32MB DX9 compatible video card
Windows XP SP1
Left Behind: Tribulation Forces is a standalone expansion to Left Behind: Eternal Forces. You don’t need the original game to play; in fact you get all 37 Eternal Forces missions in the box. It’s recommended that you play through those before embarking on the new story line. The retail price for this game is $29.99 and for those who already have Eternal Forces, you can get an upgrade CD for $9.99.
What is included in this expansion?
Besides getting a fully patched version of Eternal Forces, you get five new story line missions for the second chapter, Tribulation Forces. There is a new single and multiplayer game mode call skirmish. In this mode you choose a map, what team you want to play, and how many allies or enemies you want. To win you have to earn and maintain a certain number of points. To gain points you have to win over neutrals to your side and build up your forces.
There is a new group you can play, The American Militia. This is an army that is neutral spiritual wise and they are allies with the Tribulation Forces and combat the Anti-Christ’s army. With the American Militia there is no peaceful way to neutralize the enemy. Fortunately, when you do kill them, there is no blood.
This is a strategy game and you will be playing as the Tribulation Force as well as the American Militia. When you start a level there will be primary objectives that you will have to complete in order to progress to the next level/mission. There may also be secondary objectives that can give you a bonus if you complete those too.
Even though there are only five levels, they are pretty time consuming and have multiple outcomes based on decisions you make during them. For example , one mission lets you choose between three spots to set up a base. Based upon where you set up your base, will determine your next objectives. Another level has you decide which hero you will send to aide the American Militia. If you send Buck you will have to stop some demons, but if you send Chloe, you'll have to set up a clinic and heal wounded soldiers.
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 looks very similar to the original game. There have been some enhancements such as vehicles changing their appearance when they take damage. The maps are better lit and the streets are wider, but you can still cause traffic jams with your army tanks. The maps are still a bit bland color wise, but this isn’t a happy time to live in either. The character models are all the same as far as I can tell.
The voice acting is good and while you are waiting for your game to load, the story is narrated for you. It gets a bit annoying to hear it over and over again as you load up your saves though. The sound track is the exact same as the original game; there are no new tracks added. It’s still pleasant to listen to as Chance Thomas did a good job. If you like the soundtrack, you can buy it from iTunes. They have some samples here: http://www.eternalforces.com/soundtrack.aspx
The game interface has had some major improvements. There is a turbo button, which can make sending units to a site go by much faster. There are also new short cut buttons that allow you to select unit(s) and with the click of a button send them to the closest church, training center, clinic, and others. These enhancements are definitely helpful.
Although I did not experience any game crashes, I did encounter some game design issues. Some of the shortcut buttons did not recognize the building I wanted to send the units to, even though the buildings did exist. Another glitch I encountered was on the final mission where I had to set up a second base, which I did, but not in the area it expects me to. I had to set up a third base to achieve that primary objective. On the final mission there is a spy that will end your mission if he dies; that flag would have helped in another mission where I lost a couple of units that would have helped me finish a primary objective. Unfortunately I didn’t realize I need those units until they were already gone and completed all but that one primary objective. I have notified Left Behind Games about these issues so hopefully there will be a patch to fix them soon.
One other annoyance I noticed is that you have to have your CD 1 in your drive to play the game. If you have CD 2 or no CD in your drive, it prompts you to begin a free four hour trial. This caught me off guard at first.
This game promotes peaceful missions but when you are playing as the American Militia there is no way to convert enemy units, so you have to kill them. The Tribulation Force prefers spiritual warfare and your group will lose spirit points if things have to end in violence. One thing I thought was peculiar was that the American Militia recruiter would only recruit men. There are women in the army last time I checked.
There is multiplayer support but I didn’t see any games for me to join. There are some keys you can hand out to your friends for them to play online with you for free.
This is a definite improvement over the previous release. I like how they bundled in all the original Eternal Forces missions so I can finish from where I got stuck previously. There still isn’t much of an online community, so if you get stuck, there’s little help out there on the internet. With the added skirmish mode and the multi-choice levels there’s a lot of game play time, but five missions seems a bit sparse. The asking price of $30 new or $10 to upgrade the game is very fair. If you bought the original Eternal forces this is a worthwhile expansion to get. I did not see a demo of Tribulation Forces available so in order to try it you’ll have to borrow someone’s CD to activate the four-hour trial.
Game Play 15/20
-4 for killing in self defense
-1.5 for stereotypical biases +
3 for delivering good moral lessons
Final Score 85%