X-COM: Terror from the Deep

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X-COM: Terror from the Deep
North American MS-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) Windows, MS-DOS, PlayStation
Release 1 June 1995 (PC)[2]
1996 (PlayStation)
Genre(s) Real-time strategy, turn-based tactics
Mode(s) Single-player

X-COM: Terror from the Deep is a turn-based 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 is set in 2040, four decades after the events of Enemy Unknown. Following the destruction of the alien Brain on Cydonia, a transmitter remained active there which awakened a group of aliens under the Earth's seas who had lain dormant for millions of years. After awakening, the aliens proceed to terrorize seagoing vessels and port cities, kidnapping humans to perform bizarre genetic experiments on them. X-COM, which had been disbanded after the first alien war, is revived by the Earth's governments to fight this new menace as the aliens' ultimate goal is to reawaken their supreme leader, a being that cannot be stopped once revived.

Eventually, it is revealed the aquatic aliens, cousins of the Sectoids from Enemy Unknown, 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 to the PlayStation in 1996. In 1998, a Windows 95 port was released with Enemy Unknown as part of the X-COM Collector's Edition.

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]

Together with its predecessor, UFO: Enemy Unknown, Terror from the Deep's sales had passed 1 million copies by March 1997.[9]

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."[10] 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."[11]

The fan-created OpenXCom project, originally an improved, modernized remake of UFO Defense, also added TFTD support which fixed a number of bugs and programming oversights in the original game, including better enemy AI.

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. Archived from the original on 11 December 1999. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  8. ^ PC Zone, May 1995
  9. ^ Coleman, Terry (March 1997). "Winter Wonderland". Computer Gaming World (152): 209, 210. 
  10. ^ "Julian Gollop on XCOM – Edge Magazine". Edge-online.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  11. ^ "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.