System Requirements 2GHz CPU 512MB RAM 1GB HDD Space 32MB GeForce MX440 or ATI Radeon 8500 DX 9 sound card 8X CD-ROM Windows XP ESRB Rating: Teen Based on the Left Behind book series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, Eternal Forces takes place after the rapture. For those who are left behind they have to learn the real reason why millions of people disappeared in an instant and discover the evils of the AntiChrist and his army. Your primary focus is to save people by trying to reach as many as possible before it’s too late.
I can’t tell you how many single player missions there are in this game since I have not beaten it. I’m stuck on level seven and I can’t find any tips on gamefaqs.com or on their only fan site eternal-forces.net. There is no difficulty adjustment so I can’t make the game any easier on myself. Left Behind Games promises a free strategy guide if you register but it is yet to be released. The multiplayer portion is GameSpy based and I did not see any games available to join, nor would it let me host one. I know how to disable ports and how to disable my firewall etc but I still failed to get a game going online. This is a shame since the game comes with a gold registration key and seven silver keys you can give to friends to have them play you online (if you can connect that is). When you play online you can play as the Tribulation Force (good guys) or the Global Community (antichrist army). There is a nice tutorial to teach you how to work the interface and get familiar with the various keystrokes and commands. The game manual is very thorough and well written, inside the manual you will find handy keyboard shortcuts to learn and love. The beginning missions get increasingly harder and the “defend the chapel” missions (7&12) I have played, are really tough since you can’t attack with force but with prayer and singing. Each mission has primary and secondary objective to complete. Once completed you can read about clues you have discovered about the disappearance. In the background while reading about these clues you will hear various Christian songs and you can find out more or buy the song from a link in the interface.
Like many RTS games you have to gather resources such as money, food and housing. One of the unique features of this game is the spirit points. Everyone has spirit points, which affects their role. People are friends, neutral, or enemies. A disciple can easily convert neutral units. If one of your friends’ spirit level drops too low they will become neutral again. You can convert enemies by raising their spirit points. To raise your spirit points you have to pray or if you’re playing as the enemy, the equivalent is cussing (no you really don’t hear what they’re saying). Singing is a power that both good and evil units will use to boost/lower points of surrounding units. Many missions will use this spiritual warfare in lieu of combat. In fact combat has a drastic effect on your spiritual points, so soul winning is definitely preferred. Many characters appear in this game as heroes. If their spirit points drop too low, you will lose the mission.
There are many different positions for your newly recruited friends to fill. They all require training and there are a few roles that are gender specific. You can train your friends to become builders, recruiters, musicians, medics, and soldiers. Each of these positions has higher levels to train to, thus allowing your units to works faster and be more efficient. One annoyance with the graphics is that all the units of a particular group look alike. One nifty feature is that each person has a life story that you can read if you’re inclined to. When it comes to combat there are turrets, humvees, helicopters, and tanks at your disposal. You have to have the proper facilities to create and deploy these units. There are more than humans that attack you. Evil spirits will wreak havoc on any nearby person so stay alert!
This game takes place in New York. I’m not sure how accurately it’s depicted, but they say they used actual city photos when designing the game. Ads appear on the buildings if you stay in one spot for a few seconds. I guess that’s the equivalent to a billboard. As I mentioned earlier all the character types look similar so it’s hard to tell them apart. To make matters worse it’s easy to lose your units between buildings too. The maps are not very colorful but then again it’s not a happy cheerful place anymore and the world is going downhill with the rise of the antichrist. The in-game movies looked really nice and the quality was pretty good. Many of the actors used looked similar to those in the Left Behind movies.
I must say that I love the musical score in this game, so much so that I bought it off of iTunes. The music is written by Chance Thomas who composed the music for many games including Lord of the Rings, King Kong, X-men and Unreal II. The voice acting is pretty good; I liked the narration before each mission. Each character type has a few phrases they say when you click on them. Some of the phrases get a little repetitive. I think the latest patch toned down the “Praise the Lord” phrase from the disciple units, which was a little corny.
There are numerous keyboard controls to learn so there’s a bit of a learning curve. Once you have those mastered, it’s all downhill from there. The AI can sometimes get stuck behind objects and prevents them from getting to their target.
This is a Christian themed game so it’s pretty family friendly. There is violence but you’re penalized for using it. There is no blood or gore. You can play as the antichrist’s army, which I think adds variety to the game. Unfortunately since I was not able to play multiplayer I was not able to play them. The characters are dressed modestly if not dorky. The friends wear outfits similar to Ned Flanders. (Check out the screenshots to see a close up!)
This is probably the most hyped-up Christian game to hit the market. Unfortunately the game play is a bit frustrating and there is no active community supporting this game whatsoever. The developers are releasing patches that improve gameplay and there is a sequel in the works. Hopefully they will allow you to adjust the difficulty and I hope the multiplayer works. The spiritual warfare aspect is neat but a bit frustrating at times. I guess it’s okay when you use it on the enemy but it stinks when it’s used on you. J I have to admit that it’s a bit unrealistic losing your faith just because you hear cussing or rock music by evil musicians. Then again, it’s just a game.
Final RatingsGame Play 12/20 Graphics 7/10 Sound 8/10 Controls/Interface 2/5 Stability 4/5 Appropriateness 47.5/50 -4 for killing in self defense -1.5 for stereotypical biases +3 for delivering good moral lessons
Final Score 80%>