Soldiers of Anarchy is a squad based RTwP tactic game that was released in 2002, and was developed by the German studio Silver Style. While the American company Simon&Schuster took care of international publishing, Bigben Interactive took care of the local publishing. Don't worry if you've never heard these names. Silver Style does not exist anymore, S&S publishes books and Bigben offers hard and software distribution.
Upon release, the reviews generally gave decent or good scores but also pointed out the numerous shortcomings and bugs. And rightly so. The initial release was plagued by horrid path-finding coupled with bugs and flaws in various areas. But most importantly, the release only had real-time gameplay. This made some parts of the game really frustrating to play, and killed a lot of the success it could have had. The devs made a patch that fixed a lot of stuff, added improvements and also included RTwP. But it was too late to really save the game and it faded into obscurity.
All of this doesn't sound too promising, right? But believe me when I say that this is one of those games. You know, the ones that are rough diamonds with patches of dirt on them? I mean, just look at this neat trailer, in glorious 240p. It's great!
This game has mixed infantry and vehicle combat, aerial units, squad progression, home base and trade mechanics, an okay story line, lots of cutscenes with goofy voice acting, gigantic maps, cool missions and a lot of destructive terrain. It's just one of those games were you can look past the flaws, because it's fun to play at its core.
The game takes place in post-apocalyptic Russia, in the year 2015. Ten years earlier, the planet was ravaged by a virus epidemic. An artificially created virus, dubbed SGDS(Spontaneous Genome Degeneration Syndrome) suddenly appeared and quickly spread across the globe. Victims died within a few weeks, were highly contagious and became horribly disfigured. Strict quarantines and wide deployment of armed forces were unable to influence the rate at which the epidemic spread. With a mortality rate of close to 100%, and no cure in sight, the epidemic just couldn't be stopped. Several countries decided on last ditch measures and used tactical nukes on their own soil and cities. But all efforts were in vain, and millions of people died. The world crumbled into anarchy and desperation soon afterwards. Humanity came very close to being extinct.
We will follow the story of a squad of soldiers and scientists who took shelter in an underground bunker, when the epidemic broke out. They used to be an international team, deployed to a remote Russian military base with the intent to share knowledge between the major countries in the world. The bunker under the base then became their new home for the next decade. Ten years is a lot of time, to spend underground and in a confined area. So they eventually made the decision to return to surface. Either they'll find a new world, or will die seeing the sun and breathing fresh air.
The game has a single campaign, with a minor choice on the way and big one which unlocks one of the two possible endings. The campaign is made up of several missions, and you'll have access to your base between those. There you can manage your units, take advantage of several facilities and trade for everything that you need. Naturally, I'm going to explain this in detail during the Lp.
The missions are well designed, require patience and even have some hidden things to discover. One of your main goals will always be to minimize the damage that your squad takes, since death is permanent, but also for another reason that I'll explain later. Generally speaking, this game is tough because you'll often face situations that you probably can't beat on your first try, or because you take too much damage to solve the rest of the mission. And you'll also be at the mercy of the RNG in some instances. On top of that, some flaws in the game design add to the challenge, in an artificial and kinda annoying way. This may appear a bit cheap, but I find it to be fun to develop tactics for those situations and learn from my mistakes. And once you'll have a grasp on the game, you are much more likely to succeed right off the bat.
Since most of the missions can take several hours, I'm going to condense the content heavily. If you have any problems with following what happens, or with the presentation in general, please speak up and I'll try to adjust accordingly. I'll make the first updates a bit shorter to ease you into the game, then I'll maybe drop you a long one and we can discuss what's better for you readers. I'm also going to sprinkle in Gifs and videos how I see fit. Speaking of videos, I'm going to include most of the cutscenes as clips for you to watch. Mainly because it breaks up the static format, but also to show some of the music and the crap-load of goofy voice actors. I'm not kidding when I say that this game is also an apocalypse of accents. I'm going to embed the clips, so you don't have to leave the site to watch them. If they show up as links on your end, then you have to allow embeds on your SA account settings.
The update schedule will be a bit irregular, but I'll aim for at least one update per week. Sometimes you may get two, since there are also two kinds of updates. Aside from playing the missions, we'll also do stuff at our base. I don't want to cram all of that into one update, as that would be too much. I'm also going to use the base updates to explain/discuss stuff that would drag out the updates, like new units/info and the finer points of gear or things like that.
You lot will get to decide the canon ending for the thread. There will be two choices during the campaign, one minor and one very major. I'm not going to let you decide the minor one, sorry! Its effects are very minor, and don't matter at all. So I'm going to stick with the choice that I think is more enjoyable to play. I'm still going to explain its effects in detail, and maybe will make a bonus update for some things around it. When we get to the major choice, I'm going to put it up to a vote. It will determine which ending we will see, and I'm curious what the thread will choose. I'm still going to show the other ending as a last bonus though, since you kinda need to see both to fully understand the plot.
The game also has a very expansive mission editor, with a huge map builder and scripting. IF anybody wants to make a mission, I'll play it for the thread. The same goes if anybody actually has a mission on some dusty hard drive. I don't really expect this though, so I'm just putting it out there.
One the small chance that people have played this game, NO SPOILERS! The story isn't super great, but falls apart when a certain thing is revealed too early.
Wait a minute, some of this seems familiar!
Ah, when this comes to your mind, you probably have read my very first Lp on the forums. The Fall - Last Days of Gaia was made by the same studio and came after this game. The funny thing is, that they just recycled all of the assets and textures from SoA, and also a lot of ideas and themes from the story. I'm going to touch upon that here and there, but won't be too thorough since I don't expect people to care that much.
Table of ContentsA Leap in the Dark
Siding with NOAH
Siding with the COTUC