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X-COM the Little Video Game that Could!

Updated on March 18, 2015

X-COM Aliens

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X-COM the Little Video Game that Could!

For those that are old enough to remember the 90 's, you may recall a certain game called X-COM Ufo Defense. This game wasn't hyped up, neither was there a lot a fuss made over it, but the few of us who played X-COM Ufo Defense fell in love with its then original and addicting game mechanics. The love of this game made many of us recruit other gamers, and they recruited other gamers, and so on and so on. It wasn't long before X-COM Ufo Defense became popular. This popularity eventually grow, allowing this little game to gain a cult status.



Years later some fans of X-COM Ufo Defense now video game developers decide to reboot the franchise, they did so with great success. The X-COM series now had an additional following from both new and old gamers. The success of the reboot didn't stop there it has now spawn X-COM into a board game. What 's next for the X-COM franchise who knows for sure, Action figures, t-shirts maybe, whatever direction it decide to go, one things is for sure it will have this fan watching and following.

X-COM Page Summary:

  • What is X-COM Ufo Defense
  • Other Versions of X-COM
  • X-COM Enemy Unknown
  • X-COM Enemy Within
  • X-COM Becomes a Board Game

"The game is a "reimagined"remake of the 1994 cult classic strategy game UFO Enemy Unknown (also known as X-COM: UFO Defense) and a reboot of Microprose's 1990s X-COM series. "

Source of Quote Wikipedia

What is X-COM Ufo Defense?

X-com is a little DOS based game made by Microrose some time in 1995. This little turn based strategy games came out when pc video game graphics was still in its infancy. The game wasn't without its perks, you where able to manage resources, do research and upgrade your weapons and bases, but the most appealing thing about this game for me was the ability to control the troops. Based on time unit you could move all or some of your troops, and have them perform certain actions. Once you exhausted your time units for that round it was the aliens turn. I still remember the realistic sounds from the game, like that eerie noise that told you when alien units where near by.


Once you cleared the mission the surviving troops would sometimes get promoted given them more turn unit or other attributes.The game would then get exponentially harder and harder as you progressed until you unlocked the end of gameplay scenario and finished that mission. All in all I believe the game mechanics where ahead of the curve, but the technologies wasn't there to substain it. Despite its short cumming in certain departments X-COM Ufo Defense still managed to gain a cult following. I remember recruiting a few members to this cult as well. I still have fond memories of this game, it is sad that you cannot play this game anymore on it original operating system like it should be.

X-COM Ufo Defense

Other Versions of X-COM

X-COM Ufo Defense was a great game, and in the following years they tried many times to duplicate its success. This attempt was done very poorly in my own humble opinion, it was basically the same game mechanics as the first one. X-COM Terror from the Deep as it was called, had a lot of similarities to the successful X-COM Ufo Defense, and there where very few differences to this version of the game. One of them was that the game was based on an under water theme and so reflected the based, and aliens a like. There wasn't too much of an effort put into this game to make it better them is counterpart. I believe that is is when the X-COM franchise took a down turn.


Two years later starting in 1997, they made another attempt to profit off the success of the original X-COM Ufo Defense this was done with little success. X-COM Apocalypse's gameplay was different from the original it had a few different game mechanics, it offered real time play as well as turn based play, and it certainly was more complex than the original, but it didn't feel like the original to me. Other attempts where tried in different formats, X-COM Interceptor was made as a space flight simulator. A few other games sporting the X-COM name followed, but had little or no impact on the gaming industry, so I'll refrain from naming them, as you probably haven't heard about them either.

"XCOM: Enemy Unknown greatly impressed the public and media at E3 2012, where it won a number of awards from a variety of gaming publications, such as the title of "Best Strategy Game" from Gamespy. Game Informer,I GNand Machinima,The game also won the titles "Best PC Game" and "Best Strategy Game" in the 2012 E3 Game Critics Awards."

Source of Quote Wikipedia

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X-COM Enemy Unknown

In 2012 Firaxis decided to take a crack at a reboot of X-COM Ufo Defense. This attempt was called X-COM Enemy Unknown, and it was a homerun. It won a numerous of awards and rekindled The X-COM name, not to mention I believe it was also the cause of many video games now turning to a turn base game play mechanic, that was almost non existent in the Video Game World.


I remember seeing advertising for X-COM Enemy Unknown on You Tube and in magazines, and I was excited to see the end product. I am a cult follower of the original X-COM, and could not wait to see what they had done with the game. I must say they did not disappoint this time. The game was what I would imagine the original would have been, if they had been capable of making it in the 90. Various scenarios, re playability, and cool cut scenes is was made X-COM Enemy Unknown a hit with many gamers like myself.

X-COM Enemy Within

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X-COM Enemy Within

The Expansion X-COM Enemy Within which came out nearly a year later. Reminds me of what they attempted to do after the original X-COM. That is to come out with another game a short time after to bank on the originals success. They took a chance on making an expansion this could of went the same way as Terror from the deep went, and become a massive flop, but luckily they made an honest effort this time.


X-COM Enemy Within features includes more tech, more skills for troops, and a few new more challenging aliens. Your troops can also be modified in two different ways one being a turned into a mech, who doesn't like mechs, and the other being able to give enhancement to your troops. There was also the addition of a new type of human enemy called the exalt. All this combined made for a new edge to the game, as well as making combat even more versatile.


X-COM Enemy Within despite it many changes, and upgrades was received with somewhat of a favorable welcome in the gaming community. Don't get me wrong the game was still fun, and it certainly sparked an interest in me again to re play, and try out the new troop upgrades as well the mechs did I mention I love mechs. X-Com Enemy Unknown and its expansion was what I have been waiting for a long time.


The Successful Expansion

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X-COM Becomes a Board Game

Following the success of the last two versions of the X-COM video game series. Someone has decided to make X-COM into a board games. X-COM is no longer the turn based game we all know and love. XCOM the Board game can now be played in real time with the use of an app. This four player co operative game can now be played with each of your team mates, each one having a different role, and decision making responsibilities. Managing forces and funds, prioritizing research, and defend your base in order to stay alive long enough to win the game.


The game app has four difficulty level as well as a tutorial. The purpose of the app is to give XCOM the Board Game a heightened sense of tension giving the game a real life and death type feel. Those of you who has played any type X-COM video game before might want to start out as commander, allowing newer players to experience the game first, before being put into a high stress role.

Great Review of XCOM the Board Game

In conclusion

X-COM Ufo Defense was for me, one the first video games that made me the gamer that I am today. I remember one of my friends showing me this game. Its wasn't too long before I was, playing hours and hours on a school night, going to school tired, and then repeating the process again and again. There is something addicting about this game that made all of us fall in love with it then and now. The fact that its has now been made into a board game shows that the X-Com Franchise is back, and will hopefully have many great surprise for its fans in the future to come.

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