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Maelstrom: The Battle for Earth Begins

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: KD Labs
Release Date: Feb. 20, 2007

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'Maelstrom' - 8 New Screens

by Rainier on Feb. 6, 2007 @ 4:42 p.m. PST

Maelstrom is a strategy action epic which takes place on a devastated future Earth. In the wake of an apocalyptic ecological disaster, the planet is threatened by an alien invasion, thus becoming the battleground as a divided human race fights for survival.

Set against the violent ecological meltdown of Earth, players will be able to unleash a tide of carnage with colossal transforming robots, crush enemies by raining down fire, level entire mountains, and freeze the oceans.

In this ravaged world, water has become the most valuable of resources and divided what remains of mankind in two: the urban freedom fighting Remnants and the technologically advanced Ascension. Now they must wage war against a new threat, the invasion of a savage alien race, the Hai-Genti, and each other in a desperate struggle for supremacy and survival.

Complete with the ability to terraform landscapes and transform units, Maelstrom will provide strategy gamers with the power to harness the forces of nature in the most frantic, destructive, action-packed RTS game yet.

Maelstrom’s innovation comes from within, the world of Maelstrom itself was created to be one of the most original and unique qualities about the game. The environment is not only a critical asset, but also an active part of gameplay. KDV Games has provided the Vista Game Engine which creates a living, breathing world. The engine allows for total manipulation of the landscape and creates realistic environmental factors. Players would be wise to take notice of the painstakingly recreated physical simulation of the world, as it is just as alive as the people in it. All physical aspects of nature have been brought into consideration, you will notice this as you work your way from arid deserts to frozen wastelands, destroyed cities as well as flooded landscapes on which you will do battle. Take this as an introduction to the interactive world of Maelstrom.


In Maelstrom the water is both a critical resource, as well as one of the most destructive forces. Every faction requires fresh water, via wells located throughout the map. However, there is also naturally occurring water on coastlines and inland that offer a unique challenge. The Hai-Genti, for example, are hydrophilic and will attempt to flood the lands surrounding their base, and eventually even the entire map! There are a few things you can do to prevent water from rushing into your base, leaving you flooded and in dire straits should the enemy attack. Terraforming is the most commonly used method of deferring water away from bases and critical points, providing clear paths for troops and supplies. Additionally, Ascension forces have developed highly advanced cryogenic weaponry which allows them to freeze large amounts of water for a limited time, adding yet another twist to the role of water in Maelstrom. Imagine a group of enemies wading across a river, when they are suddenly frozen in place and left at the mercy of their captors. These are just some of the perils that lie in wait within the game.


In the world of Maelstrom, terraforming is viewed primarily as a tool of war, but once it was meant to save lives. As the sea levels rose due to the horrible events of the Maelstrom, humanity was forced to find a way to live while keeping the water at bay. They succeeded at creating a technology to manipulate the Earth itself, producing the ability to build up mounds of dirt in order to protect themselves from the onslaught of the seas. The Remnant Scavenger and Ascension Manipulator units have the ability to terraform. In addition to building up the terrain you can also carve out lakes, make channels to drain water away and develop trenches for your troops to hide in. Think for a moment about the uses for terraforming in practical battle. Create barriers shielding yourself from enemies and water alike, customizing the map to produce choke points at your advantage. Bare in mind that there are many ways to terraform the land, some a bit more “explosive” than others. This ability leaves the player with extremely unique and almost limitless possibilities within which they can work towards their goal in the game.

Natural Disasters

Staying with the “living world” motif, KDV Games has also included realistic natural disasters – with a twist. When we typically think of disasters, we think of tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes and the like, randomly destroying anything in their path, until now. Taking a bold step in the RTS genre, Maelstrom comes fully equipped for player control and direction of natural disasters. Picture yourself with the power to unleash a tornado on an unsuspecting group of enemies as they prepare to rush your base. Watch as they’re sucked into the whirlwind, lifted off the ground and hurled hundreds of feet to their doom. Rain down meteors on enemy vehicle columns, producing massive craters and wholesale carnage. Watch as the flames from these explosions ignite the surrounding flora and spreads throughout the area. The Hai-Genti are known for their ability to tap into and utilize their environment. You will notice that they are extremely well adapted to utilizing nature to its fullest extent. But that’s not all, how about some man made disasters? Using the Ascension’s advanced orbital battle platform you’ll be able to rain down laser and lightning strikes. And how bout some good old fashion tactical nukes to spice things up?


Desert - Navigate barren and distressed terrain. With water a scarce commodity, these environments are especially taxing. However, the variety of terrain options available to terraform are usually easier to manipulate here. With ranges usually rising up between bases, it is easy to come up with plans of attack and really provide some devastating damage.

Urban – Take the fight into the streets of ravaged cities. Utilizing the wreckage and buildings for cover these cityscapes make for a close combat like no other. House to house fighting and destruction of everything around can lead to intense battle scenes. Terraforming may be somewhat limited due to man-made objects, but there will be no lack of action.

Winter Mountains – Desolate like the vast deserts and nuclear fallout areas, the snow covered mountains offer a unique challenge to players. The rock formations and craggy terrain makes for difficult base building, but interesting terraforming possibilities. Use the natural formations to your advantage as you fight to survive.

Flooded – Waterlogged and overgrown, these landscapes are both a blessing and a curse. Offering great amounts of water and lush flora, the flood zones can be a deathtrap to those not prepared. Alien invaders prefer these territories, basking in the water – while humans require upgrades and proper preparation to brave the treacherous wetlands.

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