What Makes A Good RTS?

The argument would be wrong. No, this is more Gauntlet than Command and Conquer, as well as an irritating game full of stupid collision detection. So Gain Ground does not get to feature as one of the actual RTSes in this list, and yet I get to have my cake and eat it too as I feature it in the ‘not an RTS’ section of the video. Huzzah! Why waste time going over each of these individually, when instead I can just bundle them together and point out none of them are real-time strategy games? Why. In. Deed. Lemmings is a classic, brilliant, and lovely puzzle game that had its music mangled on the Mega Drive; Cannon Fodder is closer to an arcade shooter with elements of strategy which until making this video I had never played on console and oh crikey it works well; and Syndicate is an absolute laughing stock on SNES and Oncasinogames Canada. Even if it’s quite close to being an RTS, I’m just going to summarily write it off because I’m still bitter about how it changed for those two consoles. They’re all tactics or puzzle games, basically, and not what I’d class as an RTS. My video, my rules.

It’s Sim City in space, sure, but Utopia adds one element that takes it from straight-up city-builder to something I think it’s fair to class as an RTS: combat. While more about defending from incoming alien assaults than tank-rushing an underprepared opponent, Utopia does still fit the bill in my once-again scientifically accurate studies. And, while I’d say it’s largely forgotten in mainstream discussions – yeah, you only get mentions of it from edgy cool dudes like me – Utopia was an early example of the RTS genre turning into its own thing, and, yep, is still a bunch of fun. One thing that made Utopia stand out on SNES was how it actually incorporated the system’s mouse peripheral – you know, that thing people only ever used for Mario Paint and no other thing ever. Did it work? Well, in my official opinion I have zero idea, because I don’t have a SNES Mouse so didn’t get to try it out.

Let’s go with: yeah, sure, why not. As a port, Utopia was actually pretty good – it runs at a pace it’s difficult to register as actually showing any, and the pad controls take some learning, and oh dear crikey the music is irritating after five minutes, but I could see this stealing away hours from those snooty SNES owners back in the day. I do wonder if it would have ever been possible on the Mega Drive, but I don’t see Jaleco running back to hammer out a Sega version just to sate my curiosity. The meanies. I think the Ogre Battle series is probably more famous these days for Tactics Ogre, the second game released – and yes, that’s a turn-based tactics game. A brilliant one, and one I would likely marry would it have me. But the first game in the series on SNES was actually a real-time strategy game, at least in the most part.