A small desire for greatness? You find that Palpatine is an amateur? This game is made for you 😀
Title : Master of Orion 2 : Battle at Antares.
Genre : Strategy (4X).
Date : 1996.
Developpers : Simtex, Microprose.
Master of Orion 2 is a game of strategy in turn by turn of 4X type (for ” eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate”, a whole program 😉 ). Among the games of economic and technological development, he proposes a wealth and a very particular style, science fiction directed.
Master of Orion 2 places the player at the head of an empire which he is going to lead to the conquest of stars. The party begins after a great war between two advanced races: Orions and Antariens. The first ones having exiled the second in a parallel dimension, they are in their turn going to disappear and to make way so for the emergent races.
The party begins with the choice of the race. There we already find numerous pre-created races each resuming a different stereotype (warrior, scientist, spy, diplomat, etc.). We can again personalize her own race by means of a multitude of choices… From the racial feature to the political system.
After that, it remains to configure the party… Difficulty, size of the galaxy, the random events, the quantity of resources, number of empires…
The main screen represents the galaxy map. We can see the various stars, the fastest roads there between these, the black holes, the fleets in travel, etc.
And when we look in detail at a star, we can see the various planets, the gaseous giants and the belts of asteroids. For planets, there’s a big diversity: size, wealth, gravity, climate, etc.
To extend the empire, it is necessary to establish new colonies. It’s a delicate stage because a new colony is not autonomous. The food must be often forwarded since the rest of the empire (cargo boats), its maintenance depends on the climate (the more the climate is hostile, the more the maintenance cost is raised). Finally, certain political systems need in specific buildings…
Once developed, a colony can continue to build and to participate in the global effort (research, economy, polution cleanup, etc.), to produce vessels or spies, or simply to produce wealth.
The way towards stars is made as much by the economy as the research. Good technological choices are necessary to develop his empire because we cannot look for everything. At every technological level it is necessary to choose the only one in a given domain. The unknown technologies can be later acquired by other means…
From time to time, the news announces random events arising in one of the empires (treasure, resource, accident).
During his exploration, the player (or an other one) will discover Orion, the former capital of the eponym empire, and will face his guard. If he gains a victory, besides discovering a very rich planet, he will put the hand on advanced technologies.
The ship design to build different type of vessels of various sizes and various utilities. There is for all the tastes and the more we have of technologies, the more we have the choice… Of the small vessel of exploration to the Death Star 😀
Once produced, vessels are grouped in fleets. We can then move them from system to system, where the need is smelt.
The diplomatic relations are opened from the moment two races got closer enough geographically. The exchanges are then possible (provided that they are not restrained by a racial feature). Treated, pacts of non-aggression, technological exchanges, alliances, etc. There are many possibilities.
The spies are a counterpart of the diplomacy… Left in defense, they serve to counter the enemy spies. Moved in a nearby empire, it can sabotage installations or steal technologies…
Sometimes (often), it will be necessary to come to weapons there. Against a spatial monster or a nearby empire, to invade or self defense. We enter a local view where every vessel is used in turn by turn movements, shootings, missiles launching, torpedoes or shuttles, collisions…
When the invader win the battle in orbit around a colonized world, a ground combat took place (after a potential bombardment).
In this occasion, he can arrive that the soldiers capture a technology. Defy soldiers 😉
In the course of the game, it will be possible to recruit or to discover heroes, characters with special capacities, being able to be placed to the commands of a colony or a spaceship. It brings a small not insignificant advantage… Besides a small particular touch.
Antariens is always in aguêts… Regularly, they come to attack a colony at random… To stop them is often very complicated, even impossible in view of their technological advance… And until an advanced level of the game.
Nice graphs allow the player to compare his progress compared with the other empires, it is always good to know where we are there 😉
There are several manners to win a party: domination by elimination of the competitors, the eradication of the Antarienne threat or further to a vote of the council (diplomatic victory thus). Everything depends on the style of the player!
Another very detailed, very fascinating game, of a big depth and endowed with an enormous re-playability… The whole for a correct graphic quality in the time 😉 Of what to spend hours there only or several during multiplayers prties on the same computer (hot seat).
