2009/09/30 [XBLA/PS3/WII]  Military Madness: Nectaris Remake
Military Madness: Nectaris is a fully 3D remake of the original Military Madness back on the TG-16, or Nectaris on the PC-E back in 1989. It’s a tactical level wargame-lite, simpler than Advance Wars. The 32 campaign maps are the same as ever, divided between normal and advanced campaigns. The normal campaign is aimed at beginner to low-intermediate players, and the advanced campaign is around the intermediate level. Mission strategy always involves rushing to claim factories, using factories to repair, surrounding enemies for support bonuses, and using the zone of control system to block enemies movement to and from factories. I’m disappointed that they didn’t bother creating some new maps or adding a level editor. How many more decades are they going to keep reusing the same 32 missions? Even the Playstation version of the game had some extra fan made missions included.
The lack of depth, such as no ammo, gas, or resource production/unit creation, still hurts the series with its lack of creative options to challenge the player with. Combat outcomes tend to be fairly random – sometimes you’ll get the full support and terrain bonus, and sometimes you won’t get anything. This is an intentional trait of most Nectaris titles. Quicksaving is available if you feel the need to spam save/reloads to get the results you want.
The most notable addition to the game is online multiplayer for up to 4 players. Each player gets a powerful general tank with customizable buffs to your units such as increased movement. The maps and units are all predeployed much like the campaign. I do like that the developers have added both a turn limit to each game and a real-time limit to each players individual turn. The combination of limited units, limited turns, and limited real-time means games will be fast paced and over sooner than later. Unfortunately the multiplayer involves leveling up, so long time players will be at an advantage vs new players – this may be one of the reasons why the multiplayer community is small to nonexistent today.
The graphics are clean and uncluttered, and the UI is decent. Sound effects are fairly bland fare, and the music is best in the off setting. There’s not any plot or characters aside from invading the moon – it’s just level after level of bare bones strategy.
Strategic Depth: Low. It’s bare bones, even for a wargame-lite.
Strategic Difficulty: Low-Intermediate. Shallow depth and repetitive strategies, but a couple of the advance campaign missions may perplex your average gamer.
Overall Score: 6.5/10. It’s a classic, but it was showing its age a decade ago, let alone right now.