Cepheus Protocol

Review

Captain Winter . . . Treasure Island is in lockdown and your unit as been called upon to eliminate the source of the virus and secure the island. The virus is being spread by a woman who is attacking and infecting everyone in her path. We nicknamed her, Patient Zero! It’s going to be tough as you have to secure and defend many blocks around the Island. Good luck Captain! Cepheus Protocol has been Activated!

Cepheus Protocol is a Real-time Strategy game developed and self-published by Halcyon Winds on the 15th of May 2020 on the Steam platform. This game is currently an early access title and might change considerably before the full release version.

What an excellent early access this game is! As you launch your first game, you’ll have the ability to select one of the two following difficulties: Recruit mode (easy) or Director’s Cut mode (normal). I’d definitely recommend starting with the Recruit mode for the first few games, so you get a good grasp of the game as well as the units. I also strongly recommend reading the 10-slide tutorial before you first start the game.



The Treasure Island map is divided into 18 zones, and your units of 4 soldiers, which include Captain Winter, will be dropped on a port on the south side of the island. There will be an ample flat space where you’ll be able to build your base of operation, including a command centre, a barrack and a telecommunications post at first. Bear in mind that all these buildings will cost money, but don’t worry too much as you’ll have a few bucks at hand at the start of the game. 

On the bottom left-hand side of your screen, you’ll have the Treasure Island map which will show you the other 17 zones to secure. The zones in red have been captured by Patient Zero, the white ones are still neutral and the blue ones are under your control. After building your base, you’ll be able to recruit new units. You can choose to allocate them between two teams, which are the Away and the Defence teams.

The Away team can only have 8 soldiers at any given time, including Captain Winter, and it is the team you need to use to explore and capture new zones. There are no limits in regards to the Defence team, but you won’t be able to deploy any of these soldiers into the infected zones to try to capture them; they can only be moved into your capture zones to defend them.

As you capture more zones, you’ll receive more money, which will drop automatically into your coffin every 20 seconds or so (maybe less). You’ll need money to purchase new units (Away or Defence teams), turrets, buildings and upgrades.   

As you send your Away team into an infected zone, they will find at least one pod (towers) where the infected will spawn continually and attack your team. Your goal in capturing a district is to eliminate these pods as well as all the infected within the area. If you are not sure where these pods are located, you can use your thermal vision to find them. It will be a massive fight every time you are fighting for a zone, and you might need some help to overcome the pods. This help will come from above, in the form of carpet-bombing strikes. Each time you’ll use an attack, it will cost you money and will take time to recharge before you can use it again.

All your units (Away and Defence teams) will frequently need to be re-supplied with ammunition, which you can order at any given time; it will cost you money and your unit must be in the proximity of the ammunition box in order to be re-supplied. You can also upgrade any of your unit weapons, but you must get these units back to your base, and they must be placed next to the barrack to purchase a new gun through the Market tab.  

You can also slow down the gameplay and order each of your units to shoot wherever necessary, which is very handy, especially when you have infected coming from every direction. As long as Captain Winter is alive, the game will go on. If she dies, well, it's game over.

They are a few different types of units in this game. The Scientist will take samples of the infected you kill, the Doctors can heal every soldier except themselves, the Heavy will have better firepower with a wider range of shooting, and the Assault can build turrets, barbed wires and sandbag defences in any zone. Don’t forget to build mortars in your bases as they can provide long range artillery which can be super helpful at times. It is a very cool game; I must say, there is a great deal of content for an early access title.

After 8 hours of gameplay, I managed to capture nearly half of the Zones on the Easy mode of play, and kept having my backside severely infected on the Normal mode. In other words, it’s a challenging game.

Great graphics and the soundtrack reflects the atmosphere splendidly. I came across a few bugs here and there; mostly units and infected becoming stuck around buildings and other structures—no big deal, to be honest.


Positives

+ Great graphics
+ Two types of difficulty (early access)
+ Several types of units and infected
+ Fun, challenging and really addictive
+ Achievements

Negatives

- A few bugs here and there
- No trading cards as yet

Review Summary

If you are a fan of RTS, you must activate the Cepheus Protocol in your game library; this can become a little gem!

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Zeepond Rating: 8/10

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