Help me enjoy X-Com

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I tried it on PC some years ago, back when CGW gave away the full game on one of its CDs, and my experience was pretty much this:

Build up my dudes, start some research, shoot down a UFO, awwww yeah, visit the crash site, OMG all my dudes are dead.

I decided that it either just wasn't for me or that I didn't have the time to put into learning how to not my ass kicked instantaneously.

But I kept hearing all these rapturous stories about it, so I scavenged up an old PS1 copy and ripped it to my PSP. Unsurprisingly, my experience on the PSP was almost exactly the same.

This game is obtuse in a way that is simultaneously infuriating and strangely compelling. I want it to yield its secrets to me, but I have no idea how to proceed. It's like a relationship, for crying out loud! So this is my dating angst thread, but for X-Com. Please, help me to love this game the way you guys love it.

Rule number 1: There is no such thing as an overkill. I mean it. If you have to level 3 city blocks to kill a single furry alien, then do it. In the beginning of the game grenades are probably the most powerful thing in your arsenal. Use them. A lot.

At the end of each turn, make you have overlapping fields of fire, and that at least some of your guys have some AP left over (to auto-shoot). If you can, make all your guys kneel at the end of their phase. This makes them lower targets and less likely to get shot. But it's a big waste of AP. So you have to be super careful. If you are patient, use staggered assault. Have half your team stay (kneeled behind cover) and move the other half forward. Then kneel those guys behind cover and have the other half move forward.

Work in pairs. Have one guy run into places to peek and use his remaining AP to run back out. Have the second guy use his AP to shoot baddies.

X-Com UFO Defense is the game we're talking about I presume. So just a few tips:

1. Be very cautious. Learn to use the buttons that will save you enough action points for kneeling/shooting, they're at the bottom left (red ones). You're a smaller target when knelt and you are also more precise when shooting. Protect your guys, they train very quickly.

2. Once you spot an alien, gang up on him. Ideally, gang up first and then start shooting, you definitely want to have upper hand and surprise him.

3. Send your squad out in pairs (at least). The other guy can at least keep visible contact with a spotted alien if the other one falls. Healing teammates is also useful.

4. Hide behind obstacles.

5. Go slowly, save some action points. That way if you are found by the aliens you can interrupt their turn and shoot. Use that to your advantage.

6. Learn the layouts of the different UFOs, there are certain places where aliens usually reside, so surprise them. Don't forget you can shoot down walls or roofs, that way you can surprise the aliens.

7. Get lasers ASAP. No messing with ammo anymore.

Keeping to this is a chore especially on larger maps, but patience pays off eventually.

Note: I may have misremembered some of the game's features, so some of it may actually pertain to Jagged Alliance. In that case I'm sorry and someone will surely correct me. Enjoy!

Not much more I can add to the above (mostly because I can't remember half of it) except that if there are Chryssalid about they should be dealt with first, from as far away as possible. Screaming is optional.

IMAGE(http://www.ufopaedia.org/images/6/6c/Chryssalid.gif)

Oh and you may want to steer clear of "Terror from the deep". If you think the first game is tough...

* Tanks are your disposable friend.

* Save and load often and as needed.

* Research lasers first and pray you can capture a Sectoid leader early on so you can research psi abilities.

* Don't worry about blowing cash on newer aircraft. An interceptor with plasma cannons works just fine and once you have the Hyperwave decoder, you can afford to wait until a UFO lands instead of trying to shoot it down.

* Set up your first base in Europe (the UK if you feel like honoring the original UFO show); there's a lot of member countries within easy reach, including Russia and the US East Coast.

* Configure all your bases so that the only room touching the hangars is the elevator, creating a choke point you can exploit in the event of an alien attack.

* Move your troops like you see in the movies; divide them up into squads, have the first squad rally around the Skyranger's exit on the first turn with each of them covering all angles of approach before heading out on the second turn. Keep them well spaced and be sure to watch your flanks.

* Destructible environments are also your friend.

