Do you remember "X-Com: Terror from the Deep"? It was one of the best games of the time, and it still holds up to this day. Basically, it’s a strategy game where you defend the earth from an alien invasion, one that originates from the depths of the seas.
The main game screen shows Earth, indicating your bases and known enemy locations. It’s got options to bring up the various other game screens, and to speed up time while you’re waiting for enemy sightings.
The first thing you do is build your first base, but you can build more later on, assuming you have the necessary funding. You can keep adding modules to your base, giving it more capabilities. All types of modules are not available from the start – you need to research and develop them first.
You have control of a bunch of soldiers, which you can send on missions to known enemy locations. Early in the game, you mostly visit alien crash sites, to retrieve valuable tech which you can use for research, while later in the game you’ll be invading alien bases in order to defeat them.
The missions part of the game is quite complex, and it is important to equip your "Aquanauts" according to what you expect from the mission. The game is turn-based, and you have a limited number of time units available, which is used for everything from walking to firing weapons, and even moving items to the Aquanauts hands from other locations.
A lot of missions take place under water, but some are land-based missions, and the game mechanics in this area of the game works exceptionally well – you can tell they spent a lot of time on it.
In the game, there’s also a "Ufopedia", a type of encyklopedia which is constantly changing and expanding as you find new alien technology and perform research, providing invaluable information about everything in the game.
I think one of the reasons this game is so fun (apart from being extremely well executed), is that it successfully mix two different game styles: The turn-based squad-managing in the missions, and the high-level research and resource management.
I never played the later games of the series, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. The sequal, X-Com Apocalypse, looks like this:
And… well… it’s more high-res, but looks pretty lame compared to the nice pixel-art of the previous games. I think what they’ve done is made pretty weak 3D models and rendered them out, which was probably quicker/easier, but made it look so bad that I don’t even want to play it.
Even the encyklopedia looks quite weak… A perfect example of a case where more advanced technology have made a game look worse rather than better.
And for the most recent addition, X-Com: Enforcer, they lost the plot alltogether:
I mean, this isn’t even the same type of game! I haven’t played it (and I certainly won’t either) but from what I’ve read, it’s a pretty generic shooter, with the strategy element gone completely.
Another proof that the games industry has been constantly regressing since the 90s, with games becoming worse and worse with every new advancement of technology…