I Learned Something Today: X-COM: Terror from the Deep

Being put in charge of any sort of group can be difficult, but when it comes to running global anti-extraterrestrial task forces, the challenge reaches a magnitude best illustrated on a graph with a line running straight up. While such a position may seem incredibly intimidating, leadership in this area is crucial as freedom from alien dictatorship relies completely upon silky smooth operations of aforementioned forces. While there’s yet to be a competently written book on the subject, task force commanders in training can rest assured that the only lesson plans they should be considered with are those made available in X-COM: Terror from the Deep.

X-COM Terror from the Deep

The Lessons of X-COM: Terror From the Deep

  1. Ditch the cowards
  2. One super awesome base is worse than having several pretty awesome ones
  3. Laser beam injuries take a while to heal
  4. Stern conversations are just as important as explosions

Ditch the cowards

X-COM Equipment

Andrei may be able to carry all his equipment AND a dead alien, but what's his breaking point?

I learned something today. The brawn or brains of an individual are entirely dependent on their ability to function during stressful or frightening scenarios. There’s really not any sort of preparation one can experience to deal with fighting the cadre of creatures that lurk in the back alleys of the universe, so bravery must be the most valuable attribute when assembling teams of field agents and attack squads. While hiring former athletes or PhD students looks good on paper, the folks you want to recruit are the type that like hang gliding or hunting bears. A good interview question could be “How do you feel about Mountain Dew?” If they answer that they prefer other beverages, cross them off the list…they can’t hang. Thanks, X-COM.

One super awesome base is worse than having several pretty awesome ones

I learned something today. While putting all of your effort and resources into a single facility seems like the most efficient approach to regulating alien shenanigans, keep in mind that protecting the world from one location could prove difficult. Aliens have super fast spaceships and since they are often times alternating travel between land and sea, it’d be foolish to think a single base of operations could effectively react to their attacks. Spread your reach between at least three facilities and keep them upgraded across the board or risk being late to the party, a party that could include small children being fed to giant crabs. Besides, the more bases you have the more sweet nicknames you can give them. Castle Grayskull may not be the most original name, but holy crap does it get people pumped. Thanks, X-COM.

X-COM Bases

The Earth is pretty big, you really want to cover that with only one base?

Laser beam injuries take a while to heal

I learned something today. The global council responsible for funding your defensive efforts isn’t going to necessarily flood you with cash, so pinching pennies is a must. This approach to finances, however, cannot be something you apply across the board, especially in relation to your combat forces. It’ll be tempting to keep your squads small and save money on overhead, but an overworked team is an ineffective team and pushing them too hard could result in unneeded mental anguish. On the same token, injuries from laser beams tend to run on the horrendous side, so be prepared to have multiple people on bed rest should a mission go sour. Regardless of the plight of humanity, it’s just common courtesy to respect your employees’ limits or risk dealing with angry Union reps. Thanks, X-COM.

Stern conversations are just as important as explosions

Sometimes a friendly knock and interview request is all you need

I learned something today. Aliens are just as reactionary as most humans and will usually attack you on sight. While most of your extraterrestrial opposition can be disposed of by whatever means you have available, some of them may be more beneficial to your cause if kept alive and intact. It’s not just about learning how to use their weapons or using living specimens to do scientific experiments, some of them may know the plans of their higher ups or better yet, the location of their secret underwater base of operations. It may take some risky battlefield maneuvers and quite a bit of browbeating (or torture), but the results of your efforts may prove more useful than eradicating the creatures every time they blow up a small rural town. Thanks, X-COM.


No one said keeping the world safe from intergalactic predators was going to be easy, but paying attention to counter alien simulations (no matter how dated their visuals may seem) is your best bet for being the best commander you can be. If you’ve always wanted a golden statue erected of you, lower your expectations a bit, be happy with a granite one and volunteer for this wonderfully difficult but exciting career. Thanks, videos games.


Giant Bomb (images)

1 Comment I Learned Something Today: X-COM: Terror from the Deep

  1. Jordan Wilson

    This is easily one of my favorite games of all time. I reinstall it every couples of years (the original version using DosBox… booklet codes and all!) and always find it as enjoyable as when I was kid. I swung by my brother’s place over the weekend and he was playing it. The game is freakin amazing! I just sat there and watched him play it for a bit.

    I haven’t tried it yet but apparently there is a good “spriitual sequal” called UFO: Extraterrestrials that’s like 10 bucks on Steam.

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