Matt Chat 60: X-Com, UFO Defense

Matt Barton's picture

Hi, Armchair Arcaders! Kick back in those armchairs and watch a new episode of Matt Chat on the Armchair Arcade Television Network (AATN for short). Even on Antsy the Aardvark would like this one. Remember him? Okay, enough silliness. Here's the eppie!

This game rocked my world! I hadn't ever played it before, and it really got its hooks into me good. It has an amazingly steep learning curve, so expect to spend some time studying online guides (unless you're really, really patient). The battles take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to complete, and possibly longer later in the game (I didn't make it all that far...yet). Imagine something like Wizard's Crown or Pool of Radiance (Buck Rogers would fit better) combined with something like Civ. It's a good thing it's turn-based, because you're going to need plenty of time to get a handle on everything that needs to be done...Whew.

Anyway, enjoy, and let me know your thoughts on this game as well as Chaos, Rebelstar, and Laser Squad (Julian Gollop's earlier games).


Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Antic Aardvark! :-) He may

Antic Aardvark! :-) He may still rise again if I ever get around to publishing the Retrogaming book...

Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy's picture
Joined: 08/31/2008
Haven't played it

I think of a friend of mine has played this one, but I haven't played it. I honestly have to say that it isn't at all like I thought it was. The depth of the initial purchases and setup is astounding, and those battles do look like they take quite awhile.

On a side note...
1: No intro??
2: The humor in this one was brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! It isn't just about the content of the humor, it is also about the delivery. Great job, Matt.

Joined: 04/27/2010
How odd.

This is just too funny. It was weird enough when you reviewed Ocarina of Time the same day that I beat it. Now you review X-Com the same day I'm starting it as part of Racketboy's Together Retro. Going over the older Matt Chats, I've played at least 2/3 of the games you've covered, if not more. My only conclusion, you guys are stalking me. Seriously though, keep up the good work. I enjoyed the video a lot, and I'll be playing this game tonight.

Oh, was that the Amiga version you were playing?

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
No, it was the PC version.

No, it was the PC version. The only Amiga clip was for Laser Squad.

I had a good time with this one, though I'm catching the usual flack about not mentioning X, Y, and Z. Apparently, there seems to be some real hostility between X-Com fans and Jagged Alliance fans. I took a look at JA. It's sadly another game I didn't play when it was fresh; you folks will recall I didn't get into PC gaming until well into the latter half of the 90s (about 96 IIRC), and pretty much ceased getting new Amiga games after about 1993 or 94. I thus have an annoying 4 or 5 year gap in my PC gaming experience that I've been trying to fill. It's almost tragic how many wonderful games that I missed out on until recent times, such as Dune II, Diablo, Ultima Underworld, etc. Hell, I didn't even get on the FPS bandwagon until...geez, come to think of it, what WAS my first FPS? If you don't count M&M VI, I guess it must have been...You know, I just can't remember. The first FPS I can remember playing all the way through was Far Cry, and did spend some time with Unreal Tournament (though I can't remember which one; I'm wanting to say 2004). Guess it just goes to show how so many of those FPS games were totally forgettable. I did greatly enjoy Half-Life and Half-Life 2 when I finally got around to playing them, but that was only in the past few years.

In any case, Jagged Alliance does look quite interesting, though. Probably worthy of a future Matt Chat. At any rate, it's nice to finally fill these gaps in my gaming knowledge.

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
The Jagged Alliance series is

The Jagged Alliance series is a favorite of mine. There's even a DS version, though I haven't heard good things about it.

Aaron Wegner
Joined: 01/20/2010
XCOM is awesome

I LOVE this game! I didn't own it when it was new, so I only got to play it a little at a friend's house. I got into it again about half a year ago or so and got hooked immediately. I think the gameplay holds up well today. I realized I was having way too much fun when I found myself recruiting more scientists and sacrificing soldiers so I could perform the research on live aliens!

As for sequels, Terror From the Deep is also a great game, but I don't think it brings much of anything new beyond the original XCOM. There are a bunch of others, including a space combat sim and an FPS which I have not played.

There are lots of games inspired by XCOM, including the whole UFO: After___ series, but none of those seem to really capture the things about the original that grab my attention.

