Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds (1998 video game)

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Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds
Developer(s) Rage Software Limited
Publisher(s) GT Interactive
Platform(s) Windows
Release date(s) 1998
Genre(s) Real-time strategy
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution 2 CD-ROMs

Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds is a real-time strategy video game developed by Rage Software Limited and released for Windows based PCs in 1998. It is based on Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds — which is itself based on H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds.

In 1999, another game of the same name was released for the Sony PlayStation. The 1999 game reuses the 1998 game's graphics and music, but features entirely different gameplay: it is a third-person shooter with a focus on vehicular combat.


The player chooses to play as either the defending Humans or the invading Martians. It was unusual at the time, as instead of having pre-set missions, battles only take place when one sides' forces are sent to a sector occupied by the other. Unit building and the inter-sector movement of forces are done between battles, making the game one of only a few non-linear RTS titles ever. In this respect, it is somewhat similar to the computer game North & South.

The game is set in Great Britain and starts in the late 19th century. The map of Britain (the "War map") is divided into approximately 30 sectors. On the war map, the player can move units from sector to sector, invade enemy territory, construct units and examine each sectors' resources. Research tasks are set on the war map as well. All of these are done within a pausable real-time system. The player can pause it any time to set up new orders.

When the player is invading (or invaded by) an enemy territory, the game switches to the "Battle map". At this point the game works quite similarly to Command & Conquer. The player must control each of their units to destroy the opponent within the sector and not lose all their units (and buildings if defending). The battle map is also used if the player wishes to set up unit and structure building tasks and queues in one of their sectors, but they cannot examine an enemy-held sector without attacking. Time spent on the battle map does not affect time on the war map.

The player cannot order further advance or construction from a sector until a command centre is built. This is the most important building in the game. If it is destroyed in a battle, all the other structures in the sector are wiped out regardless of their condition.

Unlike most RTS computer games, units typically consist of multiple vehicles in squadrons of three or five, except for highly specialised or utility units which consist of only one vehicle. Neither side uses infantry units. The Martians use large vehicles with powerful weapons, which can take a lot of damage. The Humans have smaller, weaker vehicles, but are capable of larger groups of units, quicker build times and also possess more territory at the beginning of the game. The humans rely mostly on mobile artillery, WWI-style tanks and ironclad warships. Some of the Human vehicles seem advanced for their age, such as submarines, blimps, and tank drills. When playing on the Martian side, the player should expect to be attacked by more than a hundred human vehicles in a single battle, on some occasions (especially later into the game). The Humans can build water units, such as Ironclads, which can greatly damage Martian defenses, while requiring the Martian ground forces to wade out into the ocean to retaliate. The Martians can build a number of extremely specialised vehicles, varying from the mind reading and manipulating Xeno-Telepath, to the Tempest, an extremely powerful machine that carries two heavy Heat-Rays and black smoke canister launcher.

Resource usage is different from the trend of the time. There are no gathering units that manually gather resources, and the resources are not used to build or purchase units. Instead, each sector has three resources (Humans use steel for building structures, oil for unit sustain and coal for unit production whilst the Martians respectively use copper, human blood and heavy elements), in certain levels of abundance. Players can build facilities that will extract these resources at a certain rate. Each unit and manufacturing or repair facility in the game uses certain amounts of the resources depending on the resource type (Martian units feed on human blood, for example, while their buildings don't), and the action currently being performed. These resources are drawn from the sector the building or unit is in, and the sectors directly surrounding it. Deficiencies in resources will result in decreased efficiency, and increased time for unit/structure building and repairs. The more tasks assigned, the higher amount of resources required.

Although it is single player only, a semi-functional form of multiplayer appears to be accessible, with some registry modification.

Units, buildings and defences[edit]


