by Sergio Brinkhuis
previewed on PC
Space, the boring frontier
Come on, admit it, you've seen enough real-time battles in space, on water and on lush green fields that slowly turn red as your cavalry makes short work of your enemies' foot-soldiers. Sure, sometimes developers of RTS games come up with some interesting new locations to do battle and put in a genuine effort to create completely unique units. But in the end, we have seen it all before and all that changes are the graphics that get a decent upgrade every other year or so. Boring!
Enter Paraworld. The developers decided to take the player back in time but much farther than that we're used to. Skipping the Second World War and bypassing Alexander, the game takes us straight into prehistoric times.
Fancy trading in your Subsonic Tank for a T-Rex? Your War Elephants for Triceratops? Then read on, you'll enjoy the ride.
Telling the story
In the early 19th century, the brilliant mathematician Jarvis Babbit invents a machine with which he can travel to parallel worlds. He discovers that it is not only possible to transport himself to another world: He is also able to move back in time. He sets his sights on a world that is similar to our own with the notable exception that, at one point in history, humans and dinosaurs were living together in the same era.
The humans on this parallel world are little more than savages and struggle to survive in a world filled with angry looking animals. When Babbit and a group of followers discover that they do not age in this world, they feel they cannot pass up the unique opportunity to conquer the planet and rule it as their own.
Many years pass and technology slowly catches up with Babbit's work. Three young scientists figure out the secret to traveling to parallel worlds as well and, by chance, end up in the world that Babbit has set out to conquer. Babbit, aware of the new arrivals, prevents them from returning to their own time. Unwilling to be stuck on Paraworld, the three start upon the near hopeless quest of returning to their own planet in their own time.
The chosen setting for Paraworld opens up a wealth of possibilities. The developers have almost complete freedom in graphics and gameplay without having to ask too much from the players' imagination. For instance, allowing humans and dinosaurs to exist in the same time period, makes for excellent material for a very unique war machine. Each of the three tribes that live on the planet, has learned to control dinosaurs and use them like we have learned to use horses and elephants. Of course, having a T-Rex towering over you is a lot scarier than it is to have a horseman charging at you. The dinosaur kingdom is made up of a lot of very ferocious looking creatures and the developers are using this to good advantage.