ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dark Colony

Updated on July 3, 2011


Dark Colony is a real-time strategy game released in the year 1997 by Strategic Simulations Incorporated (or SSI for short). Released around the time that Starcraft came out, it arguably never stood a chance in that respect, but it's definitely a worthy RTS in its own right.

This game, like many RTS games back in the day, boasted an impressive two races, the Humans and the Grays (these being the stereotypical aliens you might see on television, but gray instead of green). Both races are virtually identical, having only minute differences to differentiate them. For example, the Human infantry unit is the Trooper and the Gray infantry unit is the Gray (yes, they're called by their race name. :P). Troopers have more armor but Grays hit harder. In practice, the differences in stats don't really make much a difference.

Dark Colony Cover Art

The official packaging for Dark Colony. That's planet Mars and the flying unit for the Gray race.
The official packaging for Dark Colony. That's planet Mars and the flying unit for the Gray race.


The game's storyline is more or less the following: Humans have arrived on Mars and have seen a possibility to spread their presence in the universe. However, the current conditions on Mars prevent human life from existing without life support systems, so the humans start an aggressive terraforming program to change the conditions on Mars to those on Earth. They quickly realize that there is already an indigenous race on the planet, the Grays. Of course, as you can imagine, coexistence is out of the question. The Grays see the Terraformers (the buildings, not the human race, but it matters not in practice) as vile edifices and attempt to destroy them, as the humans defend themselves.

That, in a nutshell, is the start of the campaign, which can be played from either side. The story isn't spectacular, but the missions themselves and how they play out works so well that it doesn't really matter in the end.


This game gets many props from me. The '90s saw a wide range of RTS games, and frankly (in my opinion) a great number of them were bad. Terrible even. However, this game is pretty easy to learn and enjoy, and has several innovations which set it apart from conventional RTS games even today.

In a normal game (non-campaign) you will start with one structure, your Commander and an infantry unit. The structure is the Exo Center if you're Human or the Hive Mind if you're Gray. You need this main building to create harvester units, that gather resources for you from vents located around the map. Unlike most other RTS games that force you to make several workers for each mine/resource location, here you only need one harvester per vent. Once you send the harvester to the vent, it will deploy itself, gaining an armor boost and gathering resources for your side.

Your Commander is a boosted version of your race's infantry unit and has two abilities (the second one only if he is Rank 2 or higher). The first ability, which can be used more frequently, inspires your troops to fight harder, doing more damage (and possibly suffering less damage, but don't take my word on that part). The second ability, unavailable to Rank 1 commanders, is the Drop Ship. It reinforces your position with 2-4 units (2 at Rank 2, 3 at Rank 3 and 4 at Rank 4), but has a long cooldown time after use, so you may not be able to use it more than once or twice per game.

Another departure from most RTS games of the day is the centralized base. I mentioned before that you start with one structure. Well, said structure is on top of what I call a base site. Any buildings you construct will be placed on top of said site. Also, you cannot expand and make new bases, so one's all you get. Similar to Command and Conquer, in this game you make units from one main menu, listing any units and buildings you can create at that point in time. You would think that this limits your ability to do much of anything, and you'd be wrong. :P

You see, you can make units instantly as long as you have the funds. This does have the nasty effect of creating some very brutal wars in the late-game, but it does have the convenience that if you keep some money banked, you will always be able to create units to defend yourself.

By the time you max out your tech tree, you will have:

  • A harvester unit
  • A basic infantry unit
  • A unit that can burrow into the ground, becoming a landmine.
  • A flying unit that attacks ground units.
  • A heavy ground unit that can only attack other ground units.
  • A unit that can root itself into a position and become a turret (this game's equivalent of the RTS defensive tower.)
  • An artillery unit (has high range, but poor health and defense.)
  • A top-level unit that can hit air and ground, has the highest range in the game after artillery, but average health. They can also be upgraded to use an ability that does area-effect damage.
  • A flying, healing unit that cannot attack.

You'd be surprised how gripping battles can be with such few units. Quality over quantity! ;)


So, that's about it for this review of an old, but nice game. Certain parts of it have not aged well over time, and the interface is rather archaic as compared to more modern RTS games, but if you're a fan of the genre, then I don't see why you wouldn't give this game a test run.

Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)


Related Items on


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Charles Goldsmith 

      6 years ago

      WOW!! I'd forgot about thius game for years!! Then I remembered a tough level and I could not remember the name so I searched "strategy game with aliens and humans from the 90's!" AND BOOM!! Down at the bottom of the first page here it is! So I thank you ever so much!

    • Winterfate profile imageAUTHOR

      Darrin Perez 

      8 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Yeah, I really enjoyed their Dark Sun games.

      I really miss the old days at times. :(

      Thanks for the comment! :D

    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 

      8 years ago from Macon, GA

      What a blast from the past. I remember SSI; they had a ton of games out back in the day.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)