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|Developer(s)||Barking Dog Studios|
|Composer(s)||Paul Ruskay and Greg Sabitz|
|Genre(s)||Space simulation, Strategy|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
Homeworld: Cataclysm was originally developed in 2000 as an expansion of Homeworld, but was released as a stand-alone game. It was published by Sierra Entertainment, as was the original, but it was developed by Barking Dog Studios.
Though it uses the same engine as its predecessor, several changes were made such as: the ability to toggle time compression between normal speed and eight times faster; ship upgrades (improving armor and adding new abilities), Command Ships and Carriers are given the ability to add external modules for ship research and fleet support; fuel was completely eliminated from the game and finally the sensor display could be used to issue attack orders to units. The player's Command Ship is now capable of attack; though slow, the Command Ship is capable of delivering a vast array of weaponry, most notably the Siege Cannon capable of crippling an enemy Command Ship with a single well aimed shot.
Notable unit changes include the Processor, Cataclysm's adaption of the Resource Controller, which has medium-strength weapons to defend itself; automated repair beams to heal nearby ships and four pads to dock with Workers harvesting resources. The game's resource collectors perform the same functions that they did in the original Homeworld, however, when upgraded they can be used to capture enemy vessels, harvest crystals and repair friendly vessels; functions that were carried out by separate, single-function ships in the first game.
The game also introduced new 3D features such as moving parts and transforming ships.
In general, the main difference is the scale of fleets. Where Homeworld was biased towards large fleets (as the player's main ship was a full-fledged mothership and the opposition was an empire of galactic scale), Cataclysm down-scales the fleets (as the player's main ship is a simple mining vessel and the adversaries are all limited in resources)
The game takes place fifteen years after the original game, and establishes the Kushan as the canonical race of Homeworld. After the death of their Emperor and the return of the Kushan to their homeworld, the Taiidan Empire collapses into civil war. The Taiidan Republic rises as an ally of the newly minted Hiigarans, while the Imperialists continue to raid both Hiigaran and Republic space.
The campaign begins with the Kuun-Lan, a mining vessel belonging to Kiith Somtaaw (one of the Hiigaran clans), performing mining operations in deep space before being called to help defend Hiigara from an Imperialist attack. While aiding a Hiigaran destroyer attacked by Imperialists, they soon find a derelict beacon pod, which the crew decides to capture and research with the aid of the research vessel Clee-San, sent by their clan leaders back on Hiigara, who order that the matter of the beacon and its technology be kept within Kiith Somtaaw. As they study it aboard the Kuun-Lan, a strange virus begins to take over the ship. The part of the ship containing the derelict is jettisoned; the Clee-San then scans the jettisoned part of the ship to determine what happened. As it scans, the jettisoned portion of the ship fires a beam at the Clee-San that subverts control of the ship. Shortly thereafter, the Kuun-Lan escapes.
Further research suggests that the derelict pod carried techno-organic nanobots which they call "the Beast", that can take control of machinery and even people. As other ships begin to become assimilated by the Beast, the Kuun-Lan discovers that while the origins of the Beast are unknown, it was first discovered by an alien vessel called the Naggarok, which had come from another galaxy a million years earlier and had picked up the Beast in hyperspace. Before the Naggarok was fully assimilated, the drives and communications of the ship were destroyed by the crew, but the ship released a distress beacon, which the Kuun-Lan discovered. As they hunt for the Naggarok, they must also contend with the Imperialist Taiidan and their Turanic Raider allies, who have aligned with the Beast.
After several battles with infected vessels and Imperialist planetary bases, the Kuun-Lan discovers a siege cannon, which has the potential to be an effective weapon against the Beast. It proves ineffective against Beast-controlled vessels as-is and overheats after one shot, so the Kuun-Lan begins searching for the Naggarok so they can use a "pure" sample of the Beast to upgrade the cannon. As the cannon also uses Bentusi technology, they also search for the mysterious traders who had supported the Kushan exiles' claim to Hiigara. However, the Bentusi are panicked by the emergence of the Beast, and attempt to flee to another galaxy. The Kuun-Lan and its fleet destroy the Bentusi's slipgate and engage their tradeships, eventually convincing the Bentusi to help them fight the Beast. Soon after, they acquire information regarding a Taiidan Republic battlestation known as the Nomad Moon, which the Imperialists and the Beast wish to claim for their own purposes.
They soon find the Clee-San and the abandoned half of the Kuun-Lan, which the Beast has been using as a mothership, and destroy them using the newly enhanced siege cannon. They then seek out the Nomad Moon, and find it under the control of the Beast. The Naggarok, defended by the Nomad Moon's repulsor field, offers the Kuun-Lan an alliance. The Kuun-Lan refuses, and in a heated battle destroy both the Naggarok and the infected Nomad Moon. In time, the remainder of the Beast-infected ships are destroyed and a vaccine to the infection is discovered. Kiith Somtaaw gains great prestige in Hiigaran society, and are honored with the title of "Beastslayers" for their prominent role in the destruction of the Beast.
Since "Homeworld: Cataclysm" takes place only 15 years after, and uses essentially the same game engine as "Homeworld", several ships make a return, notably in the 'new' Hiigarans/Kushan, and the Taiidan forces (both Imperialist and Republic). Some new features in this game not previously seen are ship upgrades and Support Units- the latter of which put a lower cap on the player's fleet size as opposed to the maximum fleet size of 300 in "Homeworld".
While the Kushan and Taiidan fleets remain almost identical to their Homeworld counterparts, the player's clan, Kiith Somtaaw, is forced to scratch its own fleet specs based on salvaged technologies. The player's own ships are all new and basically vastly superior to both Taiidan and Kushan counterparts and are only matched by the main adversary, the Beast and its own fleet (which is composed of upgraded Taiidan, Kushan, Somtaaw and Turanic Raider ships).
Homeworld: Cataclysm works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP, Vista, and 7 after being patched to version 1.01. However, as with its predecessor, graphical glitches frequently occur when not using the software renderer. OpenGL may be enabled by running the game in compatibility mode of Windows NT 4.0 (Service Pack 5). The game is locked at a 4:3 aspect ratio, however, Widescreen resolutions may be applied by editing the registry. It should be known, however, that Mission 5 in the campaign is very glitchy when run on Windows 7, such as the game not progressing or the game crashing.
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