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X-COM: UFO Defense - Where to get it and how to play it
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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For people who missed this game when it came out in 1994, X-Com is one of the greatest strategy PC games ever made. I still go back to play it again and again occasionally. The purpose of this list is to help people who are interested in playing it a chance to see what it's all about; and old fans some some new things to try out with the game and fall in love with it all over again.

For people who don't know anything about it, here's my review of the game.

Below are the sites for a couple versions of the game, and the sites of useful utilities that can fix bugs, enhance the game, and make your gaming experience generally more enjoyable.



Other games in the "Where to get it and how to play it" series:
- Syndicate
- Wolfenstein 3D
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert
- Star Control II -by Sigmazero13
- Master of Orion
- Betrayal at Krondor
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1. Board Game: X-Com: Tactical [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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X-COM Gold edition

This was the latest version of the game to be released. It was made for Windows, and works up to Windows XP. It takes much less time to start up than a DOS version, but some of the sounds and music are of worse quality than that of the DOS version (the tactical battle music especially). Also, there is a bug in the Gold version that stops alien blaster bombs from traveling vertically.

Ever since Hasbro bought Microprose and killed the X-Com line, this game has been considered "abandonware". (Interestingly, the sequel, Terror from the Deep, is available to buy on Steam) X-COM Gold edition is available at Home of the Underdogs:
http://www.the-underdogs.info/game.php?gameid=4966


EDIT: All five X-COM games are now for sale on Steam for cheap ($5). The descriptions on Steam say they offer support for XP/Vista, too:

http://store.steampowered.com/sub/964/
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2. Board Game: X-Com: Tactical [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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X-COM version 1.0

This is the original version of the game that came on floppy disks. If you have Vista, this is the only version you'll be able to play (using Dosbox).

Pros:
-Can play with Vista.
-Can play in windowed mode.
-Better sounds and music than the windows version.
-Doesn't have bugs that Gold edition has.

Cons:
-Requires Dosbox (see below).
-May have some more bugs and glitches (like the disappearing ammo bug).
-Passcode copy protection (use 1.4 patch or Xcomutil to remove).
-All saved games revert to beginner difficulty (use Xcomutil to fix).

I could only find the European version for download (X-COM: Enemy Unknown, only different from UFO defense in name):
http://gog-games.yw.sk/game.php?id=396
(they have TFTD, too)

Seems to be gone
 
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3. Board Game: Patch Worlds [Average Rating:4.50 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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1.2 and 1.4 Patches

If you have version 1.0, you can install these patches to make the game more like Gold edition, but still made for Dos. It removes the copy protection and fixes some bugs. It also alters/damages/degrades some of the sounds. It does not fix the difficulty bug, though.

You can find them here, if you want them:
http://www.xcomufo.com/x1dl.html

Or near the bottom of the XcomUtil page:
http://members.aol.com/stjones/xcomutil/
 
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4. Board Game: Axis & Allies Enhanced Realism Rules [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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XcomUtil

A basic necessity for X-COM playing, this utility is for any version of X-COM. It fixes many bugs and adds many features to the game. Also, XcomUtil is required for most mods and map packs. It also alters some of the useless equipment (high explosives, heavy lasers) making them useful and gives the option of rearranging your starting base. Interceptors can hold a small number of men and a Skyranger can have a single weapon. It can create new random designs for UFOs, so you never know what's in the next room. It does a lot more than that, too, though when you set it up, you can pick and chose which options to use/disable.

To install XcomUtil, just download the zip file into your X-Com main folder, then run XcuSetup. Then, you must use XcomUtil's bat files to start the game (RunXcom.bat for DOS or RunXcomW.bat for windows).

XcomUtil Homepage:
http://members.aol.com/stjones/xcomutil/

EDIT: AOL has shut down their 'hometown' personal webpage system, the site and files are still available through the Wayback Machine, though:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070611065037/http://members.aol.com/stjones/xcomutil/


Now hosted by Google:
http://xcomutil.scotttjones.com/
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5. Board Game: Dos: Twice the Fun [Average Rating:3.92 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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DosBox

You should download this DOS emulator if you plan on playing any oldschool DOS games. Getting sound, or even video, to work on modern PCs is nearly impossible without it (or something else like it). You need this for X-Com 1.0.

http://www.dosbox.com/
 
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6. Board Game: Tech Support [Average Rating:3.48 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Strategy Core X-Com support forums

If you have trouble running the game, there is a lot of tech support help you can find online. This site is one of the best, I've found.

http://www.strategycore.co.uk/forums/X-COM-Support-f10.html
 
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7. Board Game: Scarne's Encyclopedia of Games [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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UFOpaedia

The UFOpaedia is an in-game encyclopedia of all the equipment, aliens, UFOs, and other stuff you knew about or researched. It had weapon stats, aliens' known weaknesses, and other useful stuff.