* With new troops, sometimes the best strategy is to have a team assemble around the entrance to a UFO and to wait the occupants out. After about 20 turns, they'll crack open the door and start shooting at you. Put your people in the right spot and you might take them down, but be careful about a wandering alien ambushing your firing squad.

* Watch out for smoke from fires. Your troops will pass out if they're in it too long.

* Best way to make money is to build and sell laser cannons (the fighter weapon). Best profit margin and doesn't use up valuable resources you can only get from the aliens.

* Another great weapon is the blaster launcher. It's the only weapon that can blast a hole in the side of a UFO, which can give you a back door into the craft that the aliens may not be guarding.

* Everyone says the Chryssalids are the most dangerous alien, but I disagree. Aliens with psi talent are far worse. The AI only needs one alien psi or not within line of sight of your men to try to mind control them, meaning that your people on the Skyranger could be at risk before you even get them all deployed. Even worse, if one gets mind controlled and they have explosives, they can wipe your team out in one shot. Best way to avoid that is to leave any rocket launchers and the like unloaded until you're ready to fire them and have stun prods as a back-up weapon so you can knock out mind-controlled units before they can do any damage without killing them.

* Anyone who has low bravery skills, fire them. They're a liability and they won't get braver as time goes on.

More information than you can possibly imagine is available at Ufopaedia.org.

Rat Boy wrote:

* With new troops, sometimes the best strategy is to have a team assemble around the entrance to a UFO and to wait the occupants out. After about 20 turns, they'll crack open the door and start shooting at you. Put your people in the right spot and you might take them down, but be careful about a wandering alien ambushing your firing squad.

An augmentation to this strategy is to use proximity grenades placed right by the door(s). An alien opens the door and BLAMMO! especially early on when you should be more interested in surviving than in capturing live aliens.

Rat Boy wrote:

* Everyone says the Chryssalids are the most dangerous alien, but I disagree. Aliens with psi talent are far worse. The AI only needs one alien psi or not within line of sight of your men to try to mind control them, meaning that your people on the Skyranger could be at risk before you even get them all deployed. Even worse, if one gets mind controlled and they have explosives, they can wipe your team out in one shot. Best way to avoid that is to leave any rocket launchers and the like unloaded until you're ready to fire them and have stun prods as a back-up weapon so you can knock out mind-controlled units before they can do any damage without killing them.

Heed this man's words!

Rat Boy wrote:

* Anyone who has low bravery skills, fire them. They're a liability and they won't get braver as time goes on.

This one too!

To add a couple more pointers for in the early game:

* Assign people to roles - the 3 strongest people you should make heavy weapons guys - have one carry the RL, one carry the Auto Cannon and one carry the Heavy Cannon. Everyone else should have rifles. Half the people should have grenades, the other half should have proximity grenades. Everyone should have a flares. You really don't want to go into a night battle without flares.

* Sell all the other stuff you don't need (like the MG for the plane - useless, IMO - and the pistols + pistol ammo).

* Rename your people with their roles - like Anton Chekov - HW, Joe Hammurabi - RS (Regular Soldier), etc. I don't think there's a way in the battle UI to get information about a soldier, certainly not easily.

MoonDragon wrote:

Rule number 1: There is no such thing as an overkill. I mean it. If you have to level 3 city blocks to kill a single furry alien, then do it. In the beginning of the game grenades are probably the most powerful thing in your arsenal. Use them. A lot.

At the end of each turn, make you have overlapping fields of fire, and that at least some of your guys have some AP left over (to auto-shoot). If you can, make all your guys kneel at the end of their phase. This makes them lower targets and less likely to get shot. But it's a big waste of AP. So you have to be super careful. If you are patient, use staggered assault. Have half your team stay (kneeled behind cover) and move the other half forward. Then kneel those guys behind cover and have the other half move forward.

Work in pairs. Have one guy run into places to peek and use his remaining AP to run back out. Have the second guy use his AP to shoot baddies.

