Independence Day should be destroyed by aliens
25 years later: Independence Day
Any average gamer would be forgiven for not knowing that Independence Day even existed in game format. And, like most adaptations, it’s safe to say that the film version is infinitely better. Released in 1997 and developed by Radical Entertainment, Independence Day met with low to average reviews at the time with an average rating of 5 out of 10, although IGN was very harsh gave him 0. That means Independence Day was barely passable in its day, and it’s now twenty-five years later, so… To be fair, some titles age better over time if they have a special charm or redeeming quality, but Independence Day is not one.
The plot veers into a slightly different timeline than the movie, taking place after the infamous canyon hunting scene, but is otherwise more or less similar with the same alien-destroying tendencies. The final mission takes place in the mothership of that same stolen alien craft, though without the voice of Jeff Goldblum speaking to himself in the background.
Unfortunately, the structure of the mission is marred by repetitiveness. At first glance, the objectives are varied, but in reality, it is always the same, except in different cities (Las Vegas, Washington DC, Moscow, etc.): to remove the shields and generators from the alien ship, while repelling alien fighters. Repeat. Moreover, the story can be completed in a short period of one to three hours. Good if you’re not a dogfighting fan and just want to get it over with. Not good if you’re someone else who expects a reasonably satisfying ride. Squad commentator announcements get too repetitive, continuing to tell you to blow up the generators. Like, okay, we get it… That being said, there’s an old-fashioned high score screen after each level’s completion – oddly satisfying for any modern player, like looking at a strange relic of the past, which is after all that Independence Day East.
On the plus side, giant “City Destroyer” alien ships dominate all levels, serving as an ever-present threat and convenient upper map limit in place of the arbitrary restriction of invisible walls common in games of the era. Similarly, ships have force fields in place around the edges of the map to prevent the player from going out of bounds horizontally. There’s also a cool countdown system where if the mission’s time limit reaches zero, the City Destroyer will turn on its energy beam and fire, ending the level, which is a nice way to bring one of the most dreaded aspects of the film. The developers could have taken the easy way out and opted for direct-to-screen play.
The fight itself Independence Day nothing to get excited about, being a standard dog at best and nothing special as far as combat flight simulators go. Ace Combat this is not the case. The machine gun doesn’t seem to work against enemy ships and the lock-on system is frustrating to master, but oddly seems to work at the best of times. Meanwhile, there are up to eleven planes to unlock, but none of them look too different from the original one.
A major problem with Independence Day, which is IGN’s main gripe, is the unrealistic physics. In most other similar games, and even in real life, crashing headlong into the ground or a cliff would usually result in a crash, a destroyed plane, and most often a fatal pilot. Not so here. Apparently, fighter jets can survive high-velocity impacts against solid surfaces and remain intact. As for the technical aspects, the sound effects are the only redeeming factor, despite the total absence of any music. Whoosh and engine noises work wonders on the ears, and the sound of laser fire from alien ships is perfectly reproduced.
So yes, the game version of Independence Day doesn’t have much to do these days. By most accounts, the two-player mode is supposed to be a bit better, but have fun finding someone willing to play it. And even then, what game isn’t more fun with a friend? Still, fighting alien invaders is never a bad thing, and it’s good practice when the time comes. Sadly, like Earth’s cities beneath giant alien ships, this version of Independence Day will forever remain in the film’s shadow.