Haegemonia: Legions of Iron
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|Haegemonia – Legions of Iron|
|Publisher(s)||DreamCatcher Games and Anuman Interactive (USA), Wanadoo (Europe)|
|Genre(s)||Science fiction RTS|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
Haegemonia: Legions of Iron, or Hegemonia: Legions of Iron is a 3D real-time strategy game made by the Hungarian Digital Reality and is similar in many respects to Homeworld and Digital Reality's previous game, Imperium Galactica II. The game series uses many concepts originating from the Master of Orion series.
Haegemonia takes place in the distant future where humanity has colonized the solar system and tensions are high between the World Government of Earth and colonial Mars. A summit on Earth's moon is planned to ease tensions, but the Martian representative's shuttle is destroyed en route by a third, currently unknown, party. The two sides blame each other and this one event sparks off the civil war between the colonists and Earth.
The player can side with Captain Jack Garner of Earth to quell the colonial uprising, or join Captain Nilea Cortilliari and the Martian colonists on their campaign for independence.
Once the outcome of the war is decided, be it Earth or Mars, humanity unites under the new Unified Government and forms the Legions of Iron, its vanguard of expansion into the unknown.
As the human race expands outward from Sol, mysteries are solved and new ones are created as they encounter new worlds and alien civilizations.
The Earth Campaign of Haegemonia is treated more like a basic training campaign. It teaches the players the basic interface of gameplay and then thrusts them into battle. The first Act the player has to escort a research vessel to the sun. As you progress through the missions you learn more about how to play the game, gain new units and the ability to build them. The campaign then enters the "high" point of the Earth-Mars War. During the last part of the act, you have to prepare for the final assault on Mars. On the last mission, the player is thrust into a tough final battle with Mars, regardless of whether the player is ready or not. Winning the battle will always result in the same situation, a unified Solar System and the forming of the Legions of Iron. After this the acts between Earth and Mars are almost exactly the same.
The Mars campaign begins with intercepting trade ships which are supplying Earth's installations. Following this mission are some other missions which contain fights on the outer regions of Sol, between colonies of Mars and Earth. And at the end of this episode, you'll have to attack Earth. To do so, you must destroy all units around Earth. These consist of some fighter squads and two (indestructible) battle bases. First off, you'll kill the fighter squads, then HQ comes in play and sends two kamikaze ships at the base stars. These you must protect by putting your forces between the line of fire from the base star's and the kamikaze ships. When that's done, you'll see a nice cinematic and finish the first episode of the Mars campaign!
Haegemonia has a large amount of high-tech hardware, like deflector shields on ships, energy weapons and such.
- Humans: their recent entry of interstellar affairs places them last among the list of technological advancement of the three races. However, they should not be underestimated: their proton blasters have the ability to entirely bypass enemy shields, damaging the hull directly. Also, their speed of advancement is very fast, as they were capable of shooting the other fighter with lasers one year, then blowing away enemy fortifications from their entropy-powered battleships on the other.
- Kariaks: their ships look highly technological, with similar inventions to that of the humans'. Their ion weapons may not be devastating, but very accurate. Their blasters also have the capability to short-circuit the targeted ship's shields, knocking them out for a while and rendering it vulnerable.
- Darzoks: what the others make with technology, the Darzoks make with power. Their ships are composed of a type of semi-organic material, capable of regenerating. As for their quantum weapons, they deal great damage, with splash area of effect, but at the cost of projectile speed.
Haegemonia allows the player to create a multi-system empire. At first, only the planets similar to Earth can be colonized. After advanced terraforming and colonization techniques are researched or stolen from enemies, almost any planet can be colonized and, eventually, terraformed into Gaia-class worlds (gas giants are uninhabitable).
There are several ways of getting money to fund planetary projects and space construction: tax colonies, steal money from enemies with spies, mine resource-rich asteroids, receive tribute from other races/factions, and other ways (e.g. aid from Earth).
Research system is based on research points (RPs) which are allocated at the beginning of each mission. Most of the time, that is the maximum for the mission; however, certain random events may also increase that amount. During the campaign, all researched technologies are transferred from mission to mission, and the player can choose a certain number of ships and heroes to bring along to the next mission.
The espionage system is also different from many other games. Spy ships can be constructed in the same manner as other ships, usually no more than 3 may be present at a time. Certain heroes excel at spying and are best placed in those ships. These ships are invisible on sensors and have no sensors of their own (to prevent unfair use as scouts). Instead, spy ships can be assigned mission to be performed on planets, ships, or stations. The higher the level of the spy ship and/or hero is, the more types of missions they may perform (they gain levels by spying). In some cases, a well-trained spy ship may be worth several battleships. Spies can also be used to detect and stop enemy spies. If a spy ship is detected (e.g. spy mission failure, detected by another spy), it becomes visible for a short time to all ships, allowing it to be attacked. Ship behaviors and spy missions can be set using right-click menus. The same is true for subsystem targeting, although it is limited to hull, engines, and weapons.
