Turn-based strategy has been around since man invented, well, chess. Domination is not, as the title suggests, a filthy sex game. It is, however, the latest offering to bring turn-based combat to the PC. It follows in a long line of turn-based games. We flexed our brains to put this latest contribution to the test.

The basic premise of Domination is to carry out a number of mission tasks in the conflict of Free Nations Union and the Phantom League - sounds familiar right? Well, there is only so many ways you can pair off two teams against each other. It could be the Cold War, it could be the GDA against the Brotherhood of Nod, it could be the Romans against the Gauls - it doesn’t matter - the premise is the same.

There are five basic gaming modes from Scenario to Campaign, and in that there is nothing really new. The units you command are many and varied, if a little staid and tiresome, from the regular tank to the ridiculously large Mechanoid platform more akin to Mechwarrior. The terrains are perfunctory, but restrained by the linear aspect of the game, which is essential as it’s turn-based.

It becomes obvious from the outset that this game requires thought before action, just like chess. Rash movements have fervent repercussions and you’ll soon find yourself literally fighting a losing battle. Once you engage the enemy it’s almost impossible to withdraw, so you need to think a long way in advance. The basic turns involve moving all your troops, with the option to fire where you can.

The game boasts to have awesome graphics, and for a turn-based strategy, it does ok - but these things are known for being clunky and rather backward. Looking at the system specs (recommended 1.5GHz, 512Mhz RAM, GeForce II etc) you’d expect something rather good, but you’ll be sorely disappointed. Domination is power-hungry for no real return: the graphics are something from yesteryear, and not a par on with other strategy games running on the similarly specified machines.

Verdict

You have to be really into your turn-based strategy to even think about visiting the genre and this isn’t likely to sway you. That said, there seems to be a whole lot missing from Domination performance-wise - why is it so power-hungry? Just look at the missile launch - it looks more like a cat vomiting a stream of bubbles. Tactically, the game requires thought, and that might be what the target market is after, but if you’re thinking of getting involved, don’t do it here.