Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!
If I had more forethought, I would have recorded today’s episode yesterday so you could all hear it on July 4th but oh well. At least I’m recording this on the 4th so happy Independence Day to my American listeners! There’s really only one game we could possibly talk about to celebrate. That’s right, today’s game is Independence Day, developed by Radical Entertainment and released on PC, Sega Saturn, and Playstation in 1997.
I honestly don’t know how popular this movie is outside of the US so in case you haven’t heard of it, this game is based on the Independence Day movie directed by Roland Emmerich and starring Will Smith. While most games based on films come out around the time of the movie’s release, Independence Day actually released about 9 months after the movie.
Just like in the film, Independence Day has aliens coming to Earth and destroying large swaths of humanity. The player plays as a fighter pilot trying to stop the alien’s attacks by taking command of a number of different fighter jets based on real aircraft. For example, the A-10 Warthog is based on the A-10 Thunderbolt and the F-15 Eagle keeps the same name in the game.
The storyline is loosely based on the film but the in-game missions have very little story connecting them. Each of the 13 single-player missions are selected from a menu and typically only give one or two sentences of context. Each mission is timed and has you trying to stop the aliens from destroying the area with their primary weapon, the large city-destroying beam seen in the film. Once the level’s objective is completed, the player can swoop in and destroy the primary weapon to end the level. Failure to complete the mission or stop the primary weapon in the time limit will cause the aliens to fire the primary weapon and destroy everything in sight.
Independence Day also has a multiplayer mode where players can dogfight in one-on-one fights. The PC version has online capabilities for this and the Playstation version can do both split-screen as well as a console-link mode enabling players to play on two separate TVs. The Saturn does not have this capability and thus can only do local split-screen.
Independence Day was not well received. Objectives are repetitive and only have players find targets scattered around the level and destroy them with missiles. Once all the targets are destroyed, the primary weapon can be destroyed. Each level keeps this same formula and critics were not having it. The multiplayer mode was also bare-bones and while the console link option was nice for Playstation users, it didn’t make up for the relatively boring combat. Despite critical reviews, this game refused to go quietly into the night and sold a pretty decent number of copies, likely due to the popularity of the movie. Fan reviews weren’t much higher in the years since, though, so maybe you’d be better off just watching the movie instead.
Thank you so much for listening and a happy Fourth to everybody. If the fourth of July isn’t something special where you live, that’s okay! I hope you have a great day anyway! If you want to hear more Video Game of the Day, you can head to videogameoftheday.com for our full archives. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!
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