Dare to be Digital 2008 Part 2

Next up is possibly the most ambitious project of the competition. Infection Vector are a bunch of very enthusiastic guys from Ireland and it shines through in their RTS, The Manhattan Strain. Trying to develop an RTS in ten weeks is usually an insane choice because there are so many more variables to consider. Despite showing a very stripped-down version of the game, The Manhattan Strain is the game with the most potential out of all 17 entries.

The game is actually based on a very simple concept. A virus has been let loose on Manhattan and you are the FEMA director charged with stopping it before it kills all of the local population within the alloted time. With limited numbers police and biologists at your disposal you have to quarantine or evacuate buildings and set up road blocks in order to contain the virus. It is also possible to blow up a quarantined building to kill the infected people inside. This actually proved to be one of the most popular options.

You begin the game with a maximum score and it ticks down as more people contract the virus and die. Slow the spread of the virus and your score reduces more slowly. If your biologists manage to find ways to fight the virus your score even goes up. Basically your aim is to have the highest score by the end of the time limit.

The game has only been implemented for a small area and the graphics are very basic cel-shaded buildings with Darwinian stickmen wandering around amongst them. This actually added to the appeal of the game though. The only thing that let the game down was the slightly complicated control system. It was a bit difficult to get to grips with the game initially but with a bit of help I was blowing up small sections of Manhattan in no time.

The boys at Infection Vector have a mass of ideas for improving on the game and they plan to continue developing The Manhattan Strain well beyond the end of the competition. This is one game that we should hope to see on the shelves when the kinks have been worked out.

Next time I’ll add my final pick of Dare for this year.

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