MoonDragon speaks the truth. Also, remember that there's no time limit on the missions that don't involve civilians - if you move just one soldier and have everyone else cover, that's ok. A few other pointers:

1) Abuse your green soldiers by having them do everything dangerous. Experienced soldiers are worth their weight in gold, and can generally hit stuff harder and more often - don't waste them on ultra-risky maneuvers like entering a building for the first time. Once you get vehicles, use them up first, then your green soldiers.

2) Patience is your friend. Due to the game's design, it is often better to simply wait in a good defensive position - the aliens will eventually come out and then two or even three of your soldiers will have all of their APs to get opportunity fire, and also get a chance to fire in their next turn as well. The games acts as if you are on the attack, but in the early game especially, you are actually on the defense. As MoonDragon says, there's no such thing as overkill. This is especially important when entering UFOs: it's much easier to kill the aliens in a crossfire as they come out, rather than going in to dig them out. This can also (heh) speed up missions in real time, as once your soldiers are in position you can simply hit Next Turn until the aliens show up and get wasted.

3) In the early game, grenades are your go-to weapon - they are the only thing that is reasonably effective at range. Most of the early-game weapons are pretty worthless, and you can sell them off. You need rifles and lots of grenades. Get vehicles as quickly as possible to add to your firepower - the rocket-launcher tanks are best for non-civilian missions, and the cannon-armed tanks are best for civilians missions.

4) Mercilessly vet your soldiers, and get rid of the ones that don't have good stats either by sending them home or suiciding them in combat. A low-stat soldier is not just a zero, but is a negative: IMO it's better to go in with seven good soldiers than seven good soldiers and one bad soldier, as he'll blow a grenade throw and drop it at his feet, shoot a buddy, or freak out and get in the way. The critical stats are bravery, throwing, accuracy, and strength in that order - you can always simply wait and have your full APs available to shoot, but if your guy freaks out, can't shoot, can't throw, or can't move because he can't carry a basic combat load, he's totally useless, as those stats are slow to improve.

Spoiler:

A buddy of mine used to arm worthless soldiers with live grenades in both hands, then run those soldiers into the enemy positions, where the soldier would be killed, but hopefully not before they dropped their grenades, which would then explode and hopefully take out the aliens. Later on, of course, weak soldiers are even more dangerous due to mind control - there's another purge of your soldiers that you have to go through once you are able to see their mental stat. I once had to get rid of a soldier with 67 kills because his mental stat was like ... 9. :(

5) There's two schools of thought on lasers: one is go for them right away for everyone, and the other is go for them later, after plasma weapons, and just have a couple snipers who can lay down some serious automatic fire with them. There's something to be said for both schools. Plasma weapons are strong, but in the early game ammo can be a problem. Plasma weapons are also a significant source of income in the early game, and using them up in fights cuts your money supply by a significant percentage. Lasers are relatively weak, but don't require ammo - which is really only important in that you can carry more grenades (yay!), though it does allow for enormous amounts of generally inaccurate automatic fire. It doesn't matter too much though, as you should rarely go out with more than a single spare clip for any weapon anyway - again, in the early game grenades are your go-to weapon.

6) Don't use doors. Make your own entrances to buildings with grenades, rockets, or cannon fire. Often, opening up a wall will expose an alien, which you can then shoot from safety. For second-floor buildings, open up holes and scout all around the building so you can see everything possible inside before sending someone up the stairs - oftentimes there will be a quiet alien in the corner that you can finish off with a well-aimed grenade or rocket instead of letting him waste your soldiers on the stairs.

[spoiler]Later, when you get the blaster launcher and flying suits, clear buildings and UFOs from the top down, rather than the bottom up - much safer that way. You can use the Blaster Launcher to create a one-square hole in the top of any UFO, then position your soldiers around the hole, wait out the aliens on that level, and then push your way down.[/quote]

7) Don't freak out about civilians. In most cases, there is nothing you can do. The main goal is to avoid killing them yourself, which docks you a lot more than if the aliens finish them off. Just do your best, and watch your fire when civilians are close to the aliens (that's another case where poor soldiers can hurt more than help).

Nightmare wrote:

An augmentation to this strategy is to use proximity grenades placed right by the door(s). An alien opens the door and BLAMMO! especially early on when you should be more interested in surviving than in capturing live aliens.

