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Video Game / Maelstrom (2007)

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Maelstrom is a Real-Time Strategy game, released in 2007 by KDV Games. It is set on future Earth, where humanity has split into two warring camps: Ascension, made up of the unified corporations of the industrialised world, and Remnants, which are low(er)-tech rebels who resist their tyranny. Their struggle has just reached stalemate when the Alien Invasion occurred. The aquatic Hi-Jenti race has occupied Earth’s oceans, and seeks to spread further inward and eradicate human race by completely flooding the surface.

The game can be purchased on Steam here. Oh, and it has nothing to do with with the tabletop game of the same name, the water ride at EPCOT Center, the Asteroids clone by Ambrosia Software or the My Hero Academia fanfic of the same name.

Maelstrom provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aquatic Mook: Hi-Jenti are this by default. Land-bound units of the two human factions can be converted into this by investing into the aquatic upgrades.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The strategical AI isn’t too bad, and it can even build bases for you pretty well. However, the game’s pathing algorithms are really, utterly broken. If you send a column of vehicles anywhere, you’ll likely discover most of them stuck halfway through, unable to drive over or around some minor terrain features. Luckily, enemy troops suffer from the same issues, balancing the playing field.
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    • It also applies to targeting calculations. It’s entirely possible for vehicles to attempt shooting at each other, have their projectiles stopped by terrain, and carry on in perpetuity (or at least until back-up arrives). Special prize goes to the cryo-soldiers, which will often freeze the water the allies or even themselves are standing in.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Terra-morphing. Sure, it’s cool to do something that 99% of strategies don’t allow and dig up new hills, ravines, or even lakes and rivers. However, it takes up realistic amounts of time to do anything significant, and you also can’t outsource this task to the computer.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: You’re allowed to manually control any of your units, which shifts camera perspective from bird’s-eye-view to a more typical third-person camera.
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  • Command & Conquer Economy: Averted: It is possible to set the base-building automatically, and it works pretty well for its day.
  • Energy Weapon: The Ascension weaponry is mainly laser-based.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Cryo units of the two human factions will freeze the water reservoirs, allowing land units to go over them safely and instantly killing any hi-jenti that were submerged underneath.
  • Mega-Corp: Ascension, which are a single, large corporation that has taken over most of the industrialised world and was busy battling the Remnant rebels when Hi-Jenti arrived. Their technology is the most advanced of the the three: their units have regenerating armour, while buildings generate enough solar power from roofs and windows to sustain themselves without need for dedicated power stations, and can transform into vehicles in the event of emergency.
  • Regenerating Shields, Static Health: Ascension units have self-repairing armor, but their health remains static without healing from dedicated units.
  • Regenerating Health: Hi-Jenti units will regenerate health while they’re underwater.
  • RPG Elements: The commanders you can control in third-person mode will gain experience points, and obtain new skills when they level up.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Averted. Drowning is instead represented as human units steadily losing health while they’re in water until they die.


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