Battle Bugs
for PC (DOS)

Mr Creosote:Popular Vote:
Company: Sierra
Year: 1995
Genre: Strategy
Theme: Cartoon & Comic / Misc. Fantasy / Humour / Multiplayer / War
Language: English, Deutsch, Francais
Licence: Commercial
Views: 53636
Review by Mr Creosote (2000-02-26)

Battle Bugs is one of the games that do not need a story. You just complete mission after mission. Nevertheless it has a naive charme because of its theme (insect battles). The military background is ironically weakened by that. Most times they are about "conquering" most of the food that is lying around. That is done by moving a "unit" near the thing that you want to conquer. Then a flag appears on it, slowly rising. If you have more bugs there the flag will rise faster. When it has reached its top you own the object. Unfortunately the enemy tries to achieve the same so that heavy battles take place. As long as both sides have insects around the food nobody owns it. Conquered targets can of course be taken over the other army if it dominates the control zone. Almost any unit has its own special ability, strengths and weaknesses. A grasshopper for example is lethal for enemys but it also is killed fast. Bees can (of course) fly and also drop bombs, dynamite or cheese (!) on the enemy. This last thing is used to stun units. All flying animals have to fear ants with missiles. These specific characteristics should be considered when planning the battle. An example: A huge mass of enemies that would easily crush you hands down comes nearer. You send your "pill bug" in their direction. The enemy army concentrates on it, so that all are on the same place and beat it up. Now your bee starts and drop its bombs on this concentrated mass. The pill bug is immune to bombs but the enemies die in the explosions. Level completed!
You always start with a pre-built army and you cannot build or buy additional units later in the mission. Therefore you have to take care of your subordinates.
To avoid hectic there is a pause-option in which you can still give orders and have a closer look at the situation.
That is espescially important regarding the time limit. The missions can often be solved in different ways but you really have to have clever tactics. Just front attacks and mass-battles do never lead to victory.
This game was surely the model for "modern" real-time strategy games in many points. As far as I know it was the first to feature group commands. The stressed concept of individual strengths and weaknesses was later credited to the (much worse) Command&Conquer series.
An especially fair feature is that you can skip mission after trying three times. Of course you can try them again later.
On the whole it is a game that shows that real-time strategy is not necessarily bad, i.e. stupid mass-battles and completely relying on luck.

Comments (1) [Post comment]

GeM (2000-02-26):

Einer der Klassiker unter den Strategie-Spielen! Wie im Artikel erwähnt, sind die Missionen bzgl. Manschaftsstärke und -ausrüstung sowie der zu erobernden Objekte vordefiniert. Wildes Drauflosrennen führt also kaum (bzw. nur während der ersten Missionen) zum Ziel. Man lernt hier spielerisch, sich einen Lösungsplan auszudenken und diesen später anzuwenden.

Fazit: Ein Klassiker mit gutem Lerneffekt und hohem (weil anspruchsvoll) Niveau.