The drawback is that it negates building up the soldier's Reaction stats to the point where they can nail any alien that just happens to pop around the corner.

Nightmare wrote:

* Rename your people with their roles - like Anton Chekov - HW, Joe Hammurabi - RS (Regular Soldier), etc. I don't think there's a way in the battle UI to get information about a soldier, certainly not easily.

Wait, you can rename them?

Also, plan for failure. There WILL be missions where you die - sometimes you'll start to move one guy, and an alien right in front of the plane will reaction-fire a blaster launcher round into the plane: boom, mission over. Get a backup team and a backup transport as fast as you can, so that one failure doesn't stop your efforts. (Or, you can be a sissy and reload from your saved game - you saved right before the mission started, right?)

Perhaps these would help

UFOpedia

Xcom TFTD Tech tree (posted on SA forum)

Also, these two "let's plays" of Xcom and Xcom TFTD both done in super challenging modes may both help and entertain and confuse you.

Xcom TFTD LP
Xcom LP

1. My bases go in Chicago, Munich, and Shanghai. Sometimes Capetown. Later, Denver gets an outpost.

2. The default base layout is indefensible against invasion.

3. Bravery and reaction-speed are important. Later, psi is important.

4. I buy 2 prox. grenades and 2 electroflares for each soldier.

5. Aimed shots, aimed shots, aimed shots.

6. Kneeling takes 4 TUs.

7. Half-used magazines in guns are discarded. Half-used magazine in backpacks are kept.

Itsatrap wrote:

3. Bravery and reaction-speed are important. Later, psi is important.

I also look for health, with high health and personal armor you can maybe take a hit. One.. hit.

5. Aimed shots, aimed shots, aimed shots.

It has been shown to me mathematically in the past that your best bet is to auto shot, no matter what the range. I will quote the great "Kasey" Chang (author of one of the best text guide to X-Com in history):

If you have the ammo, use auto shot whenever you can.

Why? It ensures a kill. Let me explain:

Auto shot fires three rounds, but is the least accurate of
the three shots. On the other hand, when you use the laws
of probability, you actually come out ahead using an
auto-shot, since each shot is calculated independently.

For example, let's say chance of hitting in auto shot is
25%, and snap shot is 30% (average). The chance of
getting at least one hit out of three is 1-(chance of no
hits). So 25% hit prob AND no hit in three tries is

0.75 * 0.75 * 0.75 = 0.42

Chance of getting at least one hit is then

1 - 0.42 = 0.56, or 56%

Which is much better than 30% (but no higher than the
aimed percentage). When your accuracy improves, you
increase your chances of hitting the target multiple
times, which ensures a kill, and you use less TUs than ONE
aimed shot.

So, if no one is in the way and you have the ammo (with laser rifles and pistols your ammo is not an issue) take auto shots.

7. Half-used magazines in guns are discarded. Half-used magazine in backpacks are kept.

Yep. Also your bases have *limits* on how much stuff it will show if they get attacked. Keep your weapons cache low.. I build a manufacturing/storage base in the arctic right off the bat and just transfer a lot of my crap there. Without a hyperwave it doesn't get found very often.

Oh, and all this info will not help you enjoy X-Com.. you will be better off just turning off the light and enjoying the ride.

Nightmare wrote:

* Rename your people with their roles - like Anton Chekov - HW, Joe Hammurabi - RS (Regular Soldier), etc. I don't think there's a way in the battle UI to get information about a soldier, certainly not easily.

Wait, you can rename them?

Yeah, in the Soldiers screen. I usually name them Ripley, Hicks, Hudson, Vasquez, Drake... you get the idea.
Also, I usually add a suffix to their names as soon as I start a game. The highest Accuracy guy gets "SN" and the next two "Sn" for sniper. The highest Strength guy gets "ST" and the next two "St" so I know who gets the heavy guns.

Research Laser weapons as quickly as possible. Infinite ammo is nice.

Buy a bunch of electro light thing-a-ma-jigs asap for night missions.

