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Jagged Alliance 2

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"Fight for freedom. Kill for cash."
—Tagline
Jagged Alliance 2
Jagged alliance 2 boxart
Box art of the game.
Developer(s) Sir-Tech
Publisher(s) Strategy First, Inc.
Release date 1999
Genre(s) Role-playing, strategy
Mode(s) Single-player
Ratings ESRB Teen
Platform(s) Windows
AmigaOS
Linux

Jagged Alliance 2 is a turn-based strategy/role-playing video game developed by Sir-Tech and released in 1999. It is the third game in the Jagged Alliance series. It is preceded by Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games and succeeded by the expansion pack Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business. The game also had a stand-alone expansion pack named Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire.

Storyline Edit

The game starts when Enrico Chivaldori hires the commander (player) to free Arulco from the dictator Deidranna Reitman, Enrico's former wife.

Enrico was a candidate for election since his father was the ruler. He won the elections because he had taken Deidranna as his wife to boost his popularity. However Deidranna murdered Enrico's father and framed him so she could become the next ruler. Enrico escaped, meanwhile Deidranna converted Arulco into an authoritarian state.

At the beginning the player must hire mercenaries (via A.I.M. in the beginning and other means later on) to free Arulco from the dictator. Mercenaries start in Omerta where they meet the rebel leader and former election candidate Miguel Cordona, in the rebel hideout. Miguel Cordona and his mercenary allies will help if the player agrees to remove Deidranna's forces from the towns in Arulco.

Gameplay Edit

The game puts the player in control of several mercenaries that must explore and reclaim towns and territories from enemy forces. The end goal is the death of the country's dictator-monarch, Queen Deidranna, who is located in the country's capital on the opposite end of the country from the player's starting point. As the game advances, the player can hire new mercenaries and acquire better weapons and armour to combat opponents. The game utilizes a map screen to show the map of Arulco and issue high-level orders to up to squads of mercenaries. There is also a tactical screen, where the player takes control of individual mercenaries during real-time interactions and turn-based combat. A player may have a maximum of up to 18 (3 full squads) of mercenaries under their command at once.

Map screenEdit

JA2 Map 3

Map Screen

The map screen displays the world map of Arulco in a square grid (called sectors) and the forces deployed by the enemy and the player. This is the strategic side of the game, as the player directs his forces, and controls the progress of time, which may be sped up or paused.

From here, the player can also access the game's laptop function, allowing the player to receive emails from characters in the game, buy weapons and equipment, and hire and fire mercenaries.

This screen is also used to assign mercenaries to non-combat-related. Mercs with a medical kit and medical skill can be set to tend to wounded mercs; this significantly quickens their recovery. Mercs with a tool box and mechanical skill can be set to repair damaged weapons, tools and armour. Mercs can "practice" a skill by themselves or work as a "trainer" or "student". Training a student increases his or her chosen skill. A trainer may also train local citizens to become militia to defend sectors while the mercs are away.

Mercs can be ordered to travel on foot between the sectors. If the player acquires a ground or aerial vehicle in-game, he may load his troops into it to travel between sectors much faster.

Many visual and interactive options can be tweaked in the Options menu.

Tactical screenEdit

JA2 Tactical Screen

Tactical Screen

The tactical screen shows a sector from an isometric viewpoint. Here the player can view the terrain, explore buildings and find items. Although the game does not feature a visual "fog of war", every character has a maximum sight range, and NPC characters can only be seen if a player-controlled or allied character sees them. The game time advances in real-time on the tactical screen unless a battle is initiated, and the game switches to a turn-based combat mode.

The player can control an individual merc or group of mercs, issuing move, communication and various interaction commands. Mercs can run, walk, swim, crouch, crawl and climb onto the roofs of flat-roofed buildings.

Like the map screen, many visual and interactive options can be adjusted or changed in the Options menu.

BattleEdit

Battles occur whenever player and hostile forces occupy the same sector. This can happen if enemy or player forces arrive in a sector controlled by an opposing force or the player's actions cause a previously friendly or neutral force to become hostile, and takes place on the tactical screen. If the exact number of enemy forces is known, then the option to "auto-resolve" a battle is available. This allows the computer to quickly dictate the outcome of a battle, including, injuries, deaths and improvements of skill in participating mercs, without the need to switch to the tactical screen. In some cases, an enemy force will ambush a player force - in this case, auto-resolving the encounter is not possible. Battles between militia and enemy forces with no mercenaries present commence in auto-resolve.

If a mercenary force is entering into an enemy-occupied sector, the player will have the opportunity to place their mercenaries' point of entry into the sector along the edge of the map in the direction the squad made their approach from. In the case of an ambush, the player will not be given this opportunity, and the merc squad will instead be placed in the center of the map - preventing quick traversal to another sector.

Once the switch to the tactical map is made, then the game proceeds in real-time until a member of one force spots an enemy, and the game automatically switches to turn-based play.

