Why XCom 1994 is a legendary game

IGN tell them :slight_smile:

Some of the 1994 feats

  • Random generated levels.
  • Building your own bases
  • Research and development
  • Global HUD for ufo engagement, side-down view for ground troops.
  • Bases were NOT randomely generated, so you could actually walk through your base the way it was how you built it.
  • Soldiers go up in rank.
  • Soldiers have morale/psychic powers/stats which heavily influence gameplay.
  • Can build remote controlled tanks with different weapons.
  • Fighter Craft have different weapons and stats, giving the player some control during engagements.
  • Disable and capture aliens rather than killing them to interrogate them.
  • Use enemy weapons against them.
  • AI was (definitely for the time) comprehensive and difficult to beat.
  • Mission outcome was a HUGE factor for gameplay, a few bad missions and you could say goodbye to your funding and support, unlike in most games these days.
  • Day/Night cycles (PC version only).
  • Selling alien stuff for profit.
  • Waypoint guided Fusion missiles.
  • Level generation also depended on location of chrash/landing sites (Apparently not in the version displayed in this video, the one I own always had different biomes such as desert, plains, rural, artic, etc)

I think that on Amiga there was also day/night cycle

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As veteran of both ECS (A500 32 colour) and AGA (A1200 256 colour) edition - sadly no.
I speak not of geoscape effect, but day and night missions. In fact ECS version had more music since it was larger (5 DD flopies to 4 DDs for AGA. There was a CD32 1CD version identical to AGA).

However, Amiga music was a bit darker and better done :slight_smile: Too bad CBM was busted, and only Vampire will continue that custom chip 68k tradition.

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I definitely played UFO Enemy Unknown on Amiga. And also played in version where was day/night cycle in the missions. But maybe I was playing on both Amiga and PC and messed things - I don’t quite remember those days. :wink:

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Note: There is some small chance Amiga 500/600 version and Amiga 1200 version were different in that aspect.

I wouldnt spot it either but usual meal of the day was to compare PC version to it (that is how I ve spotted difference in music). However, Open XCom does support it.

I see Wiki testfies to it, as Amiga version was downscaled PC conversion, not an original Amiga title.

The Amiga ECS/OCS version displays lower quality graphics than the PC version and is missing light source shading during combat missions but the sound quality is improved; Amiga CD32 Gamer 5 (October 1994)

As Amiga (Commodore) died about Xcom days following statement remains:

Nevertheless, a review in Amiga Action called it “easily the most original and innovative game in the history of the Amiga”,[47] a review in Amiga World called in “the shortest path to heaven” for a strategy gamer,[64] and a review in CU Amiga of the 1997 budget range re-release called it the “game everyone loves”.[53]

It’s honestly interesting to see that the Firaxis XCOM games tick everything on that list except for the custom base layouts and the location-dependent tilesets.

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That’s why Firaxis XCom really was an outstanding game, and even better as now it allowed a new canvas for Gollop’s team to design Phoenix Project.

My guess is that the only real improvement from Firaxis - but it was a HUGE improvement, maybe even THE improvement - was the interface. My hopes for Phoenix Project are for it to become the Warcraft 3’s to XCom’s Dune II. Or the Overwatch to XCom’s Counter-Strike. Or the Bioshock to XCom’s Doom. Or…


Fighter Craft have different weapons and stats, giving the player some control during engagements. was oversimplified in EW, like the battle on especially management of base(s) was also.

Its an overall list it would appear so. In more direct comparison e.g. number of weapons, aliens races etc. it would appear flawed. Max differences are beneath the hood, in free enemy movement, larger squads, more interactive air fights etc.

Yup. Original interface isn’t that complex once one understands it, but is not modern. I like the way interface works in current BB2 of PP

In any case I recomend using th Openxcom mod for the nowadays UI quality of life features.


Open versions have really worked out some bugs and worked on UI, waay before Fireaxis.

I like this a bit conservative cyberpunk to shiny SWAT approach.

you forgot “your soldiers gain skills based on your actions in game”, was a big one for me.

One important detail that bothers me reading these forums tho is all the references to stuff from the 1994 Xcom. I’ve already played that game, I was hoping for something different as opposed to “1994 xcom with 3d graphics” o.O That said, so far I’m not disappointed with what I’m seeing, I just wish people would look for ideas outside the old XCom titles.

The thing I always wished all Xcom titles, originals like Fireaxis, had was a mutliplayer asymetric campaign. The alien player would launch missions on earth with 3 distinct type of objectives: scouting/research, resource acquisition and actively hunting down XCOM (well, the factions in PP) and the human player would do the same thing as always, but with an intelligent enemy chasing him this time. I’d pay ALL THE MONEY to have that in PP. It would make for a great post-release DLC IMO and significantly distinguish PP from XCOM.


Yes, throw granades and you shall have improved throwing ability. Simple, genius and realistic.

Yup. We want to be aliens sometimes. Even single player would be great! Hot seat (present in Laser Squad single missions and Nemesis) and Internet play would be big plus unseen.