Buy a bunch of Proximity Grenades. Great for laying ambushes or leaving them in front of doors as insurance nothing comes out. You can use a regular grenade to blow it up. I also toss one in front of UFO entrances until I'm in position to do an assault.

Always try to get into a crouching position for the best To-Hit possible.

The Auto-Cannon can laydown a barrage of blasts with the Auto Fire shot. Load up on the HE High-Explosive rounds and really let those bastards have it.

Slow and steady wins the race/alien invasion. Take your time. Clear everything one sector at a time, and watch out for windows and Floaters.

Aetius wrote:

For second-floor buildings, open up holes and scout all around the building so you can see everything possible inside before sending someone up the stairs - oftentimes there will be a quiet alien in the corner that you can finish off with a well-aimed grenade or rocket instead of letting him waste your soldiers on the stairs.

Personally, if I suspect that there is an alien hiding on upper floors (e.g. because I cleared out all of the ground floor areas on the map), I'll just blindly carpet bomb the upper floors with grenades.

Another hint: if one of your dudes buys the farm, you can stand over him and pick up his stuff.

Name your soldiers after Goodjers, like Prozac did in his Dwarf Fortress game. That way when they die, it'll be hilarious.

Incendiary autocannons can also substitute for flares. They are a lot easier to use in places where throwing would be hard such as into windows.

Aetius wrote:

(Or, you can be a sissy and reload from your saved game - you saved right before the mission started, right?)

In this past when I have (attempted) to play this, I've saved before the start of every single turn, giving myself near-on Dagger of Time powers. It takes a lot more time to do things if you have to replay each turn half a dozen times, but in the end, I feel it's worthwhile, maybe? If you're going to do this, keep a rotating set of save slots. For instance, keep the bottom 5 save slots available for in-combat saves.

At the beginning of your first turn, before you even step foot off the aircraft, make a save, say in slot #6, and name it "BEGIN MISSION #N" and don't write over that one. This is the save you should use if you decide to Abort the mission, because then you'll have lost nothing in game terms.

At the start of your second turn, make another save in slot #7 and call it "MISSION #N TURN 2". Continuing in this manner, save at the beginning of turn 5 on slot#10, and then save turn 6 on slot #7 again. If you ever decide that you've made a mistake and it was no earlier than 4 turns ago, you can always go back and choose a different path.
Since the alien's positions are fixed at each save point, you can effectively cheat by clairvoyantly discovering their locations and then reloading a save to go back and root them out.

Sometimes a UFO will land without you shooting it down, and your interceptors won't engage it. Then you realize you need to send in soldiers instead. Be warned, the aliens in this mission will be greater in number and will be more spread out through the map because they won't have just been shot down and crashed.

In the past I have been taught the wrong lesson - that is, to fear the grenade instead of learning to use it. More recently I've removed them entirely from my loadout. But after hearing all the comments on how useful they are, it must've been because my prior experiences were nightmares involving low bravery soldiers that would arm grenades, then freak out and run back towards their buddies to make mine a miserable day.

Even with my "save game cheating" I usually abandon the game after I hit the brick wall that is the City Terror missions. Up to this point, I've been chasing down maybe 3 or 4 crashed and injured sectoids with my band of 8 or 10 vetted soldiers, and from what I'm reading, I need a lot more firepower for these missions. Time to bring in the grenades.

Is it possible to pick up proximity grenades after you've set them?

Electroflares are reusable. Toss, advance, pick up, rinse, repeat.

First several missions, never fire those useless soldiers. Never. Instead, make them Scouts. Scouts get pistols (mostly to insert in mouth and pull trigger), electroflares and smoke grenades. Maybe one frag grenade. Maybe a stun rod. They get the job of advancing from cover to find the aliens (think Polish mine detectors). Never include more than 2 Scouts in a mission, since their deaths hurt your morale. Yes, deaths, early on you will not conclude a mission without someone dying, just try to make it the Scouts that do the dying and not your high stat HW guy. Later on you will have motion detectors, so you can use good soldiers for Scouts, at which point fire the surviving crappy soldiers.

