Released by The 3DO Company on October 17, 1997, Uprising: Join or Die is a PC real-time strategy game from Cyclone Studios that mixes traditional RTS mechanics with elements of fast-paced first-person shooters. Many of the hallmarks of the real-time strategy genre are in evidence, such as resource gathering, base building, and unit production, however the player conducts these activities not from the more traditional and detached isometric perspective, but rather from the first-person perspective of their Wraith, a personal mobile command vehicle and weapons platform that can actively participate in battle. Most missions require the player to properly manage their various holdings and command allied units effectively while also using their Wraith to influence the outcome of combat engagements to the best of their ability. The capabilities of units, structures, and the Wraith can be upgraded over time, and in addition to its campaign mode, Uprising features a quickplay single-player option and multiplayer.
Cyclone Studios would go on to develop two additional titles in the Uprising franchise, both of which were released late in 1998. The second series release would be Uprising X, a console-specific version of Uprising produced for Sony's PlayStation. The third and ultimate title in the Uprising franchise, Uprising 2: Lead and Destroy, is a direct sequel to the original title developed exclusively for the PC.
At the advent of mankind's discovery of reliable space travel, the denizens of Earth are a divided people. Though some predict that man's newfound ability to explore the stars will bring the world's population together for the greater good, for the most part the various factions and ideologies of Earth begin to claim and settle worlds for their own purposes rather than cooperate as a cohesive group. One fateful day, however, the entire human population of the planet Albion is destroyed by an unknown force, and in an unprecedented show of solidarity, humanity creates a vast military government organization to seek out and defeat this mysterious aggressor. They encounter a belligerent race known as the Swarm, and reports sent from the front lines paint a picture of a successful war effort against alien aggressors.
Over time, signs begin to emerge that the military venture sent forth by Earth may not be completely forthright in its communications. Third-party reports tell of usable alien technology being recovered from Albion, rumors that the military vehemently denies. The entire planet of Albion is placed under quarantine, supposedly due to radioactivity, and as the war drags on many begin to question the veracity of the milatary's version of events. Some wonder if the war is truly still being fought, while others wonder if it ever was. Many who speak loudly against the military's behavior disappear suddenly. Eventually, the military grants General Caston the title of Emperor, and despite a huge public backlash, the Imperium, as it comes to be called, is able to quickly put down anyone who openly rebels against them.
The player character of Uprising is a young man from the planet Caliban who has successfully managed to avoid conscription by the Imperium through a combination of intellect and combat prowess. His actions eventually bring him to the attention of an anti-Imperium rebel group, who, in recognition of his potential, decide to give him further training. It is precisely because of this training and instinctive competence that the player is chosen to pilot the Wraith, a highly advanced Imperium weapon and command vehicle appropriated by the rebels. With only one Wraith known to exist, the rebels plan to use it as a spearhead in their fight against Imperium, believing that they have a technological advantage over their opponents for the first time.
Uprising is controlled using the keyboard and mouse, and movement options for the player's Wraith can be set up to mimic the popular WASD control scheme used by most PC first-person shooters. The mouse is used primarily to control the player's perspective, while the left and right mouse buttons fire the Wraith's primary and secondary weapons, respectively. The Wraith's secondary weapon can be switched quickly either by pressing the number key associated with a particular weapon or by pressing the Enter key, which brings up a scrollable list of all weapons currently available to the player. Major base-related actions, such as calling in troops or placing turrets, can be accessed at any time via the function keys, while buildings can be placed, repaired, and sold through the Satellite Overview interface, which can be accessed with the O key.
Missions in Uprising's single-player campaign are, for the most part, structured around building and fortifying bases in order to amass enough offensive capability to attack, defeat, and claim enemy bases. Unlike many RTS games, bases must be built upon predetermined points on the map. By positioning the Wraith over a claim square, players can call down a Citadel, which allows for additional structures to be built at that location. The number of structures that can be built at any one control point can vary, and the resources that can be drawn from them are likewise finite. In order to augment resource generation and building capacity past what is currently available to them, players must scout and claim additional base locations, oftentimes by force. A scenario will typically end once all base locations are under player control, though occasionally missions will have other objectives as well. After each mission, the player is granted currency with which to upgrade units, structures, and their Wraith.
