Total Annihilation: Commander Pack Synopsis

Total Annihilation: Commander Pack gives players who missed the originals a chance to experience the games that have won more than 50 awards worldwide. Even veteran fans of the series can revisit the fully realized alien worlds, landscapes, and missions from a nostalgic point of view. The pack contains three games and one strategy guide.

When considered in total, Commander Pack offers a significant amount of gameplay: 245 units, 175 missions, 90 multiplayer maps, and 12 3D worlds. Games in the collection include Total Annihilation, the original that begins the struggle between the two major factions of the ARM and the CORE, Total Annihilation: Battle Tactics (100 quick scenarios) and Total Annihilation: The Core Contingency expansion.

Topping off the collection is The Official Total Annihilation Strategy Guide, a 275-page compendium with winning strategies, scenarios and complete maps for all 50 single-player missions in Total Annihilation. It also includes insider tips and strategies from ten members of the Cavedog design team.

Austin Powers: Operation Trivia Review

Austin Powers: Operation Trivia is a lot of fun to play, even if you’re not a fan of either of the Austin Powers films. It is a basic trivia quiz game, but it features enough questions to keep the replay value high, as long as you have some knowledge of popular culture from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s.

If Austin and his diabolic counter-part Dr. Evil annoy you, though, you may want to steer clear of this game, as it’s simply steeped in the look and feel of the movies. A voice actor portrays both characters, and he does a pretty good job, although there are a few spots where his imitation falls flat. The very first question decides whether you’ll play with Austin Powers or Dr. Evil. A sample: “What is your idea of a romantic evening?” Answering “Burt Bacharach on the hi-fi–me on you, baby” puts you with Austin while answering “To hold the world hostage with someone I really care about” will cause you to wind up with Evil. This is also a great example of the kind of humor which runs through this game. Even if you haven’t seen the films, you’ve probably heard “Oh behave!” or “shagadelic.”

The look of the game is straight from the ’60s, complete with plenty of primary colors, multi-colored flowers, and the kind of curvy writing which used to grace Grateful Dead concert posters. Each question has a segue which usually contains silhouettes of girls in mini-skirts and go-go boots dancing and a swirl of colors reminiscent of a lava lamp. You progress through a series of ten questions, each one of four types, from straight question and answer to deciding which items belong in your category and which belong in your opponent’s (I did really well in “Brady Bunch versus Gilligan’s Island plots” but bombed in “Clint Eastwood movies versus condom brands”).

My first time through the game I did pretty badly, but the second time I won (if you play the one-player version you have to win more than a certain amount of money that your counterpart won earlier while answering the same questions; you can also play against each other or in teams), so the mix of questions is hard enough that you won’t get all of them right but easy enough that you won’t feel like you’re watching Jeopardy. My only complaint in this department is that there are too many questions taken directly from the Austin Powers films, and they’re usually the kind that you would only know if you were a big fan of them. Don’t penalize those of us who haven’t seen them twenty times each.

Overall, if you enjoy games of this type and aren’t annoyed by Austin Powers, you’ll have a lot of fun with this one, especially if you play it at a party with friends. It’s not as much fun playing it solo.

Graphics

Plenty of fun ’60s-inspired graphics.

Sound

Good overall, but it was too low on my machine, and the voice actor didn’t always sound like Austin Powers and Dr. Evil.

Enjoyment

Lots of fun, especially if you like the movies, but I can see this going over really well at a party.

Replay Value

The format is always the same, so I can’t see this as a game that you’ll want to play over andover again.

Documentation

Adequate.