Energy weapons are split up into three groups: cannons (fighters only), turrets (anti-fighter, used on turret corvettes and heavy ships), and blasters (only energy weapon for orbital bombardment, used on blaster corvettes and heavy ships). Contrary to popular belief, ships equipped with turrets can bombard planets, just not as effectively. Weaponry also comes in four distinct forms:
- Proton: orange, ball-shaped projectile, primarily used by human ships. Proton weapons are fairly accurate and fast-hitting. They have the ability to penetrate shields.
- Ion: blue-white beam, reminiscent of the Ion Cannons from Homeworld. Ion weapons are mainly used on Kariak ships; they are instant-hitting and has a chance to temporarily disable shields.
- Quantum: grey-purple cloud. These weapons are slow, compared to proton projectiles, however they have high, area-of-effect damage. Used by Darzoks.
- Missile: the highest damaging weapons. They are very effective against slow targets and are the ultimate planetary bombardment weapons, possessing a very high kill-off. To counter this, they are ineffective against fighters and very vulnerable to ECM: fully researched, MK-2 ECM systems will cause up to 90% of incoming missiles to veer off-course, though more advanced warheads can resist ECM to some extent.
Planetary takeovers are accomplished by literally bombing a planet into submission, killing millions of people in the process (apparently the designers did not want to add planetary combat to the game, not even a simulated one). If the population is low to begin with, the planet will most likely become uninhabited and free to be colonized. Planetary bombardment, apparently, does not affect the planet's quality and besides, there's no way to affect a planet's quality negatively, unlike the expansion.
Technologies like better weapons or better morale on your planets can be researched in the research screen (default: F5). The researches are categorized in 3 levels: basic, advanced and superior. The higher the level, the more you can upgrade (for example: +10% accuracy on basic, +15% acc. on advanced and +10% acc. on superior resulting in a total of +35% acc., ). The upgrades are also categorized in different categories: Ship tech, equipment, quantum weapons (mostly Darzok), proton weapons (mostly human), ion weapons (mostly Kariak), missile weapons (all races), planet tech and sociology & spy.
For good overview of the battle, the game includes the Starmap (default: spacebar). This is a 3d overview that allows you to view the battle from any direction you want, and with clear symbols representing the ships classes. You'll mostly be controlling your empire using this feature.
The latest patch, v1.07 introduces some minor modifications, like graphically showing sensor ranges in the starmap, ability to pause the game with P and redefine nearly every shortcut, as well as the ability to save skirmish matches. Another patch, marked as v2.01, contains a range of tools for modding.
Humans - Legions of Iron
There are four main differences between the Earth and Mars campaigns: the storyline of the first chapter, the result of the Earth-Mars war, the look of certain ships, and your hero (Garner or Cortilliari). Starting with chapter two, the two campaigns unfold virtually identically.
Humans began on Earth. During the age of space exploration, the Solar system was colonized, solving the Earth's overpopulation and resource problems. However, FTL travel was still beyond human science, so the race was confined within the boundaries of the system. After several generations, those living in colonies stopped thinking of themselves as Earthlings and saw the colonies as their home. Tensions arose as the Earth Empire attempted to force their rule on Mars (completely terraformed) and the other colonies. In response, Mars rebelled, and the other colonies joined it. When Mars diplomat's shuttle was ambushed and destroyed on the way to the Lunar summit, each side blamed the other, eventually resulting in a long and bloody war across the entire system. The war ended with the crushing defeat of one of the sides (player's choice which one) and formed the Legions of Iron. Coincidentally, a wormhole was discovered at the edge of the Solar system at the same time. Two more were found shortly after. Thus began the age of interstellar exploration and expansion for the new empire.
Most of the war was fought with Fighters and Corvettes using primitive plasma weapons. Close to the end, Proton and Missile weapons slowly replaced Plasma as the main tools of destruction. First Cruiser prototypes were also built, however their slow speed and low maneuverability made them the prime targets for waves of Fighters.
The Kariak are the first alien race humanity officially encountered. Unfortunately, the encounter ended in disaster, as several Kariak ships exited an unexplored wormhole in a newly colonized system and attacked a defenseless transport, starting the Human-Kariak war. "Kariak" is most likely not the race's actual name, as the name was a random designation because the Kariak language remained unknown until the end of the war. Physically, they are humanoids with stone-like features and great physical strength, compared to humans. The Kariaks' native climate is Desert. It is only later discovered that the unprovoked attack on the transport happened out of fear, not malice. Apparently, long ago, the Kariak were attacked by a hostile alien race whose ships looked similar to that of the Legions of Iron.
The Kariak tend to rely more on their Cruisers than Fighters or Corvettes for combat. Their weapons of choice are Ion-based, allowing them to hit their target nearly instantaneously.
