Ground Control II: Operation Exodus – Compatibility

Ground Control II Title Screen

Ground Control II Title Screen

System Requirements

Operating System: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
Processor: 1.5GHz Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon
Memory: 256MB RAM
Video: 128MB AGP video card
Hard Drive: 1.5GB
Optical Drive: 24x CD-ROM
Windows 10

  • Installs – Yes
  • Runs – Yes
  • Uninstalls – Yes

Everything with Ground Control II appears to work flawlessly in Windows 10.

Ground Control II: Operation Exodus – Windows XP Game First Impressions

Ground Control II Title Screen

Ground Control II Title Screen

I must preface this article by stating that the majority of my current real-time strategy game knowledge comes from games that came out prior to the year 2000. Starcraft was a LAN party favorite, though we were known to crack out Warcraft II, Command & Conquer, Total Annihilation, and Age of Empires II. I briefly played Supreme Commander with friends when it came out. When the first Ground Control came out, I had a friend who continually badgered me to play it. He talked like it would change my paradigm with regard to strategy games. It’s possible it may have, had I played it. My friend and I were both in high school at the time with limited money. He wanted me to play his game and I wanted him to play Starcraft instead.

Years later I purchased Ground Control II: Operation Exodus at a used bookstore. I’m not really sure what kept me from playing it until now. Perhaps life just got in the way. I know I picked it up and played it a couple of times but couldn’t really get into it for some reason. Seeing that it works in Windows 10, it’s time to give it another chance.

Ground Control II: Operation Exodus is a real-time strategy game developed by Massive Entertainment and released by Sierra in 2004. As I stated earlier, it is the sequel to Ground Control that was released in 2000. The thing I noticed at first glance when playing that makes this game unique is its emphasis on tactics and the elimination of base building.

Ground Control II Pro Tip

Ground Control II Pro Tip

In Starcraft, Command & Conquer, etc., a certain quantity of a needed resource is provided on the game’s playfield. When that resource is extracted, it can be used to build buildings in the player’s base and from those buildings construct various unit types to be used in combat. Ground Control II gets rid of this by giving you a starting number of units and then giving the player what are called acquisition points. Acquisition points are granted whenever a player overtakes another player’s capture point or drop ship base. When enough acquisition points are accumulated, the player may use them to purchase units that are delivered via drop ship to their own drop ship base. If a player has no drop ship base, there is no way for them to spend acquisition points. This makes Ground Control II more of a hybrid between games like Starcraft which is truly a real-time strategy title and something like Myth where starting number of units in battle is finite, which falls squarely into the real-time tactics genre.

Drop Ship Location

Drop Ship Location

There are some interesting concepts introduced in Ground Control II that I have not seen in other real-time strategy games. Infantry units, while weak like in many real-time strategy titles, can be sandwiched in all sorts of places you wouldn’t expect on the map. They can be hidden inside buildings, or hide out in forests. Directing a tank can be unwieldy. Blindly right-clicking in a direction may or may not work, depending on what the unit thinks your direct orders to it were. Whenever I tell an infantry unit to move, however, it always seems to move. Infantry can just go anywhere and squeeze into any place. They are easily underestimated, and a delight to use to come up with improvised strategies. The player may also use acquisition points to call in air strikes on enemy base locations. The air strike takes a certain amount of time to occur after it has been ordered. Be careful you don’t blow up your own units when you use it.

The tutorial is fairly boring to play through – it actually put me to sleep the first time I played through it – but it is quite informative. I would recommend starting there if you are new to the Ground Control series. Some of the things discussed apply across all real-time strategy games, but others do not. I recall jumping in without the tutorial one of the times I tried to pick Ground Control II up and being a little confused.

Capturing Their Drop Ship Location

Capturing Their Drop Ship Location

Of course, if you like playing games with the sound turned on, you may be confused anyway. The units under the player’s command will talk like they are completely out-numbered, surrounded and about to be slaughtered when they first witness an enemy unit a hundred yards away. It gets frustrating microing units on one side of the map, feeling like you are doing pretty good as the enemy is on the run, and then hearing chatter like you are losing the entire game due to one little unit from the enemy making its way across enemy lines on the other side of the map. At least I learned to ignore those sounds once I had played the tutorial.

And Their Main Base

And Their Main Base

In my gameplay thus far, the Empire has come back from Earth to reestablish control on their former fringe colonies that have since flourished in their freedom from the Empire’s oppressive rule. In the first campaign, the player plays as the resistance forces of the Northern Star Alliance working to remove the Empire from their worlds. In the second level of this campaign, a UFO crashes into the capital city of the Northern Star Alliance, Morningstar Prime. As the game progresses it appears the player may also play a campaign as an alien race. I’ll need to play through Ground Control II, and Ground Control for that matter, and then review further to know more about what happens.