There is a good comment on some strange thing named players freedom
X-COM to XCOM: 20 Years of Turn-Based Strategy, Alien-Killing, and DREAD - YouTube


4:06 “every choice in the game has some kind of tradeoff, Every decision feels like an interesting decision for the player”. Quite the contrary, IMO. In 2012 XCOM, every decision feels too artificial and forced. The game is constantly forcing you into these artificial choices in order to artificially increase difficulty. For example, what’s the rational explanation behind not being able to send multiple squads on a mission at once? Why are you forced into picking between one of three different missions? Why is putting a scope on a weapon preventing you from putting a grenade in your pocket? Why are my soldiers being forced into a particular class without me being able to say anything about that? Why are class ability choices always binary? Why can’t my soldier learn both abilities from a particular tier? What prevents a person who learns to use battle scanner to learn Disabling Shot as well? Why can a soldier move + shoot, but cannot shoot + move? I know this is a game and some design decisions need to be made in order to balance the game, but all of these just feel too artificial and “game-y”. Original XCom made me feel like I’m fighting off an alien invasion. The 2012 XCom makes me feel like I’m fighting against game mechanics and dice rolls.


Correction: That’s a genius comment! :wink:

Good game design creates difficulty organically, not with artificial barriers

edit 1994 xcom nailed that, that’s one more for your list :smiley:


Well, this line of thinking exactly made Long War mod possible, whereby games look more “faithful” but not fully.

Here is what long war has added:

  • An extended campaign requiring far more missions to complete
  • Tactical missions that allow up to twelve XCom soldiers per mission with the right upgrades
  • Eight soldier classes: Infantry, Assault, Sniper, Scout, Gunner, Rocketeer, Medic and Engineer, and eight MEC classes: Valkyrie, Marauder, Jaeger, Pathfinder, Goliath, Archer, Guardian and Shogun
  • English-accent voicepacks for soldiers from England, Australia and several other nations
  • New and modified perks, including Ranger, Sapper, HEAT Warheads, Lock N' Load, Fire in the Hole, Hit and Run, and Javelin Rockets
  • New and modified technologies, including Xenopsionics, Alien Biocybernetics, Pulse Lasers, Gauss Weapons and Advanced Aerospace Concepts, and many new foundry projects
  • Five tiers of XCOM weaponry, many new armors and small items and S.H.I.V.s that can be equipped with perk-granting small items! See some of the new weapons here.
  • Earlier access to psionics and an expanded psionics tree
  • A system of commissioning and promoting XCOM officers who provide bonuses to your entire squad during missions (replaces the Enemy Within medals system)
  • Overhauled interception game, with five new UFO classes such as the Fighter, Raider and Harvester, as well as six interceptors per continent, foundry projects to upgrade your aircraft, individualized pilot names and pilot experience, and the Stingray Missile weapon system
  • Overhauled strategy game, in which the aliens gather resources and conduct research -- efforts XCOM must interdict if it hopes to save humanity. XCOM can now retake countries by finding and conquering alien bases in those countries. Help council countries defend themselves by fulfilling their requests for alien technology!
  • Aliens and EXALT forces grow tougher over time, gaining stats and perks
  • New weapons for XCOM soldiers
  • Soldiers rest after each mission, requiring the player to build a much deeper roster of soldiers
  • Modified Second Wave options to support longer campaigns
  • Training mode config file for easier campaigns

Original XCom has even beaten Civ in that Civ like aspect >:-) (game change complexity)

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I think the bigger thing isn’t that they’re looking for ideas inside of the old XCOM titles, but rather they’re wanting to make sure that the new game has “key” parts of the old game (I put “key” in quotes because FiraXCOM is missing some of these and still did well so someone might try to argue that they’re not really a key point but that’s getting into semantics). Mutations, weapon mods, and vehicles are all examples of new features in PP that look great but people want to be sure it also has the things that give it a more sandbox feel compared to FiraXCOM which removed a bunch of those features and can feel more “on rails” because of it.

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There’s no denying that OG X-com was and is a great game, but say what you will about XCOM 2012; I think it’s safe to say that it revived the tactical turn based genre for this decade.

Its not about ideas, that “adoptable alien AI” was a crucial strategy improvement and
re-playability driver that no other titles has presented.

Faxis reduces Jullians great ideas to base self defense :slight_smile:

I’ve never said otherwise and in fact have basically stated the same thing. It being so successful doesn’t change the fact that many, while enjoying what FiraXCOM brings to the table, still miss the key features that gave the OG XCOM games their sandbox feel.

I mean I didn’t sink 250 logged hours into EU/EW with easily that many hours untracked during my LW campaign, or 500+ hours into X2 because they’re bad games. But even with that that doesn’t change the fact that I want procedurally generated maps (something EU/EW didn’t have), free aim, etc.

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Of course, and it wasn’t my intent to come off putting words in anyone’s mouth (poor choice of words on my part). I just felt like it was important to note the contributions of both the original X-com and Firaxis’ XCOM to their specific genre as a whole. In hindsight I suppose there’s a few others saying similar things, that’s what I get for posting tired…

In any case though, I’d be curious to know how many people backed/will buy Phoenix Point because of their experience with Firaxis’ XCOM. I mean, heh, not everyone is as old as me and played the original X-com back in the day…


Dont you worry, I am the one claiming Faxis first Xcom was a success, but a very bad recycle. From that “learning curve” Enemy Within was proud to present base assualt mission … meh.

I am sure XCom 2 was a significant improvement.

Aliens FPS were mention in mutation section, and Colonial marines :slight_smile:
I will interrupt the topic with real total conversion that would work even on m68k

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