System Requirements
Supported OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP/Vista
Processor: Pentium® 4 1.5 GHz or Athlon® XP
Memory: 1024 MB RAM (2048 MB recommended)
Graphics: 3D card with 128 MB VRAM (256 MB recommended)
Hard Drive: At least 2 GB of free space
Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
DirectX® Version DirectX 9.0

Stalin Vs Martians is a silly 2D real-time strategy game that relies on humor and wit more than actual game play. It\'s simplistic strategy in that it does not require building barracks, or upgrading and collecting resources to build your army. Instead, as you kill the attacking aliens, they will drop coins that consist of powers ups and money to expand your troops. Unfortunately, the coins disappear much too quickly and moving your army to grab them in time is another challenge in itself.

When you first launch the game it will ask you to stand up while the Soviet flag is displayed and their national anthem is played. This can easily be skipped past by a simple mouse click. The silliness does not end there. Instead of a useful options menu with abilities to adjust the screen resolution, I am asked if I like cats and have the option of a revolutionary or orthodox keyboard layout. The sound options on the other hand, are nice where you can adjust the music volume and enable 3D sound.

The game\'s premise is pretty basic. Aliens are invading Russia and Stalin commands you to show them that mother Russia will fight back. Your objectives are given to you on a clip board and the mission letters are signed off with XOXOX by Stalin himself. As you progress in the game, you\'ll eventually get a really big Stalin to aid your army. There are twelve single player missions and they have various objectives that have to be completed to advance to the next level. The objectives will vary from defending and claiming villages, but you\'re job is mainly to vanquish the aliens. You\'ll get special powers and artillery with each level beaten. There is no multiplayer support and you cannot play as the aliens.

You will have access to infantry, tanks of various speeds and armor classes, and air strikes. Later on in the game you can use Anthrax to weaken the enemy and Historical Inevitability will clear the whole map for $650. All of these cost money so you have to collect those coins before they disappear in five seconds.

Although I like the music in this game (I have weird musical taste) it really doesn\'t fit. The music is techno, dance, euro pop which doesn\'t really belong in a real time strategy game. The only thing that somewhat ties the music and this game together is that some of the lyrics are in Russian, so I have no idea what they are talking about. The sound effects are nothing spectacular. The aliens make boop noises and the soldiers repeat the same phrases constantly. The phrases include "My name is Ivan and I like you", "I\'m like Bolshevik on Bicycle", "I Worship Communism", "Speak Russian or die" and what I hear the most is "I\'m Dying". That pretty much sums up the sound.

Graphically this game will not blow you away. Once I edited my config files, I got the game to run at my LCD\'s native resolution thus correcting the blurry model look. There are a few aliens models but the two most prominent look like pikmin and the green three eyed aliens from Toy Story. The box art on the game looks attractive and the dancing Stalin may bring a smirk to your face, but nothing else is worth writing about here.

One of my frustrations in this game is that there are no difficulty level settings. If you don\'t play the levels just right you\'ll get walloped thus making the game play more trial and error than strategy. The coin system is unique but not implemented in a logical way. Controlling the units is clunky at best. It\'s a pain to control huge armies only to have them being attacked by aliens that are off-screen. The balance really favors the aliens in my opinion. There isn\'t much of a community or any walkthroughs available, so if you get stuck, good luck.

When it comes to stability there are some bugs, like the cost of a power up says that it\'s 500 in the menu but it is really 650. Supposedly there will be a patch that will add graphics options to the options menu; I\'m not sure what else they plan on fixing. I had no problems running or installing this game.

As for appropriateness issue there\'s many things to bring up here. Although some of the songs have Russian lyrics, I did pick up an F-bomb in English at the end of a song called Stalinator. There are movies in the game and in one of the music videos it shows cleavage and sexual imagery. The violence in this game is pretty mild and cartoonish; there is no blood or gore, just slime and coins.

This game retails for twenty dollars or less. If you insist on buying it, don\'t pay full price. I got frustrated and stuck early on in this game. Even if I did beat it, there\'s not much re-playability. If you buy this game for its satire alone you\'ll be disappointed with the juvenile humor.

Game Score
Game Play 5/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 6/10
Controls/Interface 2/5
Stability 4/5
-3.5 violence
-5 for language
-6.5 for sexual references and revealing clothing
Overall Score 59%

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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