Set in the mid-22nd Century, Carrier Command is a 3D arcade strategy game, with the player controlling a futuristic aircraft carrier.
New volcanic islands are popping up in the 'Southern Ocean' due to huge movements of tectonic plates on the earth's crust. This new archipelago has become the battleground between two opposing super-carriers - the ACC Epsilon and the ACC Omega.
The game offers the player two choices from the start. They can opt for the full strategic experience, with both carriers starting off at opposite ends of the map. Alternatively, the Action game throws the two carriers close together in the middle of the map with an equal distribution of islands to control. The action literally starts there and then, with the enemy launching an immediate attack on the Epsilon carrier.
'Carrier' has lots of 3D action, but it also has a fair amount of resource management. Whilst that particular gameplay element is very common these days, it was still a fairly new and intriguing idea back in the late 80s. Islands can be Neutral, Friendly or Enemy. They are also one of three types: Defence, Factory or Resource. Any of these can be designated as your 'Base' or 'Stockpile' island (for fuel, weaponry and other equipment built on other islands) once under your control.
The player has to take control of islands and build a network infrastructure, shipping more fuel, weapons, craft etc. across the islands to their carrier's current location. Friendly islands are easy enough to occupy and take over. Enemy islands obviously offer resistance. You can either destroy every enemy craft and buildings and then set up your own buildings accordingly, or you can launch a computer virus on the main building (the command centre) which reconfigures it from Enemy to Friendly. The game ends if either side occupies every island, or if either carrier is destroyed.
Apart from controlling the Epsilon, the player can also program or manually control Manta aircraft or Walrus AAVs (Amphibious Assault Vehicles) launched from the carrier. They also have to keep an eye on the carrier's damage status and give certain tasks priorities over others when repairing.
The player can also deploy defensive drones to protect the carrier, launch flares, fire surface to air missiles, and much more besides.