Earth 2150: Escape from the Blue Planet

For the uninitiated, Earth 2150, released in Europe under the TopWare moniker, is the sequel to the rather average Earth 2140, a real-time strategy (RTS) game published by Interplay a few years back. This time, however, almost every facet of the game -- including the story, engine, graphics, interface and sound -- has been created from the ground up, resulting in a stunning and immersive 3D RTS.

Unlike similar sleepers such as Acclaim's Machines and Warzone 2100, Earth 2150 may be the first mega-successful polygon-based Command and Conquer-style click-fest to grace store shelves. Mattel Interactive -- the publisher on this side of the pond -- is certainly banking on it.

Back again is the post-apocalyptic struggle between the United Civilized States and the Eurasian Dynasty for the sparse natural resources left on Earth. This time around, the war between these two powerful rivals has wreaked such havoc on the planet that it's caused minor but irreparable damage to the Earth's orbit. An independent colony of scientists living on the moon (known as the Lunar Corporation) predict Earth is now moving closer toward the sun and will eventually be no more. Instead of working together on a collective evacuation plan, each side furthers its own agenda to save only themselves, and the war grows more bloody. To make matters worse, the once neutral Lunar Corporation decides to militarise its forces in a three-way battle for survival.

The intro CG cinematics that set this tone before the game begins are absolutely a must-see, but the game itself is equally stunning. The player first chooses which faction to join (each side has its own attributes and strengths/weaknesses, of course), and then once the mission objectives are given, the camera glides over a true 3D landscape to start this epic fight. And epic it is -- the single-player game features over 90 non-linear missions, plus a bundled map editor and multiplayer support for up to 15 simultaneous players over a LAN or the Internet.

The goal in Earth 2150 is to collect resources from the environment to fund a diverse assortment of war-ready men and machines and, of course, annihilate the enemy before they annihilate you. Ultimately, you must abandon this doomed rock called Earth, don't forget.

A number of gameplay features separate this title from the pack. Most importantly, I've yet to play an RTS where the tactics used to fight a battle rely so heavily on the environmental conditions or will vary so greatly because of them. That is, Earth 2150 adds real-time day and night cycles, weather effects (rain, snow, fog and thunderstorms), and environmental changes as the Earth moves closer to the sun (meteor showers rain down, lava spews from underground, and river tides rise, for instance). On top of this, the terrain is deformable and, based on the beta installed on my PC, using and altering the landscape must be mastered in order to successfully destroy the opposing factions. For instance, you may dig trenches to entrap enemy vehicles (and if it rains, it further aids your defensive tactic). Not only are there land, sea and air battles, there are also subterranean manoeuvres for surprise tunnel attacks. Unlike the stale top-down view of Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, this game features a lush, multiple-camera system that is truly something to see.

As a quick note on the non-combat portion of the gameplay, building creation falls into four categories: Production, Economic, Defensive and Other. Military and civilian units must also be created and, as a nice twist, they're all completely customisable with variable weapon, chassis and special power-up selections. Research centres offer better features over time.

The beta of Earth 2150 seems quite polished, so anxious strategy aficionados can expect this game sometime before the spring. Let's just hope Mattel Interactive takes the time to make sure all three sides are well balanced (complicated by the unit customisation, no doubt) and the multiplayer code is stable for smooth Internet play. If this pre-release version is any indication, Earth 2150: Escape From the Blue Planet may very well be the defining RTS of the year.

Product: Earth 2150

Publisher: TopWare Interactive


Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Marc Saltzman

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?