedious combat, and no real sense of flight.

If the spin-off cycle begins anew, I’d like a survival horror X-COM game about a civilian trapped in a city during a terror event, but if there is another stab at an Interceptor style title, I’d give it a shot. No more Enforcers though, please.

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Adam Smith

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