June 01, 2012

[Game 021] Cosmic Wars (NES - 1989)

Translation by TransBRC

Cosmic Wars is set in the Gradius universe which is known far more for its side-scrolling shoot 'em ups.  Japan likes to make everything and anything into RPGs or strategy games and Cosmic Wars is one of the more plausible crossovers.  It plays out very similar to Famicom Wars except it's set in spaaaaaaaaace.  Two factions are available: the human Gradians or the alien Bacterians.  The factions are cosmetic only as each side has the same selection of ships, differing only in name and appearance.  Most ships have a resistance or weakness to certain types of weapons, discovered through trial and error.  The majority of ships carry two different payload types which prevents a lot of ships from becoming a 'weakest link'.  Ships prices vary wildly, ranging from 100 to 6500 spacebucks.  Each fleet can hold up to 16 different ships allowing for a myriad of possible mixes.  Further augmenting a fleet's power is the hiring and assignment of a commander for each fleet.  Commanders start off with certain base stats (initially offering more $ will tend to net better commanders) which improve when successful in battle.

Shades in space, Chadwick?
Consider yourself hired!

Unfortunately, there is no campaign mode; just a series of single universe maps which progressively add more and more solar systems.  Each solar system is a map unto itself so some of the later universes will surely become epic in their own right.  During each faction's turn, after the purchase and hiring phases, the combat phase is further broken down into three segments, with each side able to take an action per segment (if both sides have fleets available).  This means that a single fleet will get a total of six (!) segments in which to act before a faction is able to repeat the purchase and hiring phases.  This generally means a fleet will be mostly decimated before reinforcements are available (at least in the smaller universe maps).  Since the first map has just the two home systems, the Gradians (who act first) are able to launch an attack on the Bacterian home system and get three segments of action before the Bacts can even deploy their first fleet!

The first universe map.
Also known as Cakewalk.

Three segments of movement with no resistance gets us right at the doorstep of the Bacterian homeworld.

They're lucky the green swirlies
slowed me down.

I experimented with most of the ships before deciding that the bulk of my fleets will be made up of the classic Vic Vipers (the ship used in most of the shoot 'em ups) and Tommys (troopers in mobile battle suits).  Both are cheap and have high movement rates while still being able to hold their own against the larger ship classes (especially with terrain defense bonuses).

Vic Vipers are called Sun
Vipers for some reason.

Needless to say, it was not long before the inevitable happened.

Yes, but it wasn't an earned victory.

The second universe gave a single neutral solar system in which to fight over but the combination of masses of Vic Vipers and long ranged artillery ships proved to be too much for the Bacterians to handle.  I'm not going to play through all the universes but instead will skip to the last and largest one.  Hopefully this should provide the epic confrontation I'm looking for.

Hells yeah.