The Darzok suddenly appeared at the close of the Human-Kariak war, claiming to be on a mission of peace and exploration (they managed to decipher English fairly quickly). It wasn't long, however, before the situation changed. Apparently, the Darzok military took over their government once the humans and the Kariak were discovered, claiming them to be a threat. The Darzok then launched a powerful attack at both the Legions of Iron and the Kariak Empire. The first strike would have been crippling, had one of the former Darzok officials not warned the Legions of Iron of the impending attack. Still the Darzok pushed on, forcing a split within the Kariak Empire, where a rogue general attempted to aid his race's enemies in exchange for the promise of regency of the Kariak. Recent intelligence suggests that the Darzok may, in fact, be acting on behalf of some other, unknown force. Physically, the Darzok are four-armed giants (about 10 feet tall) with slight insectoid features.
The Darzok are a very warlike people, even more than Humans. Their elegant warships are much heavier than their Human and Kariak counterparts, and their hulls of organic material have superb regeneration capabilities. They try to complement their Heavy Cruisers and Battleships with Fighters and Corvettes in order to create a nearly unbeatable attack force. There are also rumors of massive supply ships being developed to support the Darzok armada on their campaign of destruction, allowing their ships to be repaired in flight. Darzok military technology far surpasses that of the Legions or the Kariak. Their Quantum weapons can turn most warships to stardust with just a few shots, and their wormhole blocking technology allows them to control the interstellar routes.
Very little information is available on this ancient race. According to the message left in one of the Solon bases in the Eden system, they were a powerful race whose influence spread through the whole galaxy. Then, an unknown force appeared and turned the civilizations under Solon tutelage against them, one by one. Severely outnumbered, the Solon fled to an unknown location. The bases themselves are armed with extremely powerful weapons that can reduce incoming ships to nothing in a matter of seconds. These defenses further indicate that the Solon were trying to protect themselves from something else. Those who can penetrate the defenses without destroying the base will be able to use the technological gifts left behind by the Solon. When the Kariak first discovered the base in the Eden system, they attempted to take over it by force, which ended in a disaster. After the incident, the system became taboo, but the colonization of the system by the humans presented the opportunity to share their technological expertise; this ultimately resulted in the creation of a device that scrambled the base's IFF recognition system, allowing human ships to pass off as friendlies. The Solon in the aforementioned message looks similar to the stereotypical "Grey" aliens.
Kor'a'chak, a.k.a. "The Unseen Ones"
Very little information is known. The reason the Kariak originally attacked the humans was because they mistook the humans for this ancient race. All that is known is that the Kor'a'chak once warred with the Kariak, with the latter nearly becoming extinct as a result. When the Darzok were defeated, a human exploration team found an ancient derelict at the outskirts of the Ob system; boarding it, they found a hologram which warned them: even though they defeated the Darzok, "nothing can withstand the wrath of the Unseen Ones; be prepared, mortal, you will be our slaves very soon!".
The fact that the Solon were defeated by technologically inferior races motivated by an unknown foe and that the Unseen Ones used the Darzoks to attack the humans hints that maybe the Kor'a'chak were the ones behind the fall of the Solon Empire; however, until a sequel comes out, this cannot be confirmed.
Due to the success of the game, Digital Reality produced an add-on package, The Solon Heritage, which added a few new features, such as a proper skirmish mode, and modding tools. After the destruction of the Armada, a mysterious artifact of Solon origin was discovered, leading to technological advancements and intense military buildup. It was not that well received, however, due to the lack of a new campaign in favor of refining and rebalancing gameplay. Because of contract issues (mainly of Wanadoo being sold), The Solon Heritage was not published in the USA. However, the Solon Heritage as well as Legions of Iron can now be obtained via a digital download from various online retailers.
Several changes compared to the original game:
- New gamemodes: Informant, where one side mainly has spies, while the other military units; Mess-up, where the wormholes move around randomly; Drill, where the only source of income is mining.
- New ships for all races: diplomatic ships which ferry RPs, money, research, etc. and residential bases which generate additional income. In addition, all races can build Solon ships which has superior firepower, armor, accuracy and firing range, offset by their insanely high upkeep (for example, a cruiser-class Solon Leech costs as much as five Cruisers) and unique vulnerability: destroying the communication center required for building these ships results in all Solon units owned by that player detonating.
- New race-specific units:
- Human: dropships wreak major havoc on planets and self-destructing satellites surprising the enemy.
- Kariak: disintegrator satellites weaken enemy ships while virus ships convert/destroy them.
- Darzok: kamikaze ships and special satellites whose detection range span through an entire system.
- Heavily modified units: weaponry of non-fighter military ships have been standardized (corvettes have a single blaster, cruisers have 2 turrets and a blaster while battleships have 3 blasters and one turret), with the result of fighters being more effective (they are smaller and more numerous per group(11)).
- New spy missions like epidemic, radar sabotage, ecological disaster (reverse terraforming), etc.
- Over 70 new inventions with several old ones modified. Research can now be done from a nine-item list where each invention is done after the previous one finishes with no manual input required.
- Deployable ships can be moved and redeployed at will. The Starmap can be rotated. New planetary defense structures are available.
- Improved AI: trade ships no longer visit enemies' planets because they are no longer ignored by military units. AI players are unpredictable, using every unit to gain the upper hand.