  • Armoured Lorry: A light and fast attack vehicle
  • Armoured Track Layer: The primary attack vehicle, each carrying two guns to attack.
  • Tunneling Track Layer: A modified Track Layer with a drill to dig underground
  • Self-Propelled Gun: A fast vehicle that can position heavy guns quickly
  • Mobile Anti-Aircraft Array: It is designed to shoot down aerial targets
  • Sappers' Lorry: A vehicle that carries engineers that build defences
  • Ironclad: A powerful ship that can bombard enemies from the water
  • Submersible: A submarine that must surface to attack
  • Observation Balloon: A dirigible that can be used to spy on enemies or attack with bombs
  • Construction Vehicle: Carries workers around the battlefield to construct buildings
  • Mobile Repair Vehicle: Carries field engineers to repair vehicles and emplacements
  • Mortar Bike: A vehicle that is used to infiltrate enemy positions, while also being able to attack at short range.
  • Command Post: Allows construction of buildings in the vicinity
  • Repair Workshop: Repairs vehicles brought to it
  • Vehicle Factory: Construct their land based vehicles
  • Training Centre: A support facility that allows access to specialist units. Allows the construction of the main support units: The Construction Vehicle, Sappers Lorry, Mortar Bike and Mobile Repair Vehicle.
  • Ship Yard: Manufactures the Naval forces.
  • Aircraft Hangar: Constructs aircraft
  • Munitions Factory: Provides specialist weaponry for vehicles. Allows the construction of the Self-Propelled Gun and Mobile Anti-Aircraft Array
  • Construction Labs: Allows access to advanced vehicles. Allows the construction of the Tunneling Track Layer and Submersible.
  • Steel Refinery: Processes iron
  • Coal Mine: Supplies power to facilities
  • Oil Refinery: Refines imported oil for vehicles
  • Traps: Land mines that damage Martian vehicles
  • Blockades: Fences that can be mounted with explosives
  • Medium Gun Posts: Light defensive cannon that can be rapidly installed
  • Heavy Gun Emplacements: A naval artillery gun
  • Anti-Aircraft Array: Designed to combat aerial craft


  • Scout Machine: A fast attack vehicle with light armor and light Heat-Ray
  • Fighting Machine: The main attack unit
  • Tempest: A very powerful vehicle with two heavy heat-rays and a Black Smoke canister launcher
  • Bombarding Machine: A vehicle designed for long-range combat with its canister launcher
  • Electric Machine: A close-combat vehicle that attacks with powerful bolts of electricity
  • Flying Machine: An agile aerial vehicle with a light heat-ray and poor armor
  • Scanning Machine: A specialized vehicle that can detect hidden objects
  • Constrictor: This vehicle uses a chemical foam to trap enemy vehicles
  • Xeno-Telepath: An advanced vehicle with awesome psychic powers to manipulate its target
  • Handling Machine: The Martian's construction vehicle
  • Digging Mechanism: It builds the Martian defenses
  • Drone: A kamikaze vehicle that deals large amount of damage to anything within the blast radius
  • Power Plant: Supplies energy to Martian defenses
  • Communications Centre: Martian equivalent of a Command Post
  • Repair Facility: Repairs the damaged Martian machines.
  • Constructor: Manufactures most of the ground forces and specialists
  • Energy Weapon Plant: Gives access to vehicles that require high levels of energy. Allows the construction of the Electric Machine and Scanning Machine
  • Suspension Field Site: Constructs aerial vehicles and ground defences.
  • Telepath Training Centre: Allows access to mind control units
  • Biochemical Plant: Produces potent chemicals for vehicles that use them. Allows the construction of the Constrictor
  • High Explosive Plant: Provides powerful weaponry for the more advanced vehicles. Allows the construction of the Bombarding Machine, the Drone and the Tempest.
  • Human Farm: Processes human blood for the Martians
  • Heavy Element Facility: Produces radioactive isotopes to power the vehicles
  • Copper Forge: Refines metals needed for facilities
  • Blockades: Walls of plasma that repel enemy attacks. Requires the Power Plant to work.
  • Rapid Heat Ray: A weak defense that can be constructed quickly
  • Heat Ray Turret: A permanent defense with good shielding and a formidable heat-ray
  • Projectile Launcher: A heavily-shielded canister launcher that bombards enemies from long distances


The game features an instrumental techno/electronica soundtrack, consisting of eight remixed tracks from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. These remixes were arranged, engineered, programmed and mixed by the musical group Max Mondo,[1] along with Stephen Murphy. Jeff Wayne himself oversaw the remixing process.[2] A music player is included within the game's menu. The tracks are divided into four groups of two, each assigned to play in different situations of the game.

The following tracks are listed below (with the point they are played in the game).

Human Battle Map
  • Brave New World
  • The Eve of the War
Human War Map
  • Dead London
  • The Spirit of Man
Martian Battle Map
  • The Eve of the War (alternate mix)
  • The Fighting Machine
Martian War Map
  • The Red Weed
  • Horsell Common

The music was re-used for the PlayStation game the following year, but Dead London was omitted as it was felt it did not fit with the atmosphere of said game.


It was one of the earlier RTS games to use 3D models instead of sprites for units. The game also features 3D terrain, which can be used strategically. The game suffered from significant performance problems initially, mainly due to the sheer number of vehicles on screen (often thanks to the Humans) as well as the fact there is no 3D hardware support. However, modern computers should have no trouble running it.


  1. ^ "Max Mondo Discography". Retrieved 23 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Blevins, Tal. "War of the Worlds - PC Preview". Retrieved 23 March 2012. 

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