The Let's Play Archive

Ground Control

by Strategic Sage

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Original Thread: A Different Breed of RTS: Let's Play Ground Control



** NO SPOILERS !! **

Published by Sierra in 2000 and developed by Massive Entertainment, Ground Control is a unique RTS and a definite, groundbreaking departure from the genre at the time. It's probably better termed 'real-time tactics', and later received an inferior expansion in Dark Conspiracy, and a roughly equally inferior sequel Ground Control II which was the final game in the series. While there is a moderate and IMO appropriate level of customization available for your fighting force, you cannot build more. You cannot build a base of any kind, you do not gather resources, you do not research technology or evolve advanced abilities during a mission.

You have what you have. It's a squad-based tactical game, and if you lose too many of your squads you restart the mission, there is no getting more. In the sequel as well as the 'spiritual successor' and more popular title by the same developer, World in Conflict (2007) there is a form of the reinforcement points mechanic allowing you more leeway to an extent. Not so in Ground Control.

Why Ground Control?

Once upon a time, a bored middle-aged guy was looking for a larger audience for his written AAR material. He happened upon SA about two and a half years ago, and had one really bad attempt which soon fizzled. Then he started a Master of Orion LP which a number of people didn't think was the worst thing they'd ever read, and some kind souls suggested he should consider doing video content. And so it was that I became a content creator on YouTube. I owe a lot to the community here; giving you what you've requested is the least I can do.

At the end of MOO, a poll was taken regarding retro games I should do next. Ground Control won the vote, with MOO2 (which I did before this) coming in second. So here we are, with a game chosen by the community that is unique and one I enjoy. I'm hopeful that makes for a good experience all the way around.

Is This Game Any Good?

The concept gets high marks from me purely because it really hadn't been done, and I think it works well also. Story/atmosphere varies impressively from quite good to cringingly, eye-rollingly cliche-ridden; voice-acting from passable to excellent with a wide range of talent employed. Sound and graphics are well-done for the time, though the visuals are obviously dated now. Controls, tutorial materials etc. are quality but clunky at times.

So overall not great, but better than most esp. with the concept getting it a bonus.

Spoiler Policy

NONE. There's a thing that happens at a certain point - can't be more specific without giving it away - that I think is quite cool to the point of being one of the better gaming moments from this era. We'll see if others agree with that take when we get there. Despite it being 20 years old, I expect quite a few will probably not have seen this game as it had a loyal, but fairly modest following as RTS go. I'd like them to be able to experience it afresh if they wish.

If what you have to say hasn't been covered and/or shown in a video, DO NOT POST ABOUT IT. Don't use spoiler tags. Don't be coy. Just don't do it. PLEASE.

If you choose to post spoilers, I'll ask you to remove them. If you don't do so within 24 hours, I'll involve a moderator. This is for the good of the thread. I always like discussion/interaction etc., but if this means you can't say anything for the first few episodes, take this as an encouragement to keep your virtual trap shut until we get to the content you wish to discuss.

LP Style

Edited video (similar to my AI War stuff, I'll remove some of the grindy/repetitive maneuvering after we get our teeth into things).

Goon Participation

Squads get promotions, medals, and stats in this game. More details on that will come later. They also have customizable names and loadouts. That's where you come in - if you wish - as my subcommanders. If you wish, you may propose a name for a squad in any video I've posted. I will rename them at the soonest available update, but not before they get their first promotion. That'll create some 'lag time' to keep things going hopefully smoothly. The following broad categories of squads will eventually be available; Infantry, Terradyne (land vehicles), and Aerodyne (flying contraptions).

If you choose, you may also specify what type of gear, 'combat posture', and unit subtype within those categories you would prefer (limited to those unlocked at that point of the game of course). Because of the LP approach, I won't always be able to perfectly follow these, but when possible I will do so.

LP Difficulty

I'm going to do this in a narrative gameplay style, Hard difficulty at least at first. I'm experimenting a bit with this one. By narrative I mean that I'll be playing as I think the character would at that moment, as opposed to a meta-gaming, break the game in half style. I'll also be delving some info on the backstory, characters, VA cast, etc. This may require me to bump the difficulty down one level at some point; Ground Control is a fairly challenging game as is though not oppressively so. A fair number of the handful of existing YouTube LPs have 'God Mode' on which eliminates almost all damage sources, because as one of them put it they don't think they could finish it otherwhise.

No such wimping out here but where the two conflict, narrative/atmosphere above challenge.

The Conflict To Date

Boot Camp (48:00)
Communications Relay (20:26)
The Defector (12:42)
At The Source (24:44)
Iron Shield (17:21)
Aquisition (13:35)
Neighbors At The Door (30:51)
The Satellite (23:13)
No Win Situation (21:16)
Jungle Purification (37:49)
Anti Air Raid (59:41)
Simple Escort Duty (1:00:30)
Take & Control (57:07)
Under The Field (1:06:05)
Behind Enemy Lines (1:07:25)
Show of Force (1:01:58)

Order Campaign

Liberation Day (19:35)
Clear The Way (13:02)
Nobody Home (18:15)
Activation Equipment (25:48)
Into The Dark (24:24)
Early Warning System (56:40)
Important Cargo (45:34)
Heretic Manna (56:43)
Have Gun, Will Travel (48:04)
Four Bridges Too Far (32:24)
Source of Power (1:37:14)
Covert Beginning(42:10)
Winter Wonderland (24:21)
Desperation Attack (38:50)
The Last Dance (1:45:02)
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