xcomufo

Welcome to xcomufo.  Here you can find almost everything (useful) related to the first game in the X-COM series: Mythos Games' X-COM: UFO Defense.  You can get a list of access codes, information on editing or hacking saved games, a lot of bug fixes, or read some exciting science fiction based on X-COM. There's also a strategy guide, patch fixes for playing X-COM on various Windows OS's, and a digitized manual/book.

If you see something missing, want to chat about X-COM, have any problems (even technical and after reading the Bug FAQ), or if you like this site, please email me at micahdg@xcomufo.com I love getting feedback of any sort, good and bad!


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21 October 2012  My First XCOM: Enemy Unknown Rant/Rave




     After many of life's normal delays, I was finally able to put some quality time into the new xcom this weekend, and I have not been able to stop playing :D I have put in 22 hours so far according to Steam. I just began my first alien base assault. One of the things I like about the new xcom is the music. You can hear some of it in my short alien base intro video above.

     During this first 22 hours of play there have been a handful of things that bothered me, but please note that I am the furthest thing from an expert thus far. You'll see below that I am regularly finding faults in my game play methods and trying to fix them. Now, some issues:
 - only able to make up to 2 actions per soldier per turn, and if you shot at something first, it will spend the soldier's entire turn. Shooting a rocket always takes the whole turn.
 - you can only make one base.
 - alien weaponry keeps spontaneously blowing up every time I killed the alien holding it.
 - seemingly limited ability to pile equipment onto my soldiers.
 - only able to take up to 6 soldiers per mission
 - only one skyranger/troop transporter
 - entering a multi-level structure such as a building or UFO can make you go cross-eyed.