The UFOpaedia online is a wiki made for X-COM players, and has a lot more info than the in-game one. It also has a great beginner's guide and has some great pages that show you how to play and what all the buttons do.

Be sure to check out the "Battlescape" article if you are new to the game.

UFOpaedia:
http://ufopaedia.org/
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8. Board Game: Real Weapons [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked] [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Mods and Map packs

Most mods alter the weapons somehow or the appearance of units. Map packs usually replace either alien UFO designs or entire terrains.

Three sites with a good number of Mods and Map packs are
XCommand
StrategyCore
XcomUtil homepage

There are also utilities for creating your own mods and terrains on these sites.
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9. Board Game: Suit Up [Average Rating:2.50 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
United States
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NC
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Here are a few mods that I think are pretty cool.

Custom Uniform mod
This mod only alters your soldiers suits' colors to match the terrain you are currently on. e.g. when you fly to a mission in forest terrain, your suits will be green (instead of the normal space-suit gray). It also adds images for aliens in the inventory screen (when you mind control them).
http://www.strategycore.co.uk/files/index.php?dlid=428

Xc1Ships
This mod is available on the XcomUtil page. It replaces all the UFO layouts and alters the Skyranger and Interceptor layouts a bit (adding side doors). The UFO layouts are cool, though the aliens seem to have trouble moving around the ships and the doors are often treated as open spaces. One nice addition in this mod is that if you catch a supply ship landed on an "alien base" mission, the UFO is halfway dismantled and a portion of an alien base under construction is part of the terrain. After you've played through the game enough times that you know all the UFO designs by memory, this is nice for some variation.
 
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10. Board Game: Free Choice [Average Rating:6.20 Unranked]
Simon Klein
Germany
Mannheim
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Check out those free versions:

UFO2000 is free and opensource turn based tactical squad simulation multiplayer game. It is heavily inspired by the famous X-COM: UFO Defense game.
http://ufo2000.sourceforge.net/


UFO: ALIEN INVASION is a squad-based tactical strategy game in the tradition of the old X-COM PC games, but with a twist. Our game combines military realism with hard science-fiction and the weirdness of an alien invasion. The carefully constructed turn-based system gives you pin-point control of your squad while maintaining a sense of pace and danger.
http://ufoai.sourceforge.net/

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11. Video Game: X-COM: UFO Defense [Average Rating:8.73 Overall Rank:7]
Andrew Eveninger
Poland
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http://ufotts.ninex.info/

Ufo: The two sides

freeware fan remake of Ufo: Enemy Unkown / XCom: Defense

Ufo: The Two Sides is a multiplayer remake of the original game X-Com: Defence / Ufo: Enemy Uknown, developed by Mythos Games and MicroProse in early 90′.

Ufo tts recreates most of the original features, adding a couple of new ones, and changing ones that existed. However, the game recreates most of the features as faithfuly as possible to maintain the unrivalled gameplay of its predecessor. Although numerous other attempts have been made to recreate x-com defence, there is no (known to us) multiplayer game that lets you play full campaings (that is both geoscape and battlescape). Project has been started on 1st of march 2009. There is no known date as to when it’s going to be complete.

All games from the ufo/x-com series are property of their owners (in 2005 rights have been aquired by Take-Two), the game is still being sold, therefore original game is not ‘abandonware’ and cannot be distributed for free legally. Presently Ufo: tts uses original graphics taken from ufo 1, making it impossible to be downloaded as a complete stand alone product. The crew is currently working on remaking all the graphics, so this will not be a problem in the future.

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12. Video Game: X-COM: UFO Defense [Average Rating:8.73 Overall Rank:7]
The days are just packed
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
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Noticed this never got updated with a new project that is still being worked on:

http://openxcom.org/

someone is recoding the entire game as best as possible. Looks pretty sweet. You will need the original game (dos vers) to use this recode, however, it is still available on steam at the moment for cheap.
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