Carrier Command (Rainbird)

Carrier Command (Rainbird)


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.


1 thought on “Carrier Command (Rainbird)

  1. Grunaki

    This was one of those games that ate your time and you never even noticed.. Stick it on for a bit of a blast at 8pm.. Next thing you know it’s 4am and you have school tomorrow.

    I loved the dynamics of the game.. Flipping from dogfighting with Mantas to shooting things with the laser tower, to resetting the alignments of islands with the virus bomb or command centre builder pod.

    Finding the cheat mode was bitter-sweet.. Once you had invulnerability, it was too much of a temptation to use it when you were in trouble – but spamming the numeric 7 button to speed up your passage between the islands was a real sanity-saver.

    The major problem I had with it was the ending – wreck the enemy carrier and capture all the islands and all you get is your time taken and “The End – Congratulations on completing Carrier Command” and the spinning graphic of the carrier from the title screen.. Thought they could have rewarded all that effort with something a little more spectacular.

    I was also less than impressed with the Xbox 360 / PS3 reboot.. I followed the development for a while, but it kept getting delayed a year – then another year. Finally I gave up on it, but found it at random in a bargain bin soon after it actually released. I played through the pre-story and almost got to launching the carrier, but it was pretty tedious, so I gave up on it.

    Shame, seeing as the original was such a classic.


What do you think?