     These are all features of the new xcom which I think would *initially* bug most long time xcom fans. This certainly seems to be the case with people posting at the xcomufo forums, anyway, as well as myself at first. After having played for quite a while, including completing about 30 battlescape missions, trying in vain to shoot down UFOs, and expanding my single base, I have come to realize that though there are some significant changes, they are balanced well and in interesting ways.
     For example, even though you can't spend time micromanaging the TU's of your soldiers and making sure they're facing the right direction to see the alien trying to approach from behind, in the new xcom your soldier is automatically aware of what's going on behind him. So, now I don't have to spend time making sure I have soldiers facing every which way. As the game progresses and your soldiers improve their skills, you also get to choose what enhancements each of them receives. Some of these skills include being able to move AND shoot, or shoot four rockets per mission instead of one, or automatically always react first when an alien exposes themselves to the soldier. Funny enough, after moving my squad around the map mission after mission, I find myself getting irritating that I even HAVE two moves per soldier :D Sometimes I wish they would move themselves. Seriously, though, in the original xcom, yes, you could load up a trooper with a rocket launcher and 10 rockets, but then how many spaces could he walk before running out of energy? And when he finally reached an alien? Could he even shoot his weapon? No, not enough energy. If you sent him in instead with only 2 rockets, he could get to the alien and shoot the rocket launcher, but shooting the rocket would be the only thing he could do that turn because it used all his TUs. So, instead of micromanaging 60 TUs in which 1 or 2 primary actions (moving and shooting) consume all the TUs, the new xcom gives us generally 2 action choices per turn. Firaxis did a similar thing with money. Instead of getting millions of dollars in funding a month or selling corpses for $10,000, they divided all the numbers by about 1,000 so the numbers would be easier to deal with. Monthly income from xcom member countries may only be around $500 but manufacturing a plasma sniper rifle now only costs around $140. In my opinion, simplifying $$ numbers and TU usage makes the math easier and lets me enjoy the strategy and fighting more.
     Only having up to 6 soldiers initially made me very sad, but again, after playing for a while, I realized the main thing this limitation does is make the game vastly more difficult. Being able to cram 24 flying-suited, heavy plasma- and blaster launcher-toting elite soldiers into my avenger really was overkill on any original xcom map. It made the game a piece of cake to blast your way into UFOs and finish maps within 2-3 turns. That only led to the cramming of your general stores with way more alien artifacts than you could ever really use and the selling of lots of junk to give you practically limitless funds to do whatever you wanted to do. In the new xcom (unless there are exploits I am not aware of yet) you really are forced to work your butt off on a shoestring budget. Yes, you can sell some of the precious few alien artifacts you capture, but every research your scientists work on consumes some of those artifacts and corpses. In the workshop, the engineers consume alloys and elerium like it's candy. So, instead of everyone floating around in flying suits and toting heavy plasmas, I can barely afford to clothe my soldiers. Each squaddie is forced to wear hand-me-down armor from either a dead soldier or a more experienced one who got a better set of their own. Only three of my soldiers have plasma weapons and they only got those after the most recent mission. That means it took me 22 hours of play to get plasma rifles :P I also have a few other soldiers beyond my best 6 whom I have to keep somewhat equiped so they will be available when any of my main guys get injured. My point is, even if I could have more soldiers, I couldn't afford to give them useful weapons and armor. Did I mention I'm only playing on the Normal setting?
     For many, many missions, the plasmas and grenades the aliens were shooting me with would spontaneously blow themselves up no matter how I killed the alien. This drove me nuts for quite a while because the heavy plasma rifles seemed to be within my reach, yet I could never recover one. For the longest time, I thought I would have to stun one of the aliens holding it in order to get one intact that my scientists could study. Well, it turns out I had just overlooked one of the items available for research in the labs :P I don't remember what it was off the top of my head but after simply researching a few prerequisites, I was able to start researching the plasma weapons. After researching each of the light, regular, and heavy plasmas, the aliens started dropping the weapons intact instead of the weapons exploding. Obviously I could have figured this out hours earlier but that's the way xcom works sometimes :)
     You can only have one base in this xcom, but it's offset by a few other features. First, you can station interceptors all over the globe to intercept UFOs. You can remotely equip them with newer gadgets just like the first game. They go out of action for a few hours wile re-equiping but it hasn't been a problem for me yet. Next, you start the game with 1 satellite over 1 country. This takes the place of the old radars and lets you detect UFOs within the area. As you progress, you build more satellite uplinks in your base, more satellites in your workshop, and then you launch them to cover more parts of the globe so you can detect UFOs in other countries. When you do detect one, you can scramble multiple interceptors only from within the continent the UFO is flying over. Unfortunately, you can only attack the UFO with one interceptor at a time as far as I can tell. However, you can attack with one interceptor, do some damage (and take quite a licking yourself) then break off pursuit and get your next interceptor to start shooting at the UFO. I don't know whether or not the damage from multiple interceptors stacks and is more likely to bring the UFO down, but I've brought down two of them this way so far. So, if the three main reasons I had multiple bases in the first xcom were to gain enhanced radar coverage of the globe, house more interceptors and scientists/engineers, and store 10,000 units of alien alloy and thousands of corpses, the new xcom lets you do all those things in slightly different ways. As far as I can tell, you have unlimited storage for junk in the base. You do have to build additional workshops and labs for more scientists and engineers, but I am only using about half my base at the moment, so there seems to be a lot of room to grow. All in all, this approach to base management is fine for me.
     Firaxis is going to have to do some work on the visuals when you go into a multi-level structure. Right now, I just about go cross-eyed when moving the mouse around inside a building or UFO. As you move the mouse around, different levels or sections of the UFO pop up in your face and get in the way of what you were trying to look at. Adjusting your level manually with the mouse wheel works until you move the mouse cursor again. You just have to see it to understand what I mean. It's even more frustrating when you think you have one level selected (in the hopes your soldier will walk on and STAY on that level) only to watch him jump off the side and run along the wall somewhere that will take him 2-3 turns to get back from. I don't have any creative ideas for remedying this other than to take your time and make 100% certain your cursor is pointing to the correct level before right-clicking.
     One of the most painful changes in the new xcom is the fact that you're limited to only one skyranger. Within the first few game days, you get presented with 3 terror missions simultaneously and you can only choose one. The places you don't choose will have increased panic and be closer to withdrawing from funding your activities. This bothered me a lot, at first, but as before, Firaxis probably made this change to make the game more difficult and to guarantee that your relations with countries will get progressively worse as you proceed through the game. It also forces you to think a lot harder about who you want to help, because the countries you skip will also affect the panic factor of the continents they're a part of. Right now, France, Nigeria, and Japan have withdrawn from the XCOM project in my game. This has resulted in poorer scores in my monthly reports and loss of monthly income. There's also an ominous red swirly cloud over each of these countries which makes me worry something else bad is going to happen in the future. So, the limitation of a single troop transport is how the game forces you to make hard choices often and to stay focused on stopping the alien invasion instead of decorating your countless general stores with sectoid corpses and piles of elerium.
     In a nut shell, I think Firaxis eliminated the tediousness of xcom while retaining the epicness and relentless anxiety many of us know and love/hate from the first game. If you have only played the demo, please be aware that the demo comprises part of the very restrictive tutorial that is the begining of the game. After you get out of that, your freedom of movement, range of motion, and strategic options and tactical choices are wide open, very much like the first game. The music, ambience, and excellent, constant, but dynamic battlescape cinematics and cut scenes keep the game exciting and stressful at the same time. As I watch from almost directly behind as my best sniper fixes her sights on the berserker muton as it charges toward her, all in slow motion, I find myself biting my nails and praying she makes the shot. As someone who has been waiting a decade for a decent UFO Defense remake, this is very much it.







