Get this, Military Madness: Nectaris is a remake of a Playstation 1 game called Nectaris: Military Madness which was also a remake of Military Madness on the Turbografx 16. Be that as it may, Military Madness succeeds in the promise to keep true to its roots and I’m right in the middle whether or not that’s a good thing.
The core gameplay of Military Madness is perfectly fine. Let’s just say this, if you’ve played Advance Wars, you’ll feel right at home as this plays the same. You take the role of a commander tasked with strategically moving units across a grid with only one goal: Defeat your opponents in any way possible. The goal can be accomplished by either defeating all the opponents or sending a small unit into the enemies’ HQ capturing it for your own. This all works just fine, and requires a player to use his think tank as much as possible.
Now that I have that out of the way, I’d like to talk about where Military Madness doesn’t succeed and that lies in accessibility. After the first five or so rounds, the game becomes insanely difficult which leads to much frustration. I had to retry many levels 5-6 times before I came up with a strategy that barely gave me the slight edge over my opponent. I can definitely see how someone could enjoy this if they are the kind of person that is really good at strategy games, but for everyone else it will just get too hard way too quick.
Graphically, Military Madness looks sub-par even for an Xbox Live Arcade title. Everything has a bland look (It doesn’t help that it’s set on the moon) and coming from a game that doesn’t have a lot going on the screen at once, that’s pretty disappointing. Maybe this was a measure to keep it true to the original, but I just don’t see the appeal in that. People like to mock Gears of War for being the king of gray, but it has been dethroned by Military Madness.
I think the biggest problem that plagues Military Madness is that it just isn’t fun. There is no story, and the only sense of progression is that you’re moving to the next level to do it all over again. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the game only appeals to fans of the original because these kinds of strategy games just don’t appeal to most people. Military Madness: Nectaris looks bland, has unfair and unruly difficulty and just isn’t fun to play for long.