X-COM: Terror from the Deep

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X-COM: Terror from the Deep
North American DOS cover art
Developer(s) MicroProse
Publisher(s) MicroProse
Hasbro Interactive
2K Games
Producer(s) Stuart Whyte
Designer(s) Stephen Goss[1]
Programmer(s) Bill Barna
Annette Bell
Nick Thompson
Artist(s) Paul Ayliffe
Nick Cook
Edward Garnier
Composer(s) John Broomhall
Series X-COM
Engine UFO: Enemy Unknown (updated)
Platform(s) PC (Windows or DOS), 3DO, PlayStation
Release date(s) 1 June 1995 (PC)[2]
1996 (3DO, PlayStation)
Genre(s) Real-time strategy, turn-based tactics
Mode(s) Single-player

X-COM: Terror from the Deep is a strategy video game developed and published by MicroProse in 1995 for the PC. It is the sequel to UFO: Enemy Unknown (aka X-COM: UFO Defense) and the second game of the X-COM series.


Terror from the Deep takes place mostly underwater, with base-building and combat all being submerged beneath the waves. This is also used as a plot device; all of the alien technology from the first game is unusable in salt water, forcing the player to capture and develop new technology.

Just like UFO: Enemy Unknown, the game consists of two parts. The first is the real time-based GeoScape, a global view of Earth where the player views alien and X-COM craft and bases, can hire and dismiss staff, buy and sell vehicles, weaponry, ammunition and items, and build and expand bases. The second part, the BattleScape, is used for combat between squads of aliens and humans, and takes the form of a turn-based battle from an isometric view.

Underwater battles use the same physics as the ground ones. The game features some mission types composing of multiple parts, such as alien shipping route terror attacks in which the first part is a battle of the upper floors of the ship while the second part takes places in the lower decks of the ship (all parts must be completed for these missions to be successful, and soldiers lost in previous parts do not appear in later parts).


Terror from the Deep is set in 2040, decades after the first Alien War was won, when a new alien menace begins to emerge from the oceans.

Eventually, it is revealed the aquatic aliens came to Earth on a massive spacecraft, known as T'Leth, that crashed into what is now the Gulf of Mexico 65 million years ago, causing the extinction of the dinosaurs. Destruction of T'Leth by the player results in victory but also accidentally results in another worldwide environmental cataclysm, destroying the ecosystem of Earth and setting the stage for the third game in the series, X-COM: Apocalypse.


MicroProse wanted Mythos Games to make a sequel to Enemy Unknown in six months. Julian Gollop felt that the only way to do so was to change the graphics and make minor changes to the gameplay. Eventually, MicroProse licensed Mythos' code and their internal UK studio created Terror from the Deep within a year, while Mythos Games began developing Apocalypse.[3] MicroProse artist Terry Greer recalled:

"A decision was made to use the original engine, reskin the graphics and create a whole new story. By keeping changes to the absolute minimum a sequel could be created in just a few months. Also, by not inventing any new game features or game technology it would make the scheduling one largely led purely by asset creation – which makes it whole lot easier when it comes to estimating task durations and scheduling."[4]

Simultaneously with making the console ports of Terror, MicroProse UK began work on their X-COM: Alliance project.


X-COM Terror from the Deep was originally released on 1 June 1995 for PC DOS. It was ported for the 3DO and PlayStation in 1996.

On 4 May 2007, Terror from the Deep was released on Steam by 2K Games, who has inherited the franchise (first only for the Windows XP, but a later update which enabled Windows Vista support). The game has been also re-released as part of the compilations X-COM Collector's Edition by MicroProse in 1998, X-COM Collection by Hasbro Interactive in 1999, X-COM: Complete Pack by 2K Games in 2008 and 2K Huge Games Pack in 2009.


Review scores
Publication Score
GameSpot 7.2/10[5]
PC Gamer (UK) 92%[6]
PC Gamer (US) 82%[7]
PC Zone 94%[8]

Terror from the Deep was received mostly very well. PC Gamer UK called it to be "not only a great sequel to UFO but a superb game in its own right."[6] On the other hand, GameSpot stated that "apart from new art and a handful of new combat options, this is exactly the same game as UFO Defense, only much more difficult."[5]

Julian Gollop criticised MicroProse for "some classic mistakes in turn-based games, which is to make the difficulty too tough and the levels too big, long and tedious to get through."[9] According to Jake Solomon, the lead designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, MicroProse did few new things with the sequel "except made it brutally harder and made the cruise ships four times longer than any human could realistically make," yet still the game "was awesome."[10]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Stokes, Nick (1995). X-COM: Terror From The Deep Game Play Manual. MicroProse Software. p. 89. 
  2. ^ "X-COM: Terror from the Deep – PC – IGN". Uk.pc.ign.com. 2013-08-27. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  3. ^ "The Story of X-Com". Eurogamer. 28 November 2010. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.terrygreer.com/xcomterrorfromthe-deep.html
  5. ^ a b Dulin, Ron (1 May 1996). "TFTD review by GameSpot". GameSpot. Retrieved 30 October 2010. 
  6. ^ a b PC Gamer, April 1995
  7. ^ "PC Gamer Online | X-COM: Terror from the Deep". Web.archive.org. 1999-12-11. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  8. ^ PC Zone, May 1995
  9. ^ "Julian Gollop on XCOM – Edge Magazine". Edge-online.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  10. ^ "Know Your Enemy: Firaxis On XCOM, Part 1". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • UFOPaedia: An extensive wiki containing information, analysis, strategy, and other resources for this and other games in the series.