MobyGames Classic: X-Com: UFO Defense

By Shack Staff, Jan 11, 2012 3:30pm PST

Ask fans about X-Com: UFO Defense and you'll likely be told enthusiastic stories about what's largely regarded as one of the turn-based genre's seminal strategy games. The game put players in the role of the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit (X-COM, for short), a secret squad responsible for fending off an alien invasion by assimilating their technology. Tactical combat, global strategy, UFO lore, and a heavy emphasis on resource management joined a host of player-driven customization options in order to create X-Com: UFO Defense's incredibly beloved formula.

Today we add 1994's classic strategy title X-Com: UFO Defense to our growing list of video game classics, presented by MobyGames.com.

In his Moby Games review, titled "Best PC Game Ever," Tim Scott notes that while certainly a classic, X-Com is one of the few games that holds up well, even though it's just a couple years shy of being two decades old. "X-Com is one of those rare games that gets just about everything right," Scott states. "I've always thought this was one of the best games I ever played for the PC, but recently began wondering if nostalgia was simply making it out to be more than it was. I've been playing it recently for a week straight, and have quickly come to the conclusion that this IS my all-time favorite PC game," he explains.

Moby Games reviewer James P. Wong also notes how well the game conveyed a sense of atmosphere and tension that was atypically strong for a turn-based strategy game. "The game also captured a very eerie atmosphere for a turn-based game," Wong writes. "Sometimes a mission would involve exploring a farm in the pitch black of night, with only lights from the troops to see just a few feet around. I know others understand how startling it may have been to follow along a fence, turn the corner and then suddenly realize that a Sectoid was right in their face. Were there enough action points to do something else?"

Much of the sentiment relayed via X-Com's Moby Games reviews echo that of Moby Games reviewer Zovni, who gushes: "X-Com's is the crowning achievement for PC hybrid/genre-bending games," . "No other game had ever managed to combine strategic depth, resource management, rpg-ing and tactical squad-based combat into a cohesive and well-crafted package. Truly the game is amazing, even by today's standards."

Tell Us Your Stories! We want to hear about your experiences with X-Com: UFO Defense. Tell us your stories. Why did you love it? What drove you crazy? Remember it fondly with us in the comments below. We'll select some of your thoughts and memories and add it to a Weekend Update to this feature.

X-Com: UFO Defense on MobyGames.com

In the year 1998, the amount of reports of UFO sightings has been drastically increased. Stories about abductions and alien attacks became more and more widespread. Finally, after various nations of the world have failed to intercept the UFOs, their representatives met in a conference of global importance in Geneva, Switzerland. It was eventually decided to organize a secret paramilitary group, dubbed Extraterrestrial Combat Unit (X-COM). Starting with one base, two fighters, one transport, and a few soldiers, X-COM must locate the aliens, learn about their origins and technology, find out where their base is, and destroy it.


    MobyGames Classic is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry with the help of our sister site MobyGames.com. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community.

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