Shockwave Assault


Electronic Arts Studios

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One of the first conversions from the 3DO to the PC is the recent Electronic Arts Studios release: Shockwave Assault for Windows 95. The game combines the first episode and its data disk on a single CD-ROM packed with over 20 minutes of cinematic sequences.

Designed to run exclusively with the Windows 95 environment, Shockwave Assault uses the new DirectX Application Programming Interface (API) from Microsoft. This new software interface provides direct access to display and audio devices without the need for developers to take into consideration the specific hardware details. In other words, it simplifies their life. DirectX comes with the Microsoft Windows 95 Game Software Development Kit, and since many companies have announced their intention to develop solely for the Windows 95 environment, you can expect numerous games to be using it.

The system, however, has a major drawback in that it only supports sound cards from a limited number of manufacturers. People who have sound cards from Roland or Advanced Gravis, for example, won't be able to fully exploit the new API. This means DirectX will function only by emulation which can make video playback work incorrectly. Whether this is Microsoft's fault or the manufacturer's is not our concern, but it sure handicaps the owners of these specific sound cards. Let's hope that this problem will be corrected soon in a new version of the Game Software Development Kit or by new drivers from the manufacturers.

Speaking of the video playback, the game offers several resolutions. During the installation, the program will test your video card and show you the best choices for your configuration. Three colors will be used: green for best performances, orange for a low-average quality and red for worst. The game can use three different resolutions: 320 by 200, 320 by 240 and 640 by 480 with 256 or 65536 colors (16-bit), and the non-SVGA modes can be played fullscreen, stretched or in a window. On a 486 DX2-66, you won't be given a chance to play in any other mode than 320 by 200 in 256 colors, because of the game's requirements. The recommended configuration for optimum performance is a Pentium with 16 megabytes and 2Mb of VRAM for the video card, but this might be too much for a large number of gamers.

The game itself is a shoot-em up where you must fight legions of aliens who suddenly invaded Earth, hence the name "Invasion Earth: 2019". You will pilot the still experimental F-177 heavy fighter in a series of missions throughout the globe. The first mission will send you to Egypt across the Gizeh Valley and over Cairo where alien forces have been spotted. If you are familar with the 3DO version, you won't find too many differences in the game except for the graphics quality. Your fighter can turn around 360 degrees, fly up and down, but you can't crash on the ground nor go to very high altitude. It is more like tilting the fighter's nose up and down than rather moving vertically. However, if you strike a structure on the ground like buidlings or an enemy unit, you will suffer damages.

You will use two different weapons during the game, the lasers and the missiles. The important thing you must remember is that you don't have unlimited ammunition to get rid of the aliens. There will be refuelling drones along your way to resupply you with fuel, ammunition and restore your shields. The fuel is to activate the thruster when you need a quick acceleration to escape some heavy fire.

The game is divided in several missions (11 for Invasion Earth and 5 for Operation Jumpgate) located in various areas. While Invasion Earth is mostly based on Earth, Operation Jumpgate will send you to fight the aliens on Mars, Jupiter's moon Io, Saturn's moon Titan and finally on an asteroid near Neptune.

Shockwave has been considered as a difficult game on the 3DO and many hours were necessary to reach the end. The PC version is a little easier, because when you die you can restart at the last mission you failed. With the 3DO, you had to start all over again from the very beginning. Fortunately, you don't have only one chance to vainquish the aliens but four. Each time your ship will be destroyed, the doctor will fix you up in no time so that you can return to combat. If you fail after these four chances, nothing can be done to save you. Yet, if you think the game is too hard, you can select the level of difficulty (easy, medium and hard).


I personally think the system requirements are way too high just for a shoot-em up conversion, especially when there are many games available asking for less, with superior performances for both graphics and gameplay. The 3DO console on which the game was first developed only costs $US 199 today and represents about half the price of a good VRAM video card.

System Requirements:

486 DX2-66 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard drive required with 10Mb free,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
SVGA video graphic card with 1Mb memory (VLB or PCI bus),
Microsoft mouse and 100% compatibles supported.

Natively-supported Windows 95 soundcards with DirectX support.

Joysticks supported


Paradox Software.


In North America:

Electronic Arts
1450 Fashion Island Blvd.,
San Mateo, CA 94404.

Web site: www.ea.com

In Europe:

In UK:

Electronic Arts UK Ltd.,
90 Heron Drive,
Langley, Berks SL3 8XP.

Technical Support: +44-(0)1753-546465

In France:

Electronic Arts France,
3 Rue Claude Chappe,
69771 Saint Didier au Mont D'or Cedex.

In Germany:

Electronic Arts GmbH.,
Verler Str. 1,
333332 Gutersloth.

In Sweden:

Electronic Arts,
Business Campus,
Johanneslundsvogen 2,
194 81 Upplandsvasby.

In Spain:

Electronic Arts Software S.A.,
Edificio Arcade,
Rufino Gonzalez 23 bis,
Planta 1a, Local 2,
28037 Madrid.




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