Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri is the successor the Civilization II, which with one of its endings had a group of colonists leaving the planet and heading to this star system. In this game, you control the fate of the colonists as they struggle to survive and understand a sometimes hostile world. There are no more countries, instead there are factions, each led by as different philosophy. You can be led by the principles of industry, where making a profit and greed are good, a la Gordon Gecko, or you can be led by a reverence for the planet and build green technologies.
Just like Civilization, you get to manage your bases, and control its food and production, engage in diplomacy, and build weapons of war when the diplomacy fails. Running in the background is the story of ‘Planet’, featuring text rich cut scenes, where you begin to unravel its mysteries such as what the native Fungus is, and why it sends its creatures out to destroy you.
What sets the game apart is the eerie, pulsing background music that suits exploring an alien world perfectly the ability to construct an almost unmanageable variations of weapons, and the technologies, which go to enhancing hydroponics, melding the machine and mind, or building doomsday weapons. The tech also comes with a spoken quote to enhance the high concept value of what you researched. You can also influence the planet to a huge degree. Ignoring warnings about how my drilling was going to affect the atmosphere, the sea levels rose, destroying bases on the coast. Launching a nuclear bombardment against my erstwhile enemies the Hive Faction, led to the making Planet angry, and sending wave after wave of alien creatures to kill me off.
Liked Civ or any city building game? You’ll like Alpha.