Title A.G.E. (Advanced Galactic Empire) Game Type 3D Adventure Publisher Coktel Vision, 1991 Players 1 Compatibility All (With WHDLoad Patch) HD Installable Yes (With WHDLoad Patch) Submission Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer Review A.G.E. which stands for Advanced Galactic Empire is perhaps best described as a 3D Adventure game that sits somewhere between Novagen's Mercenary and the Assembly Line's Cybercon III. In other words, A.G.E. is a 3D game with strong adventure elements and some action. A.G.E. is the sequel to Galactic Empire which I haven't played, but in the later game, after quite a good 3D animated intro, things begin with you being dropped of by a space vessel, close to the city of Shade, capital of the planet Kaiser. Initally, in a manner reminiscent of Mercenary, your personal computer gives you snippets of advice, seen as text scrolling across the screen. You get about the place in a small vehicle, called a Formec, trying to sort out what is actually going on. Making your way from the Astroshuttle port, and picking up various devices along the way, you make contact with the governor of Shade. This is the first of a series of contacts with people who say they will help you (eventually to rescue your friend, Dale) providing you can find and return an item (or perform a task) for them. These encounters, where your mission unfolds, generally take place on an animated 2D screen where with a few mouse clicks you can collect the information you need and proceed on your merry way - sometimes being deposited by your host on another part of the planet in order to reach the game's next step. As I mentioned, there is some action in the game, and the first thing you find is a Laser pistol, which can later be upgraded a number of times. If you decide to engage somebody with your laser, you simply click on it, your movement is then arrested, and you must move a target about the screen with your mouse, firing at your enemy until it is dead. This may sound fine, but in practice it is rather unsatisfying and generally too easy, feeling like a poorly executed 8-bit game to me. The 3D is also rather limited. There are objects here and there on the landscape, but a lot of your exploring is limited to wandering along roads, crossing bridges and collecting objects in a rather bland environment that does little to engender the sensation of (for example) a bustling city in the way that Ubisoft's BAT or Level 9's The Worm in Paradise managed to do well. My main problem with the game, and ultimately the reason I stopped playing it, was the design, or more accurately the design of the gameplay. Its one of those adventures where you can only carry a limited number of items in your inventory, and when you make decisions about which you should keep, you are guessing. Further along in the game, should you find you guessed badly, sorry, there is no way back, that's it, you must restart. There are 9 save positions which certainly helps, but there is a surprising amount of legwork in the game, and fairly frequent savers like myself, may well run into trouble. This is largely down to taste, of course, but for me a successful adventure is one that does not make you feel as if you are being told by somebody to perform fairly mundane and repetitive tasks, and here A.G.E. doesn't quite pass the test. A.G.E. has some quite nice touches here and there, although definitely not of the sonic variety, as the in-game sound is pretty dreadful. The scope, or perhaps that should read "size", of the game is impressive, and personally I'm always rather intrigued by a the prospect of finding out the secrets of another 3D environment, which in A.G.E's case certainly has a feel that is quite distinctive. Had the combat been a little more dynamic and exciting, and had the adventure aspect been more compulsive and less of the errand boy variety, I think it might have achieved classic status. That may just be me though, so if this genre particuarly appeals to you, then by all means fill your boots.