Title Exodus 3010 Game Type Action Strategy Publisher DMI/Demonware Players 1 Compatibility OCS, ECS and AGA (no enhancements for better chipsets.) Disks 2 HD Installable No Submission Nathan Wain Profiled Reviewer Review BRIEF DESCRIPTION A game with two main parts to it: The strategy elements in the mothership, where you get to interact with any intelligent life in a multiple choice fashion, use the ships resources, fighter-craft, and (frozen) crew-members as necessary, and the more arcade oriented side, where your crew have to venture out in the fighter-craft to recover potentially useful materials, or just plain fight. SPECIAL HARDWARE/SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS A mouse is necessary. A joystick may be used for space-flight. Extra floppy-drive's are not detected or used! (This really bugs me.) COPY PROTECTION None. MACHINES USED FOR TESTING A500, 0.5Meg Chip, 0.5Meg Fast, Kickstart 1.2, external Floppy drive, Thompson RGB monitor. A1200, 2Meg Chip, 32Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.0, 340 Meg Seagate 2.5" HDD, GVP Cobra accellerator-board (68030 and 68882 at 50MHz, without SCSI), additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 MultiSync monitor. A4000, 2Meg Chip, 16Meg Fast, Kickstart 3.1, 1.2 Gig Quantum HDD, Toshiba 16x CD-Rom, additional floppy-drive, Supra 14.4k Modem, 1942 Multisync monitor. (Standard 25MHz 68030 CPU) Exodus performed identically on all three machines, I think. I have this nagging suspicion that the A500 required additional disk-swaps when going from the mother-ship to space-flight, but I can't remember. And the A500 is too far away for me to find out just yet. (If I find out, I'll update this review accordingly.) DOCUMENTATION Exodus comes with one booklet, (and a pretty poster.) :) The booklet, while explaining the basics of what you have to do, does very little to tell you about the specifics of how to operate anything in the game's environment. How to actually control the fighter craft is not mentioned at all. Not even the keys required! Trying keys at random can become frustrating when you discover that one of them operates the self-destruct. (A simple one-key, without a "do-you-really-want-to-self-destruct?", self destruct no less.) :( OPINION There's a little text-with-graphic-interludes kind of intro when the game first boots: Documenting the impending destruction of the Earth. The preparation and launch of this ark-like ship. (Completely failing to make any mention of *why* the earth is destroyed.) The ship's automated journey to the new planet. And the alien contact that triggers the required human intervention, and the beginning of the game. This intro is where you are given the first hint of some rather bad English translations littered throughout the game. They are never so bad as to obscure the intended meaning. I guess some people will feel it detracts from the atmosphere of the game. To me they're just amusing. Also, the first alien-encounter is a rather (intentionally) amusingly- stupid creature, so I found the bad translations seemed to fit, in a strange kind of way. :) The game looks and sounds quite good. None of that ECS lack-of-colours look you sometimes find. The music is written by Digital-Illusions, so enhances the game beautifully, as all their stuff does. But what to actually do with the myriad of control-panels at your disposal is, initially, a bit of a challenge to work out. The sparseness of the instructions do little to help this. Fortunately this part of the game is event based, rather than time based. That is, the next challenge in the game does not appear until you have solved the current one. And the current one is kind enough to hang around until you work out what to do with it. The control panels are logically laid out, and when you try something stupid, the computer usually gives a helpful response - advising you what you should've done first. For those with a little perseverence, the things that can be done here are more an exercise in discovery than frustration. (To my Amiga owning friend, who sold this game to me, it was the latter.) :) The creatures and objects you encounter, however, could easily be a source of frustration if you can't work out what to do about them. This is because the story develops in a strictly linear fashion. And if you can't work out what to do about one of them, well, you're not going to get anywhere. ...Which is exactly what happened to me. Space-flight, being so completely undocumented, is a bit of a frustrating thing to learn. The first encounter requiring you to venture from the safety of the mother-ship to try to stumble accross the correct method for recovering some mineral-rich asteroids. Fortunately asteroids tend not to attack in an unprovoked manner, leaving you to hunt through the controls. (With a pause mid way when the auto-destruct key is 'found', requiring a quick journey to the game over sequence amid a couple of disk-swaps.) The game is intelligent enough to realise when the player is in a hopeless situation - defined as "not able to produce the blue giant fighter." At this point it decides to destroy the mother-ship (and the frozen remnants of the human race) in the kind of unerring logic that only a computer can come up with. (I only hope it doesn't feel so strongly about running out of lemon-soaked paper napkins or suchlike.) :) Well, the player is saved from the tedium of those "I can't do anything now" situations. After being hopelessly out gunned by a few trigger happy aliens, (who I'm sure I could despatch with extreme prejudice if someone hadn't left the flight-manual back on Earth); I begin to stop caring that the human race is going to be a victim of the mother-ship and it's over-zealous self-destruct. Well, occasionally I come back to it to see if I can do something about it, but the lack of progress and a keyboard reference just makes me not care again. CONCLUSIONS Nice music, shame about the game. Well, no, I'd like to know if there really is an interesting game hiding amongst the flashy control panels I haven't got to try yet. (There's the potential for over ten fighter- craft active at one time, but I've only aquired resources to produce three of the lowest-class fighter thus far.) The unforgiving and undocumented combat will probably stop me from discovering any more to this game though. The way the game refuses to utilise the second floppy drive is another serious irritation. Two disk-swaps are required between any two games, and I have little toleration for floppy-disk games at all, let alone badly implemented ones. (Hard-drive use does that to ya.) But the really frustrating thing is that this is a strikingly-original game. With a few tweaks, some better translation (a quick gloss-over from someone with competent English would suffice), some documentation - and a keyboard-reference for god's sake! - this game could have been really something. For now, it is an interesting one for those with some perseverence. But an abrupt halt in progress in the game can make its lastability quite low. A shame. I'd like to see this game implemented well, as it is, you can't really tell if there's a great game in there or not because of the lack of decent documentation.