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  Allegiance - Review

Review: Allegiance
Developer: Microsoft Research Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Review by: Rob "RJCombo" Garret
Published: April 19, 2000

 

 

Finally, after a few months of public beta testing, Microsoft's Allegiance has hit the retail shelves. The game marks the first release from their in-house development team, Microsoft Research Games. We predicted that this game had a lot of potential to break boundaries and provide a fantastic multiplayer experience. So, now that Allegiance is here, does it live up to the expectations? As always, read on to find out!

Freespace meets Tribes meets Homeworld. This is still the best short answer I can give to those who ask what Allegiance is. Perhaps I should clarify in greater detail.

From Freespace, you get the action-packed space combat simulation. From Tribes, you get multiplayer ONLY, team-based play, with purchasable and customizable inventory, and deployable's. Finally, from Homeworld comes the element of 3D Real-time Strategy. Put all of it together and you've got a game with the potential to appeal across many genres. Add to that the capability to have over 100 players in a single contest, and you've just upped the potential another notch.

The game is built around "Conquest" mode, where 2 to 6 teams vie for control over the map, which is broken up into sectors of space. Each team has a commander who oversees the gathering of resources, and the use of those resources for expanding their territories and technologies. It is also the commander's duty to provide the pilots with strategic guidance. It's very much like a Real-time Strategy game, except that the combat vessels are controlled by human players, rather than computer AI.

 

Installation

78% - Mostly Harmless

REVIEW SYSTEM

  • Intel Pentium-II 400MHz
  • 256MB PC-100 SDRAM
  • 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 AGP
  • Diamond Monster Sound MX300
  • MS Windows98 2nd Edition

Like most other titles these days, the game weighs in at around 500+ megabytes. With the dropping costs of large storage devices, this shouldn't cause a problem for most users. The installation was smooth and simple, and FAR faster than the beta install. I found this surprising, since the beta was installed both to and from the same hard drive, while this install was from CD-ROM. My biggest gripe with the install was the Allegiance Server, which is used to host games on the Internet or a LAN. For some reason, Allegiance Server doesn't automatically install with the rest of the software, nor is it mentioned anywhere on the normal install menus. In order to access it, you have to manually run a separate install program that's on the CD-ROM, or download the file from the web. This simply doesn't make sense to me.

The documentation is not quite adequate. It is spread out into four areas. First is the manual, which provides VERY basic overview of how the game works. Next is the quick reference card (more like a brochure) that provides far more useful information than the manual, with control functions and a LIMITED explanation of the tech tree. The third is the training missions, which is an absolute MUST for new players. Finally, you have the help menu, which can be accessed from anywhere in the game. Unfortunately, a lot of the information players will look for is too spread out amongst these four areas, or not to be found at all. For example, the reference card indicates that the "R" key activates the "Ripcord" function. Well that's great, except that a new player won't have a clue what a "Ripcord" is. When you are in the heat of battle and need to need information quickly, this system simply doesn't work. The main instruction manual should have FAR more information than it does, period.

The game performance on my system was mostly clean. If your connection speed is up to par, the game runs smooth as silk, with only an occasional, half-second, freeze. However, if your connection can't keep up with the traffic of data, the game suffers terribly. This is most common when there are a lot of players in a single area. Still, it's a vast improvement from when we were playing the beta.

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Requirements
Operating System:
Windows 95 or 98 with DirectX 7.0
Computer:
Pentium 200 MHz with 3D accelerator card. Pentium II 300 with 3D accelerator card (recommended)
Memory:
32MB RAM (64MB recommended
Minimum 270MB of hard drive space
Video:SVGA (800x600) monitor
SVGA (800x600) video card supporting 16-bit color
Sound:
DirectX-compatible sound card
CD/ROM:
Quad speed CD/ROM Required.
Input Devices:
Keyboard and mouse required. Joystick highly recommended

 

Multiplayer Support
Multiplayer only - LAN or Internet (Players 2 - 32)
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or later or Netscape 4.0 or later

 

Additional Multiplayer Requirements
Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster modem (56-Kbps recommended)

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