Developer: Barking Dog Studios
Cataclysm official page: http://homeworld.sierra.com/cataclysm/
More Cataclysm resources
What's a Cataclysm anyway?
1. A violent upheaval that causes great destruction or brings about a fundamental change.
Who says you don't learn anything from playing computer games? The latest offering from Sierra sports a bona fide SAT vocabulary word as its title. We've provided the dictionary.com meaning for those of you who are studying and need to fill out another flash card.
It's not an add-on, dangit!
Homeworld: Cataclysm is more than just a vocab term though. And it's more than just an add-on pack of missions to Relic's groundbreaking 3D RTS of a year ago. Cataclysm is actually a standalone product that doesn't require the original Homeworld to operate. It also sports a more user friendly interface, and several upgrades to the Homeworld engine, including an all new cast of ships, upgradeable ships, waypoints, and fog of war.
That's how to make an entrance
Scramble fighters! This is not a drill!
Improving a good thing
Unlike Puff Daddy and classic Police songs, Barking Dog didn't take a good game and just wreck it. We've been playing around with a retail copy of Cataclysm the last couple of days, and thus far, we are pleased as punch with the improvements that Barking Dog Studios has made to Relic's classic. The first thing we noticed is that the textures on the ships seem to be a bit sharper than in the original game. Some of that might have to do with having better hardware now than 8 months ago, but the difference was noticeable.
What else is changed?
The interface tweaks made by Barking Dog help Cataclysm become more accessible to a novice player. While the Relic team did a good job at allowing the player to manage fleets in a true 3 dimensional battlefield, the original Homeworld was still rather intimidating to learn, even for a seasoned RTS veteran. The learning curve in Cataclysm is still very steep, but being able to see mission objectives listed neatly in the bottom left is extremely helpful. Waypoints make setting up patrols a snap, and the fog of war is a welcome addition to players like myself who are partial to the Blizzard style of RTS.
She's breaking up captain!
This looks familiar
Getting our hands dirty
There are seventeen missions in Cataclysm, and from what we've played so far, they're chock full of scripted sequences. These sequences are more unobtrusive than you might think, meshing neatly with the mission to convey the sense of a dynamic battlefield. The ability to upgrade your ships adds depth to the game, and linking up smaller ships to make larger ones is pretty fun as well. We also loved the 8x time acceleration feature that helps speed up the slow parts of the game (like when you're waiting for your fighter wing to cross from one side of the map to the other).
From what we have played, Cataclysm should be every bit as good as its predecessor, Homeworld. We hope to have a full review up shortly.