Jagged Alliance 2 for Linux

This game is something of a classic already, and there's a reason for its popularity despite its potential for complexity; it's really, really, really fun.
Linux Notes

Jagged Alliance 2 requires a fairly minimal hardware setup to run. Tribsoft recommends only a PII 233MHz with 32MB RAM, a 4X CD-ROM and 400MB of free hard disk space. Since nothing about JA2 requires 3-D acceleration, pretty much any card that will run at least XFree86 3.3.x at 640 × 480 or higher should work just fine. An OSS-compatible sound card is required, of course, and Tribsoft also suggests a version 2.2 Linux kernel (or greater) as well as glibc 2.1 or higher. The game played like a dream on both of the 700MHz and 500MHz systems I tested it on (GeForce/Debian woody and G400/VA-enhanced Red Hat, respectively). The installation footprint can vary from 305MB (the base installation) to over 800MB (if you want to put all the maps and speech files on your hard disk) and can be done with either a shell script or a nice-looking graphical installer.

Summary

This is really a great game. At first, I admit, I was skeptical about this title, owing mainly to its relative age in the gaming market, low-tech graphics and seemingly overly complex controls, but once I got to know JA2, I really began to understand just how cool this game is and why Tribsoft chose to port it. It's one of those games that you can play a hundred times and have a hundred different games and still want to try something different the next time. There's an attractiveness to this game that's hard to define; maybe it's the profound individuality of the mercs themselves, the personal touches from all the dialogues of the NPCs, the choose-your-own-adventure feel or the ever-so-smooth transitions between strategy, tactics, real time and turn-based action modes. Either way, JA2 is a game that you can play for hours on end and still want more. Highly recommended for anyone not afraid of a little complexity in their games.

The Good/The Bad

J. Neil Doane (caine@valinux.com) is an engineer with VA Linux Systems, and between prolonged spasms of geekness, hardware scavenging and video gaming, he is a pilot, guitarist and very poor snowboarder.

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Comments

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Is JA2 porting to Linux really necessary?

Mariusz Kaczmarczyk's picture

Well, thankfully some game developers do understand that there's a growing market for porting their titles to Linux. But Tribsoft/Sirtech could make a better job porting other game, because this one works 100% correctly with Wine. I passed the entire game under Wine some years ago on my then 400 MHz Celeron, 128 MB RAM (not much for today standards, huh?) I hope there'll be more titles from them for Linux users.

Nevertheless, JA2 is one of my favorite games ever, really a masterpiece, the only missing feature to me is a bit more "realistic" model of damages and wounds, and also a multiplayer option mentioned above.

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