Wulfram II is a highly underrated online-only game made by Bolt Action Software, in 1998, for the clearly evil iEN. It's similar to the Tribes series and Tanarus but takes the concepts in these games and builds on them. Formerly called Shock Force, but due to iEN owning the rights on the name "Shock Force, Bolt Action Software changed it to reflect the fact that it is a sequel to the original Wulfram.
Originally, this game was supposed to be one of iEN's premier games, but due to fights between the creator and iEN, iEN juggled the game a bit, leaving servers up, but not publicly advertising them. Eventually the servers - along with a hardcore group of dedicated players including yours truly - were moved to Bolt Action's headquarters safe from the clutches of iEN. iEN shortly shut down their servers soon after. Today, with the help of dedicated players, a handful of servers are available to play on. The game itself is free of charge and can be downloaded at www.wulfram.com
3DFx card owners will be happy to know that this game is designed for Glide while the rest of us are stuck with software rendering. Should you happen to own a Voodoo card, you will be treated to intricate textures, smooth blending, and an all-around more enjoyable experience. The game itself is based on its own unique engine; some truly breathtaking scenes are possible with this engine. This game is entirely outdoors with terrain varying from snow-covered bases to harsh deserts to lush grassland.
This game is complex in its teamwork. To understand what exactly goes on in this game, consider the following list:
- Each team has 3 supply ships which hover at a high altitude over the map. These supply ships drop base building material like turrets, repair pads, etc. The Uplink is what tells these ships what exactly to build, and where to move. Only one person can have the Uplink.
- Supply ships can drop cargo, move, and perform orbital bombardments on enemy bases. To move a supply ship, you need to deploy skypumps in that sector.
- The map is divided into a 16x16 sector grid. Skypumps create a sort of 'gravitational lens' projecting upward, thus allowing a supply ship to move there. When two skypumps power a sector, a new supply ship can warp in to assist the team.
- There are only two kinds of vehicles in the game: tanks and scouts.
- Tanks have more armor, can carry more missiles, and have a special pulse shell which can do splash damage. They are also the only vehicle out of the two which can carry cargo and the Uplink.
- Scouts are the faster of the two, and carry a special 'repair beam' which is refilled by draining enemy tanks' armor - not unlike a mosquito would. Highly annoying; can carry up to 4 missiles.
- The objective of each map is to destroy the enemy's repair pads. Repair pads are vital to your base; this is where you spawn at, and if they're destroyed and your team wiped out, you lose. To defend your team's repair pads, the following turrets are available:
- The Flak Turret is good for medium range defense; any closer and it's useless.
- The Gun Turret is a close range turret guaranteed to rip up any enemy offenses provided adequate cover is provided by the Flak Turret.
- Power management is critical in this game. Your base is powered by a power cell, which can only supply power to a limited number of repair pads and turrets. Should your power cell be destroyed, your base is vulnerable to being taken over by the enemy - once they deploy a power cell in the area, it belongs to them. Power cells cannot be clustered; a minimum range is required to keep them from exploding.
A small but dedicated loyal fanbase continues to play this game; communication is facilitated by an NNTP server graciously provided by Bolt Action Software. This game is what brings back memories of those long summer days with absolutely nothing to do but to play this game. I highly recommend it.