Terra Nova – 3 Mission Demo

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I got this 3 mission demo off the May 1996 CD Gamer cover disk. It’s described on the start screen as the CD demo and features a 3 mission campaign unique to this demo. It has the full FMV intro from the game before launching into the missions, which doesn’t add a lot but does look good.

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The missions can be played one at a time or as a campaign. They are set before the start of game and the formation of Strike Force Centauri. The first mission reminds me a lot of the one from the previous demo, only it’s shorter and easier. It’s more seeking out pirates and having got up to speed on the game already I breeze through this on the first attempt.

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There is a bit more to the second mission which takes place at night in a lake filled landscape. The goals are much the same but the terrain changes the tactics needed. At the start of the mission, I have to cross a large lake to a pirate dock. I suppose I could have walked around this, or even waded through it, but I jump jet across straight into the battle. I’ve got a “wingman” in support this time around who helps no end with this sort of cavalier tactic. Again it’s an easy enough mission and I finish it first time.


The real challenge comes with the last mission which is an assault on the pirate base. I get an extra wingman which should help but the difficulty here is that the enemy forces are so bunched together and it is easy to get overrun.

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The base itself is well fortified with turrets and alarms, all of which are hidden behind dug out landscape. The best tactic in this game is always to draw fire and lead the enemy away from their base in small numbers. After 2 failed attempts, I succeed in this to some extend but the rest of my team is wiped out and I’m left clearing out the base on my own.

Aside from a shortage of cheesy FMV scenes, this showed exactly what Terra Nova was about and it’s one of the better demos I’ve looked at in recent weeks. I’ve added it the downloads on here for anyone who wants it.

The problem with playing all these demos is that I just get up to speed on a game and start enjoying it and they end. I’ll take a break from them at this point for another full game. I’ve not decided which yet but I can safely say it’s going to be an RPG.

Terra Nova – 1 Mission Demo


I’ve got two demos for Terra Nova and have uploaded both for anyone who wants to try them out. This first one was taken off the May 1996 PC Zone Cover Disk and features a single unique mission.


In the mission, a new highway has been opened linking together some farms. The convoys on this road have come under attack by pirates and it’s up to me to take them out.

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I remember the missions at the start of the game being incredibly short 1 or 2 minute affairs. This is considerably larger with a large map to explore and plenty of opposition. I wouldn’t say it’s tough but I couldn’t just walk in and finish it on my first attempt without learning my way around the controls and techniques again.

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I don’t get a team to help me out so I have to be a one man army in this mission taking out a dozen+ pirates on my own. They usually only attack in ones or twos making the task much easier. Sidestepping is very effective in this game and provided I keep my distance I don’t get hit much. The terrain shows off some of the better aspects of Terra Nova, with deep canyons and bases hidden in quarries. It’s a lot less flat than I might expect in an early 3D game.

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The main opposition is right at the end of the level with a pirate captain + a tank lobbing shells at me. I’ve had enough practice to get through this unscathed and the drop ship comes in and picks me up.

This is well worth playing and definitely recommended. I was a little disappointed in Terra Nova back when I played it, partly as it had been sold to me as having the FMV production values of Wing Commander 3 (which it didn’t), and also because it didn’t have the depth I expect in a Looking Glass game. However, it is still fantastically good fun if you just fancy blasting some mechs. I definitely went into it with the wrong expectations first time around. It did have tactical aspects also with a strike team to command although those weren’t shown in this demo.

I recently purchased a VFX-1 headset on Ebay (spending way too much money in the process as usual) and Terra Nova is one of the supported games. I’ve had my eyes out for one of these for years and it was one of my reasons for wanting a working DOS PC in the first place. In the case of Terra Nova, it doesn’t work in stereo-3D but does have built-in support for full head tracking and this is definitely one of the games I’m most looking forward to trying out. I can imagine this playing extremely well if I’m able to look around independently of movement and it should be great fun if my neck and eyes will take the strain. It was only posted today so I’ve got a couple of weeks waiting before I can find out.

Terra Nova – Day 4

My last day playing Terra Nova starts out with a cutscene where Maggie finds out that Walker knows where her family are thanks to a deal her clan did with the Pirates for food. Maggie doesn’t take the news well.

