Some poet chappy once said: "And the end of all our searching shall be to return to the place where we started and know it for the first time." That's a ridiculously pretentious start to anything, but the latest UFO plagiarism/tribute has brought us full circle. So cheers, TS Eliot.
After three clones by Cenega, UFO: Extraterrestrials is finally a nearly perfect imitation of X-COM. Yay!
So the game starts with some human-colonised alien world for you to defend, looking curiously like Earth. As this follows on from the first game, but assumes you lost rather than won, mankind is restricted to this last colonial backwater.
Starting with one base, you've got to defend the world from the endless ghastly alien invaders. You do so in time-honoured UFO fashion, by shooting down saucers with planes, then sending in ground troops to kill or capture. Then you research the bits, build better stuff, expand across the globe and take the war to the enemy.
There are a few changes. First, it's near impossible for your soldiers to die. Unless you lose a mission, your dead soldiers are miraculously patched up. Second, the few cut-scenes are rubbish, compared to the delightful cartoony animations of the original. Third, they've changed the aliens and done a good job of it, so there's more variety to contend with.
This is really like playing X-COM for the first time again, except 15 years on. It's fun, tough, cheap and really hard to stop playing; sometimes it's good to look back.
ET has come home