UFO: Enemy Unknown is a first game of X-COM series. This game is epic and I played it countless times. It's my favorite game because I played it a lot as a kid and also because it was pretty easy and you can make a serious alien kick-out. When I was looking at our game site about UFO, I saw some comments about this game being very hard. This is what I cannot allow because of my favorite game so I thought, I will tell something about my experiences and reveal some good tactics.
At first, this guide is for players who played this game already and is not considered as walkthrough but most likely a set of hints. I start with why is this guide called a Rapid Guide. This game can be won in a single day without a single save game at the highest difficulty (I've done it before) and you will enjoy the playing so much that you will change your lunch time to a dinner time :-). I will tell you a set of hints and guides and as I said before, they also require some game experience to make it work right. Even if you want to play without a saved game I recommend to save often and be honest and don't load. The game crashes some time.
Stage one: So it's time to start your new game. Choose the highest difficulty because you require it to advance more quickly. I never recognized some change in alien strategy. The higher difficulty only means, you get more aliens more often and thats good because you will need a lot of alien technology. When the game starts, unequip all you have and sell it except Avalanche missiles for Interceptors and you can keep few rocket launchers even if only explosive rockets are useful. Now you have a good starting cash, buy few Avalanche missiles for Interceptors, Auto-Cannons with explosive and armor piercing ammunition and one rocket tank. Start building your base, you will need two more laboratories to get a required start boost, then some storage, living quarters and if you accidentally have some money left, buy a large radar array. Start researching a laser technology up to a laser rifle. Your first strategy is to blast a few aliens to keep a good fundings and to finish building your base. Don't risk too much, shoot some to the oceans (good score anyway). When you send an Interceptor, send a squad too. You may be a lucky and UFO sits down on his own, then you can attack fast. On missions keep your distance. Arm you Auto-Cannons with an explosive ammunition and use auto-fire to blast them out. Use only tank to explore area and when you see one, blast him with your Auto-Cannons from distance. When you encounter a terror mission, take one or two more tanks and blast everything suspicious you see. When you blast some civilians, don't worry, you cannot do a clean score this early and you need to lower a minus points from a terror and get some alien weaponry.
Stage two: You have already researched a laser rifle and finished building your first base. When you have enough money, start to build more bases. Don't be too ambitious, build a lot of small bases with only one or two hangars, radar and storage rooms. Launch Interceptors from those bases and try to destroy as many alien aircrafts as possible (mostly crash them to the oceans). Take only missions you need and feel, they are easy for you and as closest to your main base as possible. Those additional bases can cover more airspace and give you more credits from shooting down UFOs. Make light infantry (don't try to train some soldiers, they will probably die soon without any armor.) that means only one man with one laser rifle. Laser rifles are cheap, don't need any ammunition and spares your money and Elerium that you will need later. Focus your research on stunning bombs and plasma weapons up to Interceptor mounted plasma cannons.
Stage three: Equip stunning launchers and bombs and get as many live aliens as possible. You need especially Sectoids and Ethereals but don't try to win a fight with Ethereals just now, just grab one alive and go. You can clear all mission with stunning launchers against Sectoids or Floaters, blast their tanks and hardly accessible aliens with your tanks. Focus all research on live aliens with psionic skills, you can use some higher ranking officers if you have some. Your goal is to get a psionic lab as soon as possible. When you have it, build a one or two and hire as many soldiers as possible. After you discover their potential, release everyone with psi-power below 90 or use them as light infantry. Those soldiers will be your strike team, equip them with power suits or flying suits and heavy plasma guns (should have enough clips now without the need of manufacture.)
Stage four: It's time to train your strike team, assign them to psionic training and equip them with Psi-Amps. Add at least two tanks to your strike team. Your missions should be like: Tank exploration, gain control over all aliens you see and make them throw their weapon and come to your location. Then just slay them when they are back in control. Your soldiers will advance very fast in their stats. Try to get some high raking officers and leaders for further research. Be careful about those damn big launchers, they can kill all your team if you stay at one place, you can also change levels with your flying suits. Bombs are effective only in one level. You should have researched almost everything this time with 3 laboratories at full capacity.
Stage five: Fun begins :-) Build Mind Shield and Hyper Wave Decoder in every base so they cannot attack you and you get all information you want. Your strike team are now really bad guys and you can win every mission, just always spare some time for your Psi-Amp and beware of large guided launchers, nothing else can stop you. Now you can do whatever you want and eventually go to the final mission. Last base is as easy as every other base you encountered.
And this is what makes fun about this game. And if you get bored with your supremacy, switch to X-COM: Terror From The Deep. No hints this time, use everything you learned from your previous play and don't expect you don't get kicked, second X-COM game is really much harder. Good gaming.