Unit deployment is somewhat unique in Uprising, as the player does not simply commission unit construction. Once a unit-producing building has been established, a meter associated with the unit in the player's HUD begins to charge. When this meter is fully charged, the player can teleport that unit to their location, at which point the meter must recharge before another unit of that type can be called in. Possessing more than one building for a particular unit allows for multiple charges to be built up simultaneously, thus allowing the unit to be used more often. Other than the player's Wraith, Uprising features only four player-controlled units, though all of them can be upgraded. These units are typically possessed of particular strengths and weaknesses, making it fairly important to take into account the circumstances before deploying them. Infantry units, for instance, are weak against most other units, but extremely effective at destroying structures.
As a physical presence on the battlefield, the player's Wraith is a crucial gameplay component. In addition to functioning as the player's main means of interacting with units and structures, it is also the most powerful and versatile unit available to them. Unlike A.I.-controlled units, the Wraith is extremely maneuverable and can carry a large number of weapons, which can be switch out as needed. It can be fully repaired and rearmed at any friendly base, and the player also starts each mission with a certain number of lives, meaning that even when destroyed, the Wraith can be respawned at the nearest base provided the player has lives to spare. In addition, units can only be spawned within visual range of the Wraith, so by necessity it must always participate in offensive maneuvers. Though it happens only rarely, a mission may also require operating the Wraith without the opportunity to build bases.
Accessed by hitting the O key, the Satellite Overview interface is an important tool for a number of reasons. It contains a larger overhead map than is available to the player in their standard view, and apart from the Citadel, which can be called in with the F9 button, it is the interface through which all non-defensive base structures are bought, repaired, and sold. It contains other useful information as well, such as the current untapped resources at each base, and the current status of all buildings at a selected location. Furthermore, the player can set navigation points from the Satellite Overview and assume turret control of a specific Citadel by double-clicking its icon, which is often faster than simply cycling through all available Citadels with the F12 key.
Wraith Weapons and Upgrades
At the start of Uprising's single-player campaign, the player possesses only two weapons: the Gatling Laser and Limited Heat Seeking Missiles. With funds earned from completing missions, the player is able to purchase up to twelve additional weapons as well as extra durability for their Wraith. All weapons, including the starting weapons, have three tiers, with each successive tier being more effective than the last. Power to the Wraith's weapons can be manually adjusted during missions through the energy triangle, which allows players to dictate the distribution of power for their Wraith's three subsystems: weapons, shields, and engines.
One of the more self-explanatory purchases for the Wraith, Chassis upgrades allow the Wraith to take more damage before being destroyed. Players have the basic level at the outset.
- Tech Level 1: Standard Chassis - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Reinforced Chassis - Cost: 20,000
- Tech Level 3: Advanced Chassis - Cost: 40,000
- Tech Level 1: 100 Kilocycle - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: 109 Kilocycle - Cost: 25,000
- Tech Level 3: 123 Kilocycle - Cost: 50,000
One of the Wraith's two starting weapons, the Gatling Laser is unique insofar as it is rechargeable, and thus never runs out of ammunition. Though individual projectile damage is low, with higher weapon power, it fires at an extremely rapid pace. Upgrades to the Gatling Laser improve its damage.
Limited Heat Seeking Missiles
- Tech Level 1: Alpha-Class - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Beta-Class - Cost: 8,000
- Tech Level 2: Gamma Class - Cost: 12,000
The second of Uprising's two starting weapons, the Limited Heat Seeking Missile emplacement fires off two rounds with each salvo, doing a decent amount of damage while also having the ability to track targets. Upgrades improve the weapon's range, damage, and rate of fire.
Cupid Missile Rack
The Cupid Missile Rack is a dumb-fire version of the LHSM. It unleashes three powerful but unguided missiles in a vertical swath, which are perfect for immobile or easily-targeted foes. The first upgrade improves its ammo capacity, while the second bolsters its damage.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 12,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 8,000
- Tech Level 3 - Cost: 10,000
Helix Missile System
The Helix Missile System fires two missiles at a time with somewhat greater tracking capability than the standard LHSM. The first upgrade increases damage but reduces ammo capacity, while the second upgrade restores it to its original ammo load without decreasing damage.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 25,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 15,000
- Tech Level 3 - Cost: 10,000
The Spline Gun emits a focused stream of energy that causes damage to enemy armored units while also converting that damage into health regeneration for the player's Wraith. Upgrades to the Spline Gun increase the amount of drain caused by the stream.
