This is easily one of the best games I’ve ever played. I’d rank it at #2 out of my top 5 favourite games. With Starcraft: Broodwars being #1. Easily the best “Turn-Based Strategy” game I’ve ever played. The Civilization games have NOTHING on this.
I don’t even know where to begin with this game. It’s old but it still holds up better than virtually every game I’ve played today. Not only for replay-ability but for how deep this game is philosophically and intellectually. If you honestly haven’t played this game; I highly recommend you do.
Depending on if you have the expansion or not but for the sake of this entry we’ll just talk about the original for now. You can play as 1 of 7 factions. Each with their own very unique agenda and personalities…
Copied from Wikipedia:
SMAC takes place in the Civilization universe, beginning in the 22nd century, and follows the space-race victory in Civilization II. The premise is that the United Nations has sent the "Unity" colonization mission to the Alpha Centauri planet Chiron ("Planet"). Advanced aliens had conducted an experiment in planetary-level sentience on Chiron, leaving behind monoliths and artifacts. Unfortunately, the experiment was a disaster, creating a hundred-million-year evolutionary cycle ending in the death of all animal life. After the disaster, the aliens split into the Manifold Caretakers, who opposed further experimentation, and the Manifold Usurpers, who favored further experimentation. Immediately prior to the start of the game, a reactor malfunction wakes the crew and colonists on the Unity early and irreparably severs communications with Earth. After the captain is assassinated, the most powerful leaders on board build ideological factions with dedicated followers, conflicting agendas for the future of mankind, and "desperately serious" commitments. As the ship breaks up, seven escape pods, each containing a faction, are scattered across Planet.
Out of the 7 factions I personally like University of Planet the most.
Granted each faction has their benefits and downsides, I think if you can rush the secret project “Hunter-Seeker Algorithm” and finish it first, you’ll be extremely far ahead.
My 2nd most favourite faction to play is Morgan Industries.
The amount of wealth you can amass early in the game is pretty high compared to everyone else. You can set up a pretty good infrastructure but the limited base sizes and lack of support for military units is pretty crippling.
I also have a few early game strategies built up for every faction. The Spartan Federation being the strongest I think since you get rovers immediately. Just rush your tech and get particle impactors. It lays waste to the other factions early game. This also works with any faction as well though, but I find it less effective.
The story in this game is also really deep. No matter how many times I’ve played this game I still find it interesting and very immersive. (With the expansion pack you can play as Alien factions which I feel add a whole new level to this immersion since they bring their own story into the game.) Over the course of the game you find out that the planet is actually a semi-sentient being, which is learning and observing you. Unsure if you’re there to help it or destroy it. Here’s a memorable quote that planet gives.
“You are the children of a dead planet, earthdeirdre, and this death we do not comprehend. We shall take you in, but may we ask this question--will we too catch the planetdeath disease?”
Just by posting that quote I don’t feel it does much justice without playing the whole game. I find that alone really deep, since the planet understand that humanity has come from a dead planet (Earth). There are a lot more memorable quotes. Most of them I find are done by Chairman Sheng-ji Yan. His quotes are more focused on the fundamentals of what makes us human and what our objectives in life are. Also he talks a lot about what is really the purpose of life.
“If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only purpose is life itself.”
“What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output.”
Both of these are Yan’s quotes that I absolutely love.
I’ll continue with another entry later on talking more about my strategies and play-style. As well as my adventures on playing the 2nd hardest difficulty the game has to offer.