Each force takes alternating turns to move, attack, and perform various other actions. Each character has a limited amount of action points, which are spent to perform any and all actions. The action points are renewed at the beginning of each round, and a portion of any unspent action points will also be carried over to the next round. If a combatant has some action points left over during the enemy's turn and spots an enemy, they stand a chance of interrupting the enemy mid-turn and performing actions.

The efficiency and success of any particular action is dictated by a set of ten statistics, ranging from physical attributes such as health and agility to specialized skills such as medical and explosives proficiency. The game separately tracks a mercenary's state of injury, exhaustion, and morale, and these attributes will also effect how well a mercenary performs a given task, as well as how many action points may be spent by the merc per round.

The game may be played using stealth elements. A stealth mode is available for the mercs to move in, activated with a HUD button or the Z key. In stealth mode, the merc will attempt to move without making any noise. Moving stealthily costs more action points, but may successfully hide their position from enemies. The game also features weapons that do not cause loud noise and camouflage kits, which when used may disguise the merc in his environment. Merc attributes and some special skills affect how stealthy they are.

Combat actions are resolved by a chance to hit system, which is affected by individual mercenary conditions, environmental conditions and cover, and factors such as expending extra action points to aim. Projectiles are also rendered into physical objects in space, and can still cause damage to characters and the environment if they happen to strike something even if the attack itself misses.

Explosives and explosive (heavy) weapons are available, and can be used to destroy many environmental objects such as walls, doors and foliage, as well as the enemy.

See also: Weapons list of all the firearms in the game.

Economy Edit

Money is an important factor in the game, as it is needed to pay mercenary hire fees, purchase equipment and enact various other transactions in game. Players are given a set amount of money to start the game with and make initial hires. The main source of income in the game comes in the form of mines located in the majority of towns in game. The sectors containing the mines are always heavily defended, and the player will need to capture these sectors and secure the loyalty of the local miners working there for the player to receive a daily income.

Other forms of short-term income include rewards for completing tasks given to you by various townspeople and NPCs, and selling of weaponry, equipment and miscellaneous items may also be sold to local traders.

ReplayabilityEdit

Progress through the game is very open-ended and flexible. The only consistent points are the beginning, which takes place in the town of Omerta, the endgame, which takes place in the city of Meduna, and certain midgame occurrences that disregard location. The player is directed by rebels in the beginning to head first to Drassen, but the player may choose to capture the towns and explore the countryside in any order and manner he or she desires, restricted only by the passage of time and the expenditure of available funds. Additionally, almost every sector may be entered via at least two entry points, with most enterable from the four cardinal directions.

  • It is in fact possible to complete the game without capturing any towns whatsoever. It is difficult, and bypasses the majority of in-game content, but it is possible.

The player has a very large pool mercs from (ultimately) two different mercenary organizations to choose from. These mercenaries boast a wide array of skills and experience levels, with a broad spectrum of talents and specializations - e.g. stealth combat, night-time combat, close-quarter combat and so on, and each individual mercenary's personality and skillset can change the way the game is experienced. Many NPCs encountered during the game can also be recruited, bolstering your squad's numbers and increasing variety even further.

Other factors such as caches of items, and certain characters and in-game quests may vary wildly in location from instance to instance, and in some instances may not exist at all.

Other notable changes from previous gamesEdit

  • Mercenaries are not restricted to one individual group and can separate to accomplish multiple tasks at once.
  • Enemies no longer inhabit every single sector as they did in Jagged Alliance, and instead congregate in major population centers, crossroads and other points of strategic importance. Many sectors still hold architecture and items, however, and travelling squads of soldiers, packs of wild animals and important NPCs can still be encountered in otherwise "empty" sectors.
  • The amount of weapons and gear available have been significantly expanded, and weapons are now available for purchase, both from in-world stores and online.
  • With the inclusion of night vision goggles, and night conditions for movement and combat, in-game time does not ever stop for the player outside of the Pause function. Sleep and rest take place for individual mercenaries based on energy level, rather than time of day.
  • A Morale bar has been added next to the Breath and Health bars. This bar is affected by numerous factors, including battlefield performance, individual personality foibles, and the presence of friends, enemies, or leaders in the squad, and it itself will effect your mercenary's performance on the field.
  • Mercenaries overall are much less fickle and temperamental, and mercenary interactions such as thievery, toadyism, and murder no longer take place. Mercs placed with those they like or dislike will most often instead take a morale penalty. Less scrupulous mercenaries, such as RPCs, or M.E.R.C. hires, will still quit if forced to work with someone they don't like for prolonged periods. Threatening to quit due to a friend being fired also no longer happens.
  • Numerous tactical additions make gameplay much more in-depth. Mercenaries can now climb onto and fight from certain rooftops. Burst and auto-fire are available for many weapons. Mercenaries are also able to drop into and fire from a prone position, and multiple movement modes such as running and crawling are available as well.

Characters Edit

For a complete list of all the characters see: "Category:Characters"

Enrico Chivaldori Edit

At the beginning Enrico hires the commander (player) to liberate Arulco from the current queen and dictator, Deidranna. Enrico keeps correspondence with the player through e-mail messages to player as the game progresses.