- Tech Level 1: Standard - Cost: 14,000
- Tech Level 2: Improved - Cost: 14,000
- Tech Level 3: Ultra - Cost: 14,000
As its name implies, the Mole Torpedo's payload travels underground toward its target, and it is particularly effective at taking out defensive structures from a safe distance. Upgrading the Mole Torpedo increases its ammo capacity, the speed of its torpedoes, and their damage.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 29,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 22,000
- Tech Level 3 - Cost: 28,000
The Flame Gun releases an energy stream that is designed to latch onto enemy structures and quickly compromise their integrity. Both upgrades to the Flame Gun increase its ammo capacity, while the final upgrade also boosts its damage.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 15,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 9,000
- Tech Level 3 - Cost: 6,000
The Land Mine weapon drops a single stationary mine at the Wraith's location when used, which will not detonate unless an enemy approaches it. Rather than increasing damage, upgrades to the Land Mine increase the number of mines that can be carried.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 8,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 7,000
- Tech Level 3 - Cost: 6,000
Also known as the Grenade Launcher, the Mortar launches an explosive round from the top of the Wraith that can cause damage to enemy structures. Additional tech levels for the Mortar will increase its damage output.
- Tech Level 1: Standard - Cost: 30,000
- Tech Level 2: HE - Cost: 20,000
- Tech Level 3: HEAP - Cost: 18,000
Unlike the Land Mine, which simply releases individual mines, the Mine Layer releases a drone that can deploy numerous mines without prompting. The Mine Layer has only one upgrade, which increases the number of mines its drones place from fourteen to twenty.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 20,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 16,000
Activating Remote Repair causes a repair module to be dropped close to the Wraith's current position. The exact amount of health restored by each module as well as the total number of modules that can be called depends on the current tech level of Remote Repair.
- Tech Level 1: Basic - Cost: 10,000
- Tech Level 2: Standard - Cost: 15,000
- Tech Level 3: Advanced - Cost: 20,000
- Tech Level 4: Ultra - Cost: 25,000
The Hive Missile launcher unleashes a cluster of missiles at its target that can cause heavy damage to most vehicles and buildings. Because of the intense heat generated by the weapon, it is not currently possible to upgrade the Hive Missile launcher.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 35,000
The BFM9000, sometimes called the Tomahawk, represents the best homing technology currently available. Once it locks on, a BFM9000 missile will rarely miss. It is incomparably powerful as well. Only one tech level exists, as attempts to improve the weapon have thus far failed.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 40,000
Unleashing destructive spinning disks that can level base structures with relative ease, the Anti-Matter Disk is one of the most powerful tools available to the Wraith. Each additional upgrade to the weapon increases its already significant damage potential.
- Tech Level 1 - Cost: 60,000
- Tech Level 2 - Cost: 30,000
- Tech Level 3 - Cost: 40,000
Structures in Uprising are all built around claim squares, with the Citadel being a prerequisite purchase for any other building type to be constructed. Aside from defensive structures, which players can, to an extent, position where they choose, all buildings must be placed on designated construction sites located close to a claim square. All building types save Booster structures have some manner of upgrade associated with them, though in the case of unit-producing buildings these upgrades improve the units they generate rather than the building itself.
The basic defense structure for any installation, the Medium Turret can target and fire upon any type of enemy. Upgrades to the Medium Turret improve its performance in a number of areas, including damage caused, rate of fire, range, and durability.
- Tech Level 1: Alpha Class - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Beta Class - Cost: 15,000
- Tech Level 3: Gamma Class - Cost: 40,000
Though not as versatile as a standard Medium Turret, the SAM Site is far more effective against aerial units. Because of their specialized nature, it is generally recommended to have one SAM Site for every two Medium Turrets. Upgrades increase damage and rate of fire.
- Tech Level 1: Salvo - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Barrage - Cost: 15,000
- Tech Level 3: Rake - Cost: 40,000
Citadels are the central structure for all bases. They are powerful defensive buildings, and act as a prerequisite for other defensive structures, meaning that any nearby Medium Turrets and SAM Sites will be destroyed automatically if their Citadel is lost. Citadel upgrades increase the power and firing rate of its turret.
