I happened to play the demo of Dark Colony, and here is what I think of it:
The intro sequence is pretty stupid: humans and martians attack each other for two minutes, and the cutscene ends with a human blowing off the head of an alien. Not much of a story. Well who comes up with an interesting story for a strategy game anyway :-)
As a player, you can choose either to command the aliens (the "grays") or the humans. Both races have very similar units even though their appearance is quite different. While the terrans have technical units such as tanks, artillery and mechs, the grays have organic units in form of various aliens. Their characteristics are nearly the same, but humans fight better during the day and grays fight better at night, something which might be interesting for multiplayer games.
I've found surprisingly narrow parallels to Warcraft. There are soldiers, the only unit available at the beginning, then mechs (basically like knights: better fighter than soldiers). Afterwards, you can get flying machines (for scouting: they have low armor, high speed, weak weapons) and sentinels (towers that move to their destination and then dig into the ground). There is also heavy artillery (like catapults in War2: they need much time to reload, are not very fast and also hurt your units) and other tanks. Like in Warcraft, some heavy units must be protected by soldiers from aerial attacks.
While the units are nothing new, the graphics are very well done. You won't find men that are only 5 pixels large and look all the same like in C & C or Earth 2140. The animations are also affectionately designed, and the explosions throw light on the surroundings and look beautiful. You'll also see a large amount of blood spluttering around :-)
There are only few new characteristics that make a difference between other strategy games:
I did not finish the demo level because if you press ESC, the game quits without even asking. I guess that's not the case in the full version but it still sucks when playing a demo.
Dark Colony is a solidly made real time strategy game. It offers a wide variety of graphics but nothing outstanding. It does not stand out against all the other strategy games out there but it is not worse than them. If you are hurting for a new game and can't wait for Starcraft, this may be your choice, but otherwise, I'd wait for better games. If you can't decide yet, go to the Gametek homepage to read more about their game.
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