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Ground Control: Dark Conspiracy is an expansion pack for the real-time tactics game Ground Control. It was developed by Massive Entertainment and High Voltage Software and was published by Sierra Studios in August 2000. In October of the same year Sierra announced that it would be packing Dark Conspiracy with the original game so new purchasers of the game would also get the expansion pack for free. Sierra also generously allowed existing owners of Ground Control to apply for a copy of Dark Conspiracy via an online form to receive a free copy in the mail.
The main additions of the pack are a new faction, the Phoenix Mercenaries and a single-player campaign consisting of 15 missions continuing the story begun in the original. The pack also includes new multiplayer maps, more units for existing factions and new terrain types. Another difference is that the expansion pack contains cut scenes created by Blur Studios while the original game contained pre-rendered in engine cut-scenes.
The Story of Dark Conspiracy begins a few months after the events of the original game with Major Sarah Parker and her forces trying to escape planet Krig-7B. Battling the forces of her former allies, the Crayven Corporation and The Order of The New Dawn early missions focus on activating a deep space communications station. Deacon Jared Stone is apparently killed in the fighting. Help arrives in the nick of time from an unlikely ally in the form of an Order command cruiser that appears from hyperspace and in the confusion of its arival destroys its Crayven counterpart. The commanding officer onboard the cruiser explains that the Order forces on planet Krig-7B are actually a splinter faction not following Order authority.
The order cannot take direct action against the Second Dawn forces for fear of causing a civil war. Instead they recruit Sarah and supply her with untraceable information and finances and ask her to fight the Second Dawn of their behalf. She is told that this is the only way to find out what happened on Krig-7B. She accepts this and soon makes contact with the Phoenix Mercenaries.
The Phoenix Mercenaries are Crayven outcasts relocated the the planet Crim-12. The planet had already been mined thoroughly and had very little in the way of natural resources and so was considered worthless in that sense. Left to themselves the colonists created a new society using scavenged parts from the remains of mining operations. Soon others who had grown tired of the Crayven also joined them and the colonists were soon large enough to draw the attention of their original company, the Crayven Corporation. Rather than risk hostility with the colonists a deal was worked out, the Crayvens would leave the Phoenix Mercenaries in peace in exchange for giving them mercenary contracts. The lack of natural resources on the planet led to the mercenaries accepting scrap as payment in the place of currency.
In the game the Phoenix mercenaries vehicles are typically hoverdynes similar to the Orders vehicles displaying high speeds but weaker armor than their Crayven counterparts. True to the name of their group, their armory contains many types of flame or plasma based weaponry including purpose built vehicles such as their pyrodyne flame tanks. A majority of their units are pretty similar to their counterparts in the Order and Crayven forces but contain several unique units such as their Plasma Grenadiers that are equipped with plasma mortar based weapons. They also feature the Swarm aircraft that can engage any type of unit. The squad consists of six tiny aircraft, individually very weak but in large groups they are very destructive. Additionally the Phoenix Mercenaries artillery if different to their counterparts in that it only fires one round per barrage but fires more regularly, this allows the artillery to change targets rapidly but each volley is less effective.
The game is available at gog.com.
Minimum system requirements
- Windows XP or Windows Vista
- 1.8 GHz Processor
- 512MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
- 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended)
- 4GB HDD