Grenades will get a lot of kills early on. Your soldiers need to learn to aim. Kneeling aimed shots will help a lot, but expect to be tossing grenades a lot. If you can, get every soldier on a mission a hit with regular shooting and a hit with reaction fire, to improve their chances of improving their skills. High reaction fire skills and good aim are really useful. Treasure those that start that way, mourn their deaths.

Leapfrog, stick to cover, advance by squads. Scouts in first, then move in the riflemen to covering positions while the HW guys hang back. Scouts forward, HW guys move up to the riflemen, take covering positions. Surviving scouts forward, rinse repeat.

Tanks with rockets are godly. They still die. Worth it. Flank with them, at a distance, lob in rockets at reported contacts. Learn how to use them, learn how to love them.

Heavy rockets. Bring at least one HW guy with a few. Use them to 'knock lightly'. Grey sniping from inside a barn? Open the barn door by 'knocking lightly' from half the map away. Just make sure the rocketeer can hit the broad side of a barn Using the destructible terrain to your advantage is key, early on.

Autofire with explosive rounds is great. Always advance so your HW AC guy has a clear lane of fire. Erh, make that lane a three lane highway if he doesn't have great aim, yet. When the alien walks out, shoot the WALL right behind the alien. A burst of HE rounds will smack the alien around just due to overlapping AoE. Whereas aiming at the alien normally means he misses and the rounds somehow fly harmlessly off into the sky.

Be hesitant to use high explosives for reaction fire. Still, it can work, and work well. Grey walked out of a barn, the 3 riflemen all missed, the guy with the heavy rocket missed... but the rocket flew past the grey, hit the haybale in the barn behind him and the explosion killed the grey. Of course, I've had the same thing happen where the rocket landed in front of the riflemen.... closed coffin burials.

Smoke grenades can knock out aliens, and your people. Breathing smoke does stun damage. Aliens sometimes ignore stunned personnel if there are still other agents shooting at them. So, might be worth it to smoke a badly damaged agent to knock him out if that's the only option. Don't take too long to end the mission though.

Sometimes, all you can do is burn the place to the ground. I bring a clip of incendiary autocannon rounds just for that purpose. Or a small incendiary rocket or two.

Personally, I never found lasers all that useful. I normally used HE (blow that sh*t up!) and grenades (see a trend?) until I could start making plasma ammo.

Oh, and while it will take you a while to get to the point where you can use them, blaster bomb launchers are AWESOME. I called them 'the awful weapon'. Guy kneeling in the landing craft fires. Bomb goes flying out, hangs a hard left, flies along, another hard left, flies through the door agent #2 just opened, into the alien ship, up the elevator shaft, through door that agent #3 just opened, another hard left, through the door that agent #4 just opened and into the alien bridge... and missed, flew past the alien leader and hit the wall, blew up, everything in the room drops and there is a new hole in the wall. NEVER gets old.

Yoyoson wrote:

Is it possible to pick up proximity grenades after you've set them?

Once you throw Mr. Prox Grenade he is no longer your friend. Blow it up if you need to move through that area. Or send in that expendable Scout to 'pick' the prox grenade up.

if you've got some good rookies that you want to train the accuracy up on, just get them blasting away at walls and doors each turn, it'll train their accuracy and aliens have the same stats your guys do, all that random fire opens line of sight and can cause panic in hte little blighters. good tactic for milk run missions.

I generally research lasers first. Not only is the lack of ammo nice, but it is a big accuracy and damage boost over your starting weapons. I generally don't give them Plasma weapons but wait until I have heavy plasma.

I am a little lighter on the explosives than these guys are. When I am breeching a dangerous area like their space ship I'll have most of my guys outside of the door. The least valuable one walks in (just to open the door) turns around and walks out. That's the most dangerous part of the operation, a high reaction alien can shoot him in the back. Then each of my guys steps in the doorway, fires in, then steps away again. If people have lots of AP I'll have them kneel for the shot. I usually open with stun launchers for the area effect and research value, then clear out any survivors. At the end of my turn all of my guys are still outside the ship, one or two of them with high reaction times have waited unmoving covering the door in case any aliens are thinking of making trouble.