There's a new X-COM game in the works as well which will be reviving the series as ..... an FPS. I'm reserving my excitement for the time being. There's also a game called Xenonauts coming out eventually that is supposed to be mostly a copy of the original X-COM, but with updated graphics.

John from Belgium (not verified)
A great discovery!

I only recently discovered your blog and movies on youtube. I absolutely enjoy them. Awesome work Matt!!

I'm a passionate gamer of 42 and started PC gaming around 1990.

Your movies are an absolute joy to watch. Already looking forward to next week!

Joined: 01/21/2009
I have all the X-Com games

I have all the X-Com games (good and bad) and the clones also (is a free one, but I forget the name). I cant say enough good about them. I must admit I doubt many non HARD CORE people would invest the time it takes to master them. The turn based combat at the begening is painfully slow as your troops basicly cant hit the broad side of a barn. Strange as it sounds i have played all of them to end (even the bad ones) if they had an end and you pointed out a couple things I have NEVER done!!!! I have never used a flare, and I see they are pretty nice for spotting them, you mention it increase your Aim? That would be important, dang I'm suprised I never tried it. And tanks as scouts, i used them alot, but not in that way, they where more a shield for my troops. I used gernades ALOT, to much really, you can skip the stun rods, grenades will almost always leave an alien or two alive. And the HUGE upside to grendes, the old "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades" really shines here. You dont have to be acurate, you just gota be close, much easier to kill aliens in the begining with them I found then guns. Med Kits, never used um either, no idea if they are worth it or not.
As for the others, Terror from the Deep (as mentioned by sombody) doesnt really add much, but it is a step harder (like the game inst hard enough). But its just more missions and new tech and aliens, so basicly more of a good thing.

X-COM: Apocalypse-I actually like this one but many dont. It has some major changes, core gameplay is the same except instead of a planet its just a large city you protect with Corperations that fund you. The aliens will try to take over the corperations and kill your funding. There is also some CULT that attacks you. You use cars and planes in this one to attack. One MAJOR change is a real time option. This (I THINK) is the hate/love part of this game. I like it at begining of game when your soldiers are miss-o-matic machines. You can move them in very small controled, cover mode much faster then in the first games. The slowness of the start of the game is minimised and makes the game go faster to get to the "good Stuff". Mcuh more Room to room combat, very little open area.

X-COM: Interceptor- takes the management parts and adds real time ship combat, I didnt like this game and is the sole one I never beat, i never played it much at all so cant really comment on it.

X-COM: Enforcer-FPS with some aliens you will recognise. Very poor to average FPS, wouldnt bother with it unless you are a XCOM fan.

UFO: Extraterrestrials- Pretty much an update of the orginal games, graphics are better, butsome bugs and strange stuff make it a so-so game. It looks like X-com, it sounds like X-com but its not X-com. I didnt mind it, but something was missing.

UFO: Aftermath- recently picked this up, but havent had a chance to try it.

Now i wanna replay the first X-Com.. dang it.

Matt Barton
Matt Barton's picture
Joined: 01/16/2006
An X-Com FPS??? Say it ain't

An X-Com FPS??? Say it ain't so....

If they wanted to revamp the combat, they could at least have gone with something like Company of Heroes. I loved that game.

Anonymous Anonymous (not verified)
Great video, its always good

Great video, its always good to see someone to remind this fine so far unbeaten classic. Yet there is one, serious flaw in all PC DOS version of Enemy Unknown. Mainly the difficulty level is broken - whatever you choose it will reset back to beginner, I'm not sure if Direct2Drive has fixed version of game. It is easy to check thought, you would need to start game on Superhuman and see if Medium Scout UFO has more then four Aliens on it.

The second game in the series, TFTD has larger difficulty level in strategic and tactical layer. Sometimes it makes you think that it was designed to kick in the teeth all the time. It's wise to play the first one for some time before picking this one.

Btw. there is an utility called Xcomutil, which provides fixes to both games (mentioned difficulty bug in EU) ad also has some extra settings that can make game more challenging or easier. Here is the site: best is to grab latest version even if it's beta - they are very stable. Hope it helps :)

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