- Tech Level 1: Spitter - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Shrike - Cost: 8,000
- Tech Level 3: Saracen - Cost: 16,000
- Tech Level 4: Slammer - Cost: 28,000
- Tech Level 5: Slaughterhouse V - Cost: 40,000
The Power Building mines energy from any base it is called to, provided that base has reserves to be mined. Once a location's energy reserves have been fully depleted, the Power Building can be sold to make room for other structures. Upgrades affect the structure's rate of energy transfer.
- Tech Level 1: 210 tHz Model - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: 270 tHz Model - Cost: 8,000
- Tech Level 3: 330 tHz Model - Cost: 14,000
- Tech Level 4: 390 tHz Model - Cost: 24,000
The Barracks allows for production of infantry units. Though weak against most other unit types, Soldiers are one of only two unit types in the game that can destroy buildings. By upgrading infantry units, the player gains access to faster, tougher, and more dangerous versions of the Soldier.
- Tech Level 1: Recruits - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Green Units - Cost: 4,000
- Tech Level 3: General Infantry - Cost: 8,000
- Tech Level 4: Veterans - Cost: 16,000
- Tech Level 5: Elite Guard - Cost: 23,000
The Tank Factory is responsible for creating the game's toughest ground units. Infantry are no match for Tank units, and even aerial units must respect a fully upgraded tank. By spending money on improvements, the player can boost the damage, maneuverability, and integrity of their Tanks.
- Tech Level 1: Wildcat - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Hyena - Cost: 7,000
- Tech Level 3: Cheetah - Cost: 11,000
- Tech Level 4: Leopard - Cost: 22,000
- Tech Level 5: Puma - Cost: 35,000
The AAV Facility is able to churn out Aerial Assault Vehicles, flying attack craft that can be troublesome for ground units to deal with. Upgrading AAVs can increase their mobility further, making them even harder to target, while also boosting overall damage and durability.
- Tech Level 1: Sparrow - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: Crow - Cost: 5,000
- Tech Level 3: Hawk - Cost: 10,000
- Tech Level 4: Condor - Cost: 18,000
- Tech Level 5: Eagle - Cost: 26,000
Construction of the Bomber Facility unlocks the means to produce Bombers. While very effective ate destroying enemy structures, Bombers are also slow and extremely vulnerable to enemy fire. Upgrading Bombers increases their damage potential, armor plating, and overall mobility.
- Tech Level 1: LR-12 - Cost: N/A (starting level)
- Tech Level 2: LR-18 - Cost: 7,000
- Tech Level 3: LR-23 - Cost: 18,000
- Tech Level 4: LR-40 - Cost: 17,000
- Tech Level 5: LR-51 - Cost: 25,000
The KSAT Building is a powerful offensive structure that can charge and unleash devastating beams of energy capable of destroying most structures in one blow. Once primed, it can discharge its attack unerringly on any target visible to the player, and upgrades only serve to make it even deadlier.
- Tech Level 1: PeaceKeeper - Cost: 18,000
- Tech Level 2: Warmonger - Cost: 36,000
- Tech Level 3: Punisher - Cost: 72,000
Booster FacilityEach of the four unit types in Uprising can be complimented with a Booster Facility. The player must first construct at least two production buildings for a particular unit as a prerequisite measure, after which a Booster Facility for that unit can be erected to further augment it.
Reaction to Uprising upon its release was generally favorable. GameSpot reviewer Michael E. Ryan gave the game a 7.1, calling the game's first-person RTS gameplay "surprisingly fresh and addictive." Ryan's main criticisms of the game revolved around difficulty, as he found the game's campaign to be unforgiving and its control scheme to be too complex. PC Gamer's Dan Bennett thought even more highly of the game, giving it an Editors' Choice award. In contrast to Ryan's review, Bennett did not find the game's controls to be overly complicated, instead stating that they were "only a little more involved than your average action game's." He also made no negative remarks regarding the game's difficulty. Bennett's positive comments were largely similar to Ryan's, as he praised the game for combining traditional RTS mechanics and fast-paced action in an engaging way.