Damn you all... I'm thinking about firing this up again now. I may have to abandon Goodjer Fort to the depredations of Quintin Stone and his allies and start on GoodjerCom.

Rat Boy wrote:
Nightmare wrote:

An augmentation to this strategy is to use proximity grenades placed right by the door(s). An alien opens the door and BLAMMO! especially early on when you should be more interested in surviving than in capturing live aliens.

The drawback is that it negates building up the soldier's Reaction stats to the point where they can nail any alien that just happens to pop around the corner.

Usually there's enough opportunity to build up Reaction in the normal course of a map, especially if you always leave enough AP to make a reaction shot. And, at some point, prox grenades at the door ceases to be a viable strategy. But in the early game, I always like to keep my squaddies alive (until I run them off because their psi is too low )

Quintin_Stone wrote:

Name your soldiers after Goodjers, like Prozac did in his Dwarf Fortress game. That way when they die, it'll be hilarious.

I usually name all my noob soldiers Quintin Stone for some reason. Once they become decent, they get a real name. And you're right, it is hilarious when they die!

You bastards. Now I have an urge to play this. However, in my defense, I've never played it (somehow missed it the first time around) and feel as though I should at least check it out to see a bit of gamer history.

Questions: Does anyone know if the Steam version works without needing DOSbox lunacy? Is it worth springing for the $15 XCOM pack, or just $5 for the UFO Defense game?

Coldstream wrote:

You bastards. Now I have an urge to play this. However, in my defense, I've never played it (somehow missed it the first time around) and feel as though I should at least check it out to see a bit of gamer history.

Questions: Does anyone know if the Steam version works without needing DOSbox lunacy? Is it worth springing for the $15 XCOM pack, or just $5 for the UFO Defense game?

You'd probably be best just grabbing the first game on it's own I think - the only ones you really need to play are the first two (possibly the third, although it's very much an aquired taste and personally I wasn't a fan).

The latter two games (interceptor and whatever that horrible third-person thing was called..enforcer?) are terrible.

Of course, I'm still waiting with baited breath for the Irrational 're-imagining' of the series

I'll usually start out researching laser weapons, but as soon as I finish an encounter I dump all my effort into plasmas. You only ever need one spare clip for a mission, and I've never run out of supply in the warehouse. The laser cannon for your ship is nice though... takes forever to get the plasma cannon, and eventually you'll encounter alien spacecraft with a weapons range that is equal to or greater than the longest missiles in your arsenal.

Beyond that, research alien materials early--they open up a lot of other things to research. And alien grenades are like big slices of delicious, exploding chocolate cake. The Tier 1 armor is crap... only research it to open up more research options, and don't bother with Medkits until mid-game or later. Even with Tier 1 armor you're a 1 shot kill to alien weapons in most cases, so they'll just take up space. Needless to say, I suggest hiring as many scientists as you can afford. Alien tech improves as the game progresses as well, and if you don't stay ahead of the curve you're done for. There's no such thing as overkill in this game.

I generally play with only a few built out bases, but I'll have a ton of radar listening posts, to which I'll later add a hangar and Interceptor. Interceptors have crap range, and better to shoot everything down and miss the landing mission than letting the alien spacecraft go because your Interceptors are all busy. And countries love it when you have a base nearby, even if it is just a radar station, storage, and empty hangar. I've never been able to do the fancy base design with choke points. Most of the time I'm in such a race to build things out that I just build wherever I can. Get some missile batteries in place and leave a few soldiers at home in case the base is attacked (assuming it's one you care about). I don't think the base will be attacked until a few spacecraft have done fly-bys and left without being shot down anyway.

When you launch an Interceptor to shoot down an alien spacecraft, send out a Skyranger along with it. That way, you can begin the encounter the instant the ship is shot down, and if the ship lands unexpectedly you're right on it as well. Often you'll find the aliens all still inside or very near the ship, which beats the hell out of being shot from rooftops. Just try to avoid grenades inside the ship if possible--you'll blow up stuff you could otherwise salvage.

