Many countries have attempted to deal independently with the aliens. In August 1998, Japan established an anti-alien combat force; the Kiryu-Kai. Equipped with Japanese-made fighter aircraft, the Kiryu-Kai certainly looked like a powerful force. However, after 5 months of expensive operations they had yet to intercept their first UFO. The lesson was clear: this was a worldwide problem which could not be dealt with by individual countries.
On December 11, 1998, representatives from the world’s most economically powerful countries gathered secretly in Geneva. After much debate, the decision was made to establish a covert independent body to combat, investigate and defeat the alien threat. This organization would be equipped with the world’s finest pilots, soldiers, scientists and engineers, working together as one multi-national force.
This organization was named X-COM: the Extraterrestrial Combat Unit.
Though the premise of the game was simple, critics agreed its execution was exceptional and the game subsequently became widely popular among strategy and wargame fans, for reasons such as the excellent squad-based tactical interface, the combination of tactical and strategic elements and the ability to use and create new types of weapons and equipment as the game progresses.
Another reason for the game’s success is the strong sense of atmosphere it evokes. Soldiers are vulnerable to alien attacks even with armor, and the use of features such as night-time combat, line of sight and opportunity fire allows for alien sniper attacks and ambushes. The enemy comes in numerous shapes and forms, and players run into new, deadly aliens repeatedly without any knowledge of their characteristics and capabilities beforehand.
The AGA Amiga, and PlayStation versions feature higher quality music, and the latter is compatible with the PlayStation mouse. It requires a whole memory card for the Battlescape save games. The Amiga CD32 and Amiga 1200 versions used Commodore’s Advanced Graphics Architecture chip.