Ground Control II game disc

Ground Control II game disc

Ground Control II: Operation Exodus has mostly been a forgettable and largely uninspiring experience for me thus far. Its plot and gameplay mechanics are interesting. Its cutscenes are well made. The graphics and sound are alright. As far as science fiction real-time strategy games released by Sierra go, this one blows Outpost 2: Divided Destiny out of the water. But Ground Control II is missing that spark for me. When the infantrymen die in the unmoving cutscenes, I feel like I am watching clay figures or toy soldiers; I don’t have any emotional feelings for these polygonal people. The character’s chatter feels canned. I have yet to receive satisfaction from the game telling me I did a job well done. The only satisfaction received from this game is beating the level and flanking the enemy. It could be for this reason that playing the multiplayer mode would be far better than the single-player campaigns. If I can find someone to play with me, I’ll give that a try. Until then I would only recommend Ground Control II to collector’s who must have every game, and strategy buffs who feel they must beat every real-time strategy title.

Bad Mojo – Compatibility

Bad Mojo Title Screen

Bad Mojo Title Screen

Windows 10

  • Installs – Yes.
  • Runs – Yes.
  • Uninstalls – Yes.*

At first I thought there was no uninstaller because it is not included with the game shortcut under the Windows Start menu. But the uninstaller can be found at C:\Program Files (x86)\BADMOJO\UNWISE.EXE. I guess they wanted to make it harder for people grossed out by this game to remove it before they had fully discovered its charm.

Bad Mojo – Windows XP Game First Impressions

Bad Mojo Title Screen

Bad Mojo Title Screen

Bad Mojo is one of those games that I really wanted to enjoy. When I purchased it, I found it in the jewel case bargain bin section of my local Wal-Mart. Plastered in large lettering across what seemed like the bottom third of the packaging was a PC Gamer Editor’s Choice logo informing the buyer that Bad Mojo had been critically acclaimed by my favorite games magazine. There were quotes all over it I recall saying that it was “Fresh” and “Original.”

Originally released in 1996, this game was enough of a success they believed they could re-release it in 2004. Bad Mojo is an exploration adventure game with puzzles that uses Quick-Time graphics, much like the Myst series or other full motion video games of the 1990s. In most of these types of games, you travel to exotic destinations, see amazing sites, and enjoy the extent of what a full multimedia experience could provide. What makes this one original, however, is that you play the role of a cockroach.

Full Motion Video for the win.

Full Motion Video for the win.

Bad Mojo begins with a cut-scene where the protagonist Roger Samms is packing up to get ready to leave for Mexico after successfully stealing a briefcase full of cash. While ogling his ill-gotten gains, he is startled by a knock on the door. His landlord Eddie comes by to demand Roger’s overdue rent. After a seemingly needless argument with Roger refusing to pay and Eddie suspecting he’s about to leave town, Roger pays the rent he owes Eddie. Eddie jokes with Roger that he ought to be careful with all the cash he has lying around, that he should “lock-it”. After closing the door and sitting down to his desk, Roger remembers a locket that belonged to his mother, pulls it out of a desk drawer, and somehow the locket then turns his soul into a cockroach.

Roger Samms doing the cockroach.

Roger Samms doing the cockroach.

Gameplay then begins. The player is transported into a stage selection room that contains six passages. Only one is open. Entering through the open passageway brings the player up through a drain onto a concrete floor with icky stuff all over it. The player can move using the arrow keys. Pressing the up arrow moves the cockroach forward while pressing the down arrow moves the cockroach backward. Pressing either the left or right arrow key will turn the cockroach around.

One of the exotic scenes you'll encounter on your journey.

One of the exotic scenes you’ll encounter on your journey.

Bad Mojo runs using Quick-Time as many adventure games in its genre have. Each screen is almost its own game. There is little state saved from screen to screen. Moving off of one screen and then back essentially resets the state of the screen. This in some ways makes it easier to master a given screen, while at the same time making movement from screen to screen frustrating. When moving in one direction from a previous screen, it is possible to be pointing in a different direction when the screen changes. If there is a dangerous item, such as fly paper, on the other side of the screen, it’s easy to walk right into it if you are not careful.

Bad Mojo takes a strong stomach.

Bad Mojo requires a strong stomach.

Bad Mojo is an impressive game. I don’t wish to give anyone the impression otherwise. The graphics are actually fantastic and spot-on for the time it was released. The sounds are well recorded too. There is a certain art to this game and a great deal of realism that cannot be denied. But it’s just so icky and gross!

During the beginning cut-scene Samms narrates his feelings on his life and his circumstances. After listening to his rant, I feel completely apathetic to his cause. While he says he’s tired of life stepping on him and he wants to take control of his life and get his payback, he admits to stealing a lot of money, thinks he should have gotten away with it, and is a complete jerk to everyone around him. Even before the game began, I just wanted to step on the little twit. And yet, the whole purpose of the game is to go through six stages of nasty to free him from his cockroach prison. If the game weren’t so gross, I would actually get some satisfaction in seeing him eaten by a spider or a dead rat. As it is, Bad Mojo makes me feel queasy and I’m scared when entering each screen of what disgusting thing I will witness next. I tend to be a very clean, orderly, organized person in my own life, so navigating through this game makes me wish I could just take some disinfectant wipes and Raid to the whole game. That would be winning.

Bad Mojo game disc.

Bad Mojo game disc.

Bad Mojo won several awards for original gameplay and unique puzzles when it was released. It is visually and audibly impressive, and it will certainly leave a lasting impression on anyone who plays it. If you have a strong stomach and you like graphical adventures it might be a game to check out. For me, I think I’d rather play something from The Journeyman Project or Myst series any day.