Defcon 5 (video game)

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Defcon 5 is a single player adventure/first-person shooter video game developed by Millennium Interactive Ltd, a UK-based studio. It was released for IBM PC compatibles in 1995, and ported to Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn and 3DO Interactive Multiplayer in 1996. The name refers to the condition used to designate normal peacetime military readiness under the DEFCON system, but which is commonly misused in popular fiction to indicate a state of emergency.[1]

The main lobby of the Admin block. Tyron corporate logo can be seen on the right.


As a "cyberneer" working for the fictional Tyron Corporation, the player is tasked with installing an automated defense software at the deep space mining installation named MRP-6F, a large compound located around the top of a crater in which mining operations take place. Its purpose is to defend the mining installation from hostile attack. For this purpose the installation houses six powerful defense turrets installed around the crater, as well as a myriad of support systems for power generation and munitions stores for those armaments.

Shortly after his/her arrival at MRP-6F the installation is attacked by an unknown enemy force. The player must face enemy fighters as well as invaders searching the base. The overall goal is to escape the installation with evidence of what has transpired.

Facing an enemy intruder in the munitions storage.


The game is reminiscent of the System Shock series in terms of gameplay. The player must explore the base in order to find items which is needed to establish a line of defense and ultimately escape the installation. This involves fighting off the invading enemies by deploying the defence turrets effectively and using the installation's computer terminals (called "VOS terminals") in order to hinder the intruder's advance.

The computer terminals in the game offers an unusual wide range of interaction. Players can use them to remotely control the defense turrets, load ammunition and inspect the turrets for damage and deploy combat droids within the installations perimeters. Doors can be controlled from the VOS terminals in order to control access to the installations different areas. The player can use this capability to lock in enemy forces in parts of the installation.

A view of the VOS terminal GUI.

The game also allows the player to fight the invaders by shooting them, but this is discouraged by the fact that new enemies arrives with each passing wave of attacking ships. Also, any fighting in the installation greatly degrades the air quality in the immediate area once an enemy is destroyed. The computer might even seal doors to polluted areas, sometimes trapping the player. The player can dissolve the pollution by opening doors to adjacent areas, and the pollution levels can be monitored in the VOS terminal's environmental module.'

Defensive software being modified for improved performance.

The installation consists of two major towers with seven floors each (the administrative and domestic blocks), three hangars, a service level, six turrets and a control room. All these are linked by a subway-train like transportation system named "LIMO". Several elevator systems also connect the different levels. This complex layout enables players to avoid enemies by choosing an alternate route to their destination.


IGN gave the PlayStation version a 7/10, praising the suspenseful plot, enjoyable action, and realistic, immersive details put into the gameplay.[2]

The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the Saturn version an average of 7.125/10. They criticized the pixelation in the graphics but praised the game's story-driven approach, well-designed controls, and combination of puzzle solving, strategy, and action.[3] Sega Saturn Magazine, however, panned the Saturn version, citing poor graphics, a lack of clear objectives, and an overabundance of time spent walking from one place to another. They concluded "This isn't even a poor rip-off of Doom." and gave it a 67%.[4]


Defcon5 has been listed as "supported" on the DOSBOX website since version 0.61 of the emulator software. The fact that it uses CD audio can however be a problem.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Defcon Five at TV Tropes
  2. ^ (21 November 1996). PlayStation version review, IGN.
  3. ^ "Defcon 5 Review". Electronic Gaming Monthly (81) (EGM Media, LLC). April 1996. p. 33. 
  4. ^ Hickman, Sam (May 1996). "Review: Defcon 5". Sega Saturn Magazine (7) (Emap International Limited). pp. 68–69. 

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