A game in the interplanetary scale which in spite of a certain complexity (mastered enough) can of “personal” aspects which put you in the skin of an emperor and not on the place of an abstract entity (heroes, ambassadors, interlocutors for various aspects of the management) 😀
The 90s were rich in cult games!
See you soon for new adventures!
As a small desire of trip in space?
Title : Privateer 2 : The Darkening.
Genre : Space simulation.
Date : 1996.
Developpers : Origin Systems.
Origin Systems was at the origin of big games as Ultima and Wing Commander. Privateer is “Space Opera” in the lineage of Wing Commander, but who, besides proposing some spatial fight, offer many other possibilities, of which trade.
Further to a crash, the main character, amnesic, ends up alone… He just has enough money to charter a vessel and dash by chance… From there ensues a scenario which is going to be of use as main thread to the whole game. Although shelf space, the story is rarely binding, what lets the free player make about what he wants.
Bars are places of meeting which we often find in role-playing games (everything begins and ends in the inn as would say some people). It is often a key point for the exploration of a planet, the meeting with certain protagonists or for special missions 😉
The main mechanism of progress of the game passes through vessel. This one is endowed with characteristics (speed, handiness, armor plating, shields, location of equipments, missiles and weapons). The more there is, the more it is expensive. Thus the money is once again the sinews of war. Certain models propose compromises… It belongs to the pilot to choose according to his budget 🙂
The vessel is a tool of precious work. It is necessary to pamper it, to improve it… No, it’s not a question of putting to it alliage tires, sound system or neon under wings 😉 It is necessary to make it the most effective possible 😀 It passes by diverse equipments: afterburner, repair robots (R2D2???), decoys, electronic war tools, artillery, missiles, etc.
Once the formalities on the ground were settled, direction spaces! Sink, cold… But in complete 3D what is not bad for time! The view of the cockpit is very simplified, synthetic material, a small window appears to show the interlocutor during the conversations. We can move of planet in planet thanks to mini jumps following beacons which establish roads. What we make in the space depends on what we planned before the take-off: we took a mission, we bought goods which we want to resell somewhere else to benefit from it or then we want just to go somewhere.
On the other hand the space is not empty. Well, when we leave for mission which stipulates that we are going to cross of the world, all right, it is normal to cross of the world… The rest of the time, we always cross somebody… And often pirates! Well, there are bonuses, but at the end of some time of game, we say to ourselves that we settled their account all the same to a good many of them and that there is always so much 😉 Has part it, the combat system is very clear, does well: taken into account by the drift, the detection of collision of missiles, counter measure… It is possible to travel with winger to which we can give simple orders, even cargo boat, which being useful to transport goods from planet to planet (also has a not insignificant fire power) 😀
Past the landing sequence, we can move on planets on various key points positioned on the mini map. It is often to advance the main story. The peculiarity of this game, it is the presence of real actors. Scenes on the ground are a mixture of movies and computer generated images (big speciality of Wing Commander). The dialogues make unwind various sequences. And then they are not discount actors… Split Owen, Christopher Walken, John Hurt, David Warner, Mathilda May, Jürgen Prochnow, David McCallum…
An important point of the game is the trade. The price of the goods is not the same from a planet to the other one. That is why he can be interesting to load a carrier (cargo ship) to trade. It is even possible to make some illegal trade… More lucrative, you risk all the same to put yourselves the police in back…
Although the course of the goods is fixed (it fluctuates according to the supply and demand), certain random events can disrupt(perturb) him(it) in a sporadic way. It is then possible to seize certain opportunities. It is necessary to read news to every stage on the ground 😉
Finally, the game includes an encyclopedia which complements itself according to the progress. Protagonists, stories of planets, vessels, equipments, factions… There is of what to read 😉
Although it is not the best game of space fight which is, or if games as Epic makes more in the field of the exploration and some trade, Privateer 2 is an excellent synthesis of fights, trade, story, graphic quality… An enormous freedom but which remains accessible in term of complexity!
It is simple, nowadays the games of this kind evolved in two opposite directions: either an interventionist scenario and almost no more freedom, or a binding scenario but a system which becomes too complex to be entertaining.
See you soon for new adventures!