The far side of the moon is something that used to be kept a deep, dark secret from the world. Part of it never faces us, and this mystery has inspired imaginative things like the title to Gary Larson’s comic, The Far Side. That is, until NASA ‘˜proved’ that the other side of the moon looked just like the one we know. Well, that must have been faked just like the moon landing, because there is apparently an advanced civilization biding their time until 2012, when they will attack, and the developers of Earth vs. Moon know exactly how to prepare us for that– by simulating it.
This game puts you in the shoes of the U.N. Missile Commander, guiding the missile defense system to defend dear, sweet Earth. Something we noticed right away was the game’s sense of humor, from the tutorial with its well-mannered training simulation, to the Epic Fail stamps you receive when you lose. But the best source of humor in the game lies in the printings of the New Earth Times, which come out every few missions chock full of the latest news about the pesky moon aliens, as well as social commentary on the matter. You even get a chance to see the first printing of the New Moon Times in case you get one of those Epic Fail stamps.
Now aren’t you glad we splurged on that missile defense system?
Earth vs. Moon features three defense satellites hovering over Earth, while all manner of enemies rain down from above. The enemies are numerous and varied, but the most common are the missiles which are fired down at Earth ceaselessly. Your goal is to fire missiles into the other missiles, taking their flight speed and your ammo into account, creating chain reactions of explosions while protecting your satellites and the Earth itself.
Anyone who has loves early gaming will recognize some beloved pieces of the past here. There are five boss battles in the game, each invoking a bit of nostalgia. For instance, the first boss, the Moon Armada, is easily recognizable from a game that helped inspire this game’s creation, while another is a humorous incarnation of Pong (called the Ceremonial Moon Ball).
Revenge of the Mooninites.
Each level gives you a rating of one to five stars at its completion, based on the number of missiles you used, and how much of Earth is left. Even if only 1% is left, you can still complete the level, using the Adam & Eve theory of repopulating the Earth. However, just squeezing past levels with 1% left is not actually that hard to do, given the difficulty of some levels. There aren’t any difficulty settings, and while the curve doesn’t really get that steep until the double digit levels, it gets quite tough there, forcing you to read the same printing of the New Moon Times over and over, including the scary bit about Moontanamo Bay.
Earth vs. Moon is truly a well-crafted missile command game. Its sense of humor is a welcome addition, and its clever story, even given its genre, is just one of the ways in which this game goes above-and-beyond its fellows. If you’re fond of missile command, you’re sure to love this one, and gamers of all types are almost certain to enjoy it as well.