View Full Version : Games Review :: Jagged Alliance 2

28th January 2005, 09:44 AM
Jagged Alliance 2
System: PC
System requirements: Pentium 133 or better, Windows 95/98, 32 MB of RAM, 16-bit capable video card, 2x CD-ROM drive and a Windows 95/98-compatible sound card.

Taking place four years after the events in the original Jagged Alliance, this sequel is set in the fictional, seemingly Latin American nation Arulco, which was ruled by king Enrico until his wife Deidranna killed his father and framed her husband. She has now installed herself as the dictator of Arulco, exercising a brutal military rule over the nation, robbing the country “of its money and its soul”. Enrico is believed to be death by the people in Arulco, but he secretly contacts you to use a small group of mercenaries to start a revolution in Arulco and bring him back to power. At your disposal will be dozens of mercenaries to choose from, countless weapons and plenty of skills to outsmart Deidranna’s army, not to mention the aid of rebel leader Miguel Cordona and his top officers.

Jagged Alliance 2 is a game that consists of strategy, turn-based tactics and real-time tactics. The first thing for you to do is to recruit mercenaries from a site called AIM, which stands for Association of International Mercenaries or something similar(nothing to do with AOL, that’s for sure!), and later there will be sites for you to order insurances for your mercs or order weaponry for them. Also very nice is the site called IMP, where you can put together your own merc. At some point you will even be able to send flowers to the palace in Arulco’s capital for Deidranna’s own funeral, with a rude message!

But back to the game basics. The graphics are quite nicely done for an old game as this(1998). Initially you will see a map screen of Arulco where you can manage your mercs quickly, as well as switch to your laptop or move your mercs from town to town.

Once you enter a zone occupied or patrolled by Deidranna’s troops(or the other way around), it’s time for battle! You can have the computer solve battles when you’re fighting a patrol or when the enemy is attacking a city occupied by you, but when you fight for a new town, you’ll actually have to go in there. This is when the view will switch to an isometric perspective, and where the real-time tactics begin. You can move your mercs around, and when you spot the enemy or they spot you, the turn-based combat starts. You can fire your weapon, obviously, you can use hand-to-hand combat or bladed or blunt weapons like knives, machetes and a crowbar that can also open doors. There are many possibilities, and many ways to influence the many maps in the game with the likes of explosives, lockpicking kits and many more. Once all enemies are dead, you win. In most towns, you can train a militia of civilians to protect it while your mercs are away.

You finance your revolutionary cause by the silver mines in certain towns you have to occupy. Also, some towns have unique facilities, like an airport(great to transport weapons to!), a hospital and a gold mine. Also, there are four SAM Sites in Arulco, one located in the capitol Meduna, and the others near certain towns. Once these are taken over, you can also train militia there, and a certain part of Arulco’s airspace will be safe for the helicopter… if you can find its pilot! Certain other vehicles may also be found in unexpected places, as well as Arulcan locals willing to aid you in your cause.

Obviously, the mercenaries and the many weapons and items play a large role. All mercenaries have their own background, as well as likes and dislikes towards certain other mercs. If you put together two mercs who can’t stand the sight of each other, one is bound to leave. If mercs like each other, however, they will sometimes compliment each other, or if they feel really shitty they will only stay because of that person. Luckily all these things are set so you don’t have to spend time to let the mercs socialise with each other; this game is about strategy and action! Mercs all have certain traits like leadership, marksmanship, medic, explosives and agility, and they can also have special skills like being able to fire automatic weapons very well or being ambidextrous(read: pwn with two guns).

There are many different firearms in the game, ranging from pistols and revolvers at the beginning to automatic rocket rifles in the endgame. You can also get many varieties of armour that can be enhanced in certain ways that aren’t all as conventional, but won’t be revealed to avoid spoilage. The weapons are quite realistic, although compared to the real ones there are some things that aren’t quite as right, but you’ll never get the idea that they’re completely unrealistic. There are also explosives with certain degrees of strength, ranging from a simple TNT charge to C4.

The sound and music are done quite nicely, all mercenaries have certain vocal lines, although after a while they do get repetitive. Some locals also have vocal lines and can be talked to with certain attitudes, while others are simply nameless and an attempt to talk to them only pops up a box with a line or two. The sounds of the guns are once again not very realistic, but also not completely unreal. There are some nice music tracks, but like most of the audio, they get repetitive easily.

In short

Graphics: Quite nicely done for such an old game, many nice details although the characters aren’t quite as detailed. 7/10
Sound: Once again a decent job, despite some repetitive tracks. 7/10
Gameplay: There are some bugs, so get yourself a patch, but the gameplay is very nice and in-depth, with lots of nice little details. The game is easy to learn, but actually beating it is quite a challenge. 9/10
Length and Replayability: You’ll take quite a while to finish this one, especially if you’re hell bent on uncovering all secrets, to get all the towns well under control and want to spend hours searching maps for nice items. To make things harder, there are higher difficulty levels, a setting to give you only a certain amount of time per turn and a setting to make higher quality guns extremely rare. You can always replay the game, trying a different approach and a different custom merc. Awesome. 9/10

All in all, this is a very entertaining game, despite some flaws. It’s very old, but if you ever see it in a nearby shop for no doubt an extremely low price, do get this game for many hours of fun!

Final Score: 8.5/10