You should be able to get away with only 2 teams for the entire game, and only 1 team for quite a while. You'll probably want teams of 12 in the beginning and 8 later on--moving a zillion people every turn is just annoying once people aren't being killed right and left. Do your best to keep them alive so their skill will improve, and have people on standby in the base to swap in if someone is injured or killed. Drop anyone with low bravery, otherwise when they wet themselves and shoot their teammates you'll probably just kill them anyway.

I don't necessarily agree about psi powers being worse than the Chrysalids. The psi aliens are pretty easy to kill once you find them, and mind controlled soldiers are only controlled so long as the alien is alive. Chrysalids... just carpet bomb the whole damn map the moment you see one. There are research options to reduce the effects of alien psi anyway.

Build out an alien containment unit immediately, along with plenty of warehouse space. And don't bother with trying to capture aliens with the cattle prods and stun bombs. Especially if you're using grenades you'll get plenty of live captures anyway, and you'll need to throw every munition available at the aliens if you want to stay alive. For terror sites, use whatever you can find to your advantage. If an alien is in a gas station, shoot the pumps and blow up the whole damn place. If there are civilians in the way, screw 'em. The cost of a few casualties is nothing compared to losing the terror site encounter entirely.

LtWarhound wrote:

Oh, and while it will take you a while to get to the point where you can use them, blaster bomb launchers are AWESOME. I called them 'the awful weapon'. Guy kneeling in the landing craft fires. Bomb goes flying out, hangs a hard left, flies along, another hard left, flies through the door agent #2 just opened, into the alien ship, up the elevator shaft, through door that agent #3 just opened, another hard left, through the door that agent #4 just opened and into the alien bridge... and missed, flew past the alien leader and hit the wall, blew up, everything in the room drops and there is a new hole in the wall. NEVER gets old.

The Blaster Launcher wins my vote for best video game weapon ever. They're really kind of overpowered, but they're so awesome it doesn't matter. I jammed my ship with them for the final mission and it was a walk in the park. A really really fun walk in the park.

I disagree that the basic armour is worthless. Its cheap and easy to make. Even if it prevents death in 4/5 cases that still one more soldier who might make it to veterancy. But more to the point, its all you have... Power armour is VERY far away.

Bring medkits and stunrods to every mission. Every now and then you storm a UFO and find an alien alone with his back turned, easy capture. And the medkit is a must even if you leave it sitting in the skyranger.

What are your guy's oppinion of laser/cannon tanks and heavy lasers? The laser tank is cheap, expendable and reliable mobile cover in my experience, same with the basic tank to a lesser degree. My tank always shot last, or first on dangerous targets like the cryssalids. Otherwise soldiers got to shoot first to build up skill. I always ran around with a pair of heavy lasers, but everyone says laser rifles are superior. Is this true?

Well... I did it. Just when I think I'm out you drag me back in.

Welcome to GoodjerCom.

So far everyone that has posted in this thread (except Coldstream, and Complexmath, they're next) Is a Soldier.

First base is nestled in what would be the Swiss Alps, equidistant from most of the major EU capitals.

The Rules of GoodjerCom (or G-Com if you will) are as follows. Playing on Veteran, with no reloading from saves, so Ironman mode basically. Given the nature of X-Com this could lead to a very short game.

Thanks to the turnbased nature of the game it'll be easy to give each Goodjer a write up on their eventual demises... I can't wait to see what's going to happen to Quintin.

I'll also keep people up to date on promotions past Squaddie, so you know the chain of command.

Yeah I'm kinda wanting to play this now. The X-com games are amongst those proud few games that merely mentioning them on a forum probably inspires a least a half dozen reinstalls. Deus Ex is the only other I can think of off the top of my head.

I remember completing the game, but things like using reaction shots to improve the reaction stat are news to me. I do remember the game amazed me with its level of detail even then, so it doesn't surprise me. Someone needs to remake this game... properly I might add, there have been a few attempts, but they don't quite stand up to the original.

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