The mission is going to be to rescue Maggie’s family who are being held on a farm. It’s basically a protection mission as we have to stop the farm from being destroyed once we attempt a rescue. I take a few attempts at this one and win in the end by surrounding the farm in a ring of autoturrets and being overly aggressive in taking out the incoming forces.

I get another medal for my troubles.

Mission 32 has us trying to take out a hog communications tower. First we need to get an electronics expert to fiddle with the control station to the South and blind all the hog sensors. We then run North and take out the tower before returning to blow up the control station. It’s an easy enough mission and just takes the one attempt.

We return to see Walker’s Mum in trouble. Carpaccio station has been captured and she wants help. She even says she was wrong to deal with the pirates. Instead of immediately helping her out our mission is going to be to recapture McDonald station.

This mission comes with a very nice new weapon. This is in effect, an improved rocket launcher and deals out massive damage at huge distances. It only has 5 shots though so it’s best saved for heavy targets.

The mission involves taking out the weapon towers at each corner of the base with demo experts. I take one side of the base at a time, sending in each of my demo men to a different corner while the 2 of us remaining take on the guards. There is a lot of resistance for the first two towers but after that the mission is very easy with just a few mechs around the perimeters of the station.

Mission 34 comes with yet more new technology. I’ve largely ignored the drones in this game and they don’t appear to be massively useful in all honesty so I never actually use this one.

The mission is to take out the clone manufacturing facilities. I get a choice of two ways to do this. One is to take out the 3 domes where the clones are made with demo men. The other is to set up a feedback loop at the control station with an electronics expert. I go for the later since it only requires 1 task rather than 3. The domes are constantly turning out enemies in the meanwhile which makes things tricky and I make something of a mess of the mission with half my squad getting taken out. I do enough to win the mission on the first try though.

We have the hogs on the run and they are pulling out back to Thatcher. Mission 35 has us intercepting their convoy of supplies which is on route to their ships. This is another easy one and I complete it first time.

After a few easy missions, Mission 36 turns out to be a bit more tricky. We have a plan to get to Carpaccio station but we need Sonny’s old ship which he has hidden somewhere in the search area on my map here. This search area is huge and it takes several minutes just to walk to it. The maps in this game are actually fairly huge although I only ever have to play the game in a small part of them as a rule.

Just getting to the search area proves to be tough with a lot of troops in the way. The real problem is that I need to keep my squad alive. My brother is the only one who can fly the ship out and I need the electronics guy to repair it first.

The search area is not exactly flat and full of ravines for me to wander around. I do this for some time without finding the ship.

I look seemingly everywhere, then I get a bright idea to tell my electronics man to go and repair the ship. This actually works then all I have to do is follow him to find out where it is. My brother flies it off and it’s mission complete.

We get back to a rousing speech from our new commander before the briefing itself.

The hogs are using Carpaccio to outfit all their transport ships as war ships which they will then use to bombard us from space. We need to go in and plant a new super powerful explosive on the fuel centre and blow the place up.

The final mission comes with one final weapon. It’s another super powerful rocket launcher that takes out anything in a large area in one hit.

The base is fairly large and extremely well guarded. A slow and steady approach pays off here, using the new MB cannon to take out the heavy turrets from a distance.

By the time we get to the fuel dome, nothing is left alive. We demo the dome then trek back to the pickup point.

As we fly off the dome blows up winning us the war. I never did get a final showdown with the Earth Ambasador which is a surprise. It’s still been a decent last mission although not as tough as the one before it.

For the final cutscene, the squad is in the bar and the news comes on with Earth claiming that the Ambassador was a rogue agent acting on his own which is all a bit dubious but we still won so ultimately it doesn’t matter.

I get to see my final stats for the game. I can’t help but notice that despite the 37 missions the total mission time was under 3 hours. It’s not a huge game although there are harder difficulty levels if I wanted them. This has been an enjoyable enough diversion but I do feel that more could have been done with it. It’s positively begging for a mission pack which upped the difficulty and complexity of the missions.  There is a random scenario generator which I haven’t tried out which would possibly add a bit more longevity but without the overall story (lightweight as it was) I don’t think it would be something that would hold my attention for long. For it’s age, I’ve been quite impressed with this game and if you want to try out a slightly tactical FPS, it’s still well worth a go. Just don’t expect another System Shock.

Assuming I can get the disks to work (which means digging out my old PC that actually has  a disk drive), I’ll take a quick look at the Origin FX Screen Saver next.