I know I haven't been blogging much on Cathode Tan, but you had to know I would write about this game. The original XCOM (aka UFO: Enemy Unknown) is almost certainly my favorite game of all time, and I've played it on an Amiga, a PC, a Mac and PlayStation. Even as emulators brutalized the experience, I found it irresistible to return to the fight against the alien threat - usually resulting in the lethal reduction of my own forces.
The allure of the original game is difficult to overstate. One might think that the game's mechanics are so old school that the strengths would be self-evident, kinda like saying "Pac-Man was addictive". However, the real test at how subtly the original XCOM balanced the core design between management, turn based strategy and war strategy is more evident in the string of failed XCOM sequels. It seemed that nearly any change to the formula, be it simplification, complication, adding real time movement, or even changing out the types of enemy - would throw the whole thing off.
So it is pretty fair to say that the job Firaxis had before it was a daunting one ... the original was already an incredibly complicated game with a winning formula and a completely rabid fanbase.
As a member in good standing in that rabid fanbase, how did I think they did?