Deidranna Reitman Edit

A cruel dictator and the primary antagonist of Jagged Alliance 2. She is the former wife of Enrico Chivaldori. Deidranna assumed rulership of Arulco after framing Enrico for the murder of his father and attempting to imprison him.

Mercenaries Edit

The characters of Jagged Alliance 2 are mostly mercenaries controlled by the player, but many non-player characters are also encountered across the nation. Some characters may also join the commander's forces, these characters are known as RPCs (recruitable player characters). Jagged Alliance 2 introduces many new mercenaries as well as featuring the return of many fan favorites from previous games, such as Ivan Dolvich and Fidel Dahan. Mercs can be hired from two organizations, one being A.I.M. and the other M.E.R.C..

Character creation Edit

The player is able to create a single custom mercenary which can participate directly in in-game events. See more at "Character creation".

Items Edit

Many familiar items and equipment return. Mainstays such as sun goggles, extended ears, improvised barrel extenders and the Ruger Redhawk Revolver are present, as well as many, many more weapons, attachments, explosives and other miscellaneous items. Molotov cocktails are noticably absent.

The game features a "Tons O' Guns" mode which increases the variety of weapons appearing even further.

Music Edit

Kevin Manthei composed the soundtrack for Jagged Alliance 2, who also composes music for television series and films.

Track listing Edit

01. Battle 02. Creature Battle 03. Creepy 04. Death 05. Marimba D 06. Menu Mix 07. Nothing A 08. Nothing B 09. Nothing C 10. Nothing D 11. Tensor A 12. Tensor B 13. Tensor C 14. Triumph

Versions Edit

After the release of the original Jagged Alliance 2, two sequels and various mods have been released.

A standalone sequel called Unfinished Business was released in 2001 and Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire was released in 2004. Jagged Alliance 2 Gold Pack (which includes both Jagged Alliance 2 and Unfinished Business) was released in 2002.

Modding Edit

Jagged Alliance 2 is the most popular game in the series thus far, and boasts a strong fan and modding community. Several popular mods have been released. One notable is the 1.13 modification that improves the original game in many significant ways. A big step forward was possible due to the release of the Jagged Alliance 2 source-code in March 2004.

Notable modsEdit

Jagged Alliance 2 1.13 Edit

This is an engine modification for Jagged Alliance, and the content otherwise remains the same. It was developed by fans from the Bear's Pit JA 2 Community, and was released on April 28, 2008. It is based on the official source-code and thus includes changes that are not possible otherwise. Because of the many improvements and additions, many Jagged Alliance 2 fans prefer this mod rather to the original, 1.12 "Vanilla" version of the game.

V1.13 adds many new features to the game, such as improved artificial intelligence, a more realistic chance-to-hit and damage system and multiplayer support. The mod also creates a more complex yet realistic management system, switching out the old inventory system with a new one relying on vests, backpacks and other tactical gear which must be equipped before being used. The game also significantly adds to the amount of weapons, armor, weapon attachments ammunition types available, including several hundred guns, ghillie suits, and molotov cocktails. Environmental factors such as weather and sector-based structural facilities significantly affect the tactical game as well. This mod is still receiving minor tweaks by the developers, addressing the multiplayer mode's faults, still working on the interfaces and add yet more items to the game.

Deidranna Lives! Edit

The first full mod of Jagged Alliance 2, Deidranna Lives! takes place several years after the events of the Jagged Alliance 2, and features a map overhaul (to reflect the time change), new weapons, and a new enemy.  Other features like a faction of enemy gunrunners are also notable.  An updated release that works with v1.13 exists as well.

Urban Chaos Edit

This mod is a content mod, along with a small handful of engine adjustments. The mod comes with a complete map replacement, with new art, items, enemies, and several different factions of civilians and enemies, along with a new (though modestly similar) storyline.

Emphasizing close-quarters urban combat over Jagged Alliance 2's rural and outdoors environments, the countryside of Danubia, which serves as the game's backdrop, is dominated by streets, sidewalks, structures, and building complexes. A system of subways connect all the main cities, and new characters, mercenaries and NPCs, complete with voice acting, abound.

A mod for Urban Chaos exists that makes it compatible with the latest build of v1.13.

Urban Chaos was created by a team of over a dozen modders collectively known as the MOD Squad.

Arulco Revisited Edit

A complete map enhancement and replacement of Jagged Alliance 2, Arulco Revisited updates every map tile of Arulco, along with modifying and expanding existing cities to make them larger and more complex, as well as adding new towns and SAM Sites to the countryside.  

Other features include a third potentially hostile faction of smugglers, with hidden bases all around the country, army-staffed checkpoints at important road junctions, and many features that encourage a more "live off the land" style of gameplay.

Arulco Revisited was created and being updated by JAsmine and Beka, of the Bear's Pit forum.

Other ModsEdit

Numerous other mods exist for Jagged Alliance 2, a comprehensive gallery of available ones can be found here.

Remake Edit

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action was released on February 9th, 2012 by bitComposer Games.

External links Edit

  1. Official website
  2. Bear's Pit JA2 Community (English)
  3. JA2 Basis (German)

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