3 October 2012  XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I've tried a laundry list of purported UFO Defense 'remakes' and 'inspired by xcom' knockoffs over the last few years and I have received lots of emails during that time asking me why I didn't mention this remake or that remake on this website. Well, the truth is that I tried most of those games, and I didn't like them at all. In fact, on two separate occasions during the last five years, I was approached by two different publishers, offered copies of their games, and asked to review them on xcomufo. In both cases, I played a bit through the games and did not like them one bit. I subsequently declined to review either game on the basis that I had nothing good to say. In other words, I only like to talk about things I like :)

When I read about the new Enemy Unknown last year, my hopes were not high. I think I gave up on a true spritual successor to UFO years ago. Last week, 2K Games released the demo and I decided to give it a try, and... wow... finally... the X-COM: UFO Defense remake I've been waiting for... I played through it once and immediately reserved a copy at Amazon. I played through the demo a second time and did not regret my decision to buy it. If you haven't tried it yourself, be sure you do! I'm really looking forward to playing beyond the demo. I think it was a tantalizingly small sliver of what the entire game will be. One more week...



27 October 2009  Site update, lots of stuff...

Buying X-COM Online

Over the last few years I have received a regular stream of emails asking where people can obtain the xcom games or how they can get their copy working properly on Windows Vista, Windows 7, etc. I have been referring them to one of two websites that come to mind: Valve's Steam and Direct2Drive. These sites sell each xcom game for $5 or you can buy combo packs that include UFO, TFTD, Apocalypse, Interceptor, and Enforcer for $15. I point everyone in the direction of these websites because the purchased games include preconfigured copies of the dosbox emulator, optimized for the xcom games.

Valve's Steam
Direct2Drive


8-in-1 Multilingual Patch for TFTD

An xcom fan who goes by the name of Sakaali has collected and produced an 8-in-1 multilanguage patch for TFTD. The language choices, in addition to the core English, German, French, and Spanish, now include Polish, Czech, Hungarian, and Italian. Sakaali has compiled two different versions - one for the DOS edition of TFTD and another for the Collector's edition. The files can be found on the TFTD download page and details for how to use the patches can be found within the download archives in a file called x2multi.nfo.


Expanded and Edited UFO Soundtrack

A new soundtrack based on the first xcom's music was composed and produced by Ziocody.
He cut some pretty decent music from countless sources including several xcom games' soundtracks, deep drones, dark ambient music, and anything that resembles the sci-fi suspense mood set by xcom. Now for the drawbacks: it only works in Windows by muting the SW Synth in Volume Control to get rid of the game's music. You must run the music through an audio player so you can easily change the track as you change between Geoscape and Battlescape (to me it's easy as a quick alt+tab or Windows key). If you have multimedia keys on your keyboard, you could make good use of them for this. You can find these tracks on the music page. Ziocody also incorporates these tracks into his youtube videos.


X-COM on youtube

As hinted in the above note, X-COM has made quite a few inroads on youtube. First we have Ziocody's introductory videos to UFO Defense where he demonstrates his strategies for the beginning of the game. He also goes on to complete a couple of UFO recovery missions.

His videos can be found here:
XCOM UFO Challenge Series: 1 Setup
XCOM UFO Challenge Series: UFO-1 Medium
XCOM UFO Challenge Series: UFO-6 Large Scout 1/2
XCOM UFO Challenge Series: UFO-6 Large Scout 2/2

XCOM UFO Challenge Series: UFO-13 Terror Ship 1/2




There are currently thousands of xcom-related videos up on youtube. Here's a quick search for you.



Pocket UFO for Windows v1.26


After I received an email from a fan of the Pocket UFO for PPC edition emailed me asking if I knew where to find the Windows version of Pocket UFO, I spent a few hours tracking it down on the net. The author's website has been defunct for a couple of years now but after a lot of digging, I found a copy of the game. It plays in a small PPC-sized window on your desktop. Feel free to check it out on the download page.



UFO: Enemy Unknown for Amiga


A couple of years ago I came across the Amiga version of UFO Defense. Occasionally I have received questions about locating it and though it's been on the server for a while, I never linked to it from the website. You can find it on the download page
.



27 March 2007
   Pocket UFO for the PPC
Pocket UFO has been in development for several years and has actually been completed for quite some time, but I've never mentioned it in these news because I have so rarely updated them. Pocket UFO was developed by SMK Software for the Pocket PC and Windows Mobile OS. I haven't tried the game myself since I only have a PalmOS/Clie device and I haven't had much luck with emulators, but the game looks really cool and the random emails I get about it are very positive. Best of all, it's freeware! You can find more about the game and download it here.

If the developer's page goes offline again, you can get the latest downloadable release here.



















 



 



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