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Classic Geoscape

 UFO Defense Geoscape zoomed in on Europe
The classic Geoscape allows the player to scout the earth, and detect alien craft in the vicinity of X-Com bases. Confrontations with said craft are played out in the same view mode, until either side withdraws or gets shot down. Rotation and zoom controls can alter the appearance of the 3D globe, in order to have destinations accurately set for X-Com squads. X-Com bases can be built around the planet, and managed via the menu options available in the same view mode. 
There are also controls to speed up or slow down time, which is useful for those moments when nothing is happening. There isn't much risk involved in making days pass like seconds, as all events prompt the player and stop the passing of time.
This version of the Geoscape appears in the first two X-Com titles: UFO Defense ("Enemy Unknown" in Europe) and Terror from the Deep.
In UFO Defense, bases can be built anywhere there is land, while both aliens and X-Com travel and fight in aircraft. In Terror from the Deep, bases can only be built under water, as is the case for most of the travel and combat as well. Terror sites, however, may occur on ships, ports and island resorts.
 Preparing to investigate a stationary alien craft in Terror from the Deep
In addition to the names of countries and cities, the following may appear on the Geoscape during the game: 

  • X-Com bases
  • X-Com craft in transit or patrolling
  • Alien craft in transit
  • Stationary alien craft
  • Crashlanded alien craft
  • Terror sites
  • Alien bases

The Cityscape - X-Com Apocalypse

 UFOs invading the Cityscape
The third X-Com game, Apocalypse, took a different approach, showing an isometric view of the city Mega-Primus instead. The view is fairly detailed, displaying not only X-Com or alien craft and structures, but also those of civilians and other factions. The Cityscape supports both aircraft and cars, and craft-based combat is played out in real time without any separate confrontation view. This often leads to damage to nearby structures and civilians.
Due to the title's increased complexity, there are a lot more options and toggles available to the player, but generally the Cityscape operates similarly to the classic Geoscape.

The Geoscape in similar games

Games inspired by the classic X-Com titles often implement their own take on the Geoscape:

 The Geoscape in UFO: Afterlight

 The Geoscape in UFO: Extraterrestrials

 The Geoscape in UFO: Alien Invasion

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