Perimeter Review

Making sure our perimeter is secure in this new strategy game.

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 4th June 2004


  • Developer: KD-LAB
  • Publisher: Codemasters
  • Release Date: 21st May 2004

It’s hard to get excited about the real-time strategy genre, mainly because if we're honest the majority of games are all pretty similar using the same basic principals! There seems to be a real lack of innovation and most new games appear to be carbon copies of the previous game except for slightly different wrapping. With this in mind it’s easy to look forward to a game that promises to breath new life in to the genre and luckily for RTS fans waiting for something new, Codemaster’s Perimeter does!

The story behind Perimeter focuses on a number of civilisations that reside in giant space craft type structures known as Frames, the many civilisations have fled a dying Earth in search of a new home world that isn’t infested with the Scourge. The Scourge is made up from all kinds of indigenous species that seem to surface soon after a Frame arrives on a new planet. On your search for a new planet you are being guarded by some kind Spirit that senses a planet that is free from the Scourge and it’s this planet that your Frame and all other Frame’s are racing to seize as their new home world.

Perimeter features a few innovations that make the game stand out from the current crop of real-time strategy titles! Firstly in Perimeter you can activate an impenetrable shield around your base to protect it from enemy attacks, however using your shield known as The Perimeter quickly drains your bases energy so it can only stay active for short periods of time making it extremely important to manage your energy production efficiently.

Energy is the one resource used to build weapons, buildings and units and it is drawn from the ground by power cores. Power cores are the only buildings capable of generating the Perimeter shield so strategically placing them around your Frame is of huge importance to offer complete protection. Power cores can only draw energy from level terrain but don’t worry Perimeter has another trick up its sleeve to solve this problem, terraforming.

Terraforming is performed by Brigadier units that send out drones to level terrain or dig ditches for defence, if an area of terrain is lower then that of your current building level (known as zero level in the game) then the drones will take terrain from built up areas to fill in the gaps. The terraforming effects in Perimeter look fantastic and you can visibly see the brigadier’s drones scurrying around transforming the land, eating away mountains and filling in crevasses.

Placement of your power cores is also of the up most importance, only a set amount of energy can be drawn from a small area around a power core so overlapping power cores will result in inefficient energy production, however it is fairly easy to avoid making this mistake as the area where a power core is drawing power from is shadowed and easy to pin point from the rest of the map.

Perimeter also features a decent combat system that gives you a limited number of squads to control. Squads are made up of three types of basic unit soldiers, officers and technicians, these units are relatively weak on their own and don’t really stand up to any kind of onslaught, however Perimeter allows you to transmorph basic units into more powerful units, the types of units you are able to transmorph basic units into depends on what you have researched, for instance you will only be able to transmorph units into airborne units if you have built an anti-gravity lab.

The ability to transmorph squads also becomes more apparent in later levels, for instance some areas are out of reach to ground based units so you will be required to transmorph your squad into air units in order to reach the area of the map before transmorphing back to a more powerful artillery unit.

Missions in Perimeter are fairly varied in both length and difficulty. The games early missions are generally quite short and serve as an introduction to the games features and any seasoned RTS gamer should have no problems clearing them, however later levels become quite challenging, especially when you come up against rival frames as this time you will be up against rival units instead of just having to worry about the Scourge. This is where the challenge of Perimeter comes in to play and from here on in the game should provide a worthy challenge for all.

Perimeter offers all the usual modes of play as most other real-time strategy games, mainly campaign, skirmish and a multiplayer mode with support for up to four players, so the like most RTS games there is some life after the campaign mode.

In general Perimeter is well presented the interface is simple with everything easily at hand, with units well animated and some nice special effects such as explosions and the Perimeter shield steeling the show. However, there is some noticeable slow down when action on screen picks up even on high end machines the games performance can suffer somewhat. The games camera also poses no problems it defaults above the action of a slight angle and when zooming in instead of simply making everything bigger on screen it moves in closer to the action while making the angle of the camera shallower until it’s almost level with battlefield.

The game is generally stable and only once did we encounter a problem, when we finished a mission instead of moving to the next mission briefing we were shoved back to our Windows desktop, luckily though the game had managed to save our progress so we were able to restart from the next new mission.

Audio in Perimeter does the job but is nothing spectacular, weapons fire and explosion effects are pretty good as are the voiceovers for mission briefings but nothing really stands out about it. Music in the game is tense sounding but has a generic feel to it.

Perimeter brings several new ideas to the real-time strategy genre and the new innovations have been implemented well. Graphically Perimeter has some nice effects but there’s not much else that makes it stand out from the rest in this department. Overall Perimeter works well together and the game makes a break away from what has now become a standard template for most RTS titles.

Review Score: 8.4/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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