Star Control


Title           Star Control
Game Type       Action Strategy
Players         1 or 2
Computers       A500/1000/2000/2500/3000 & others
Publisher       Accolade
HD installable  Yes
Protection      Manual ( Align the wheel type )
Submission      Glen Thomson

Review
   Star Control is a fantastic arcade strategy game which was released in
1990. The majority of the gameplay involves an arcade battle between 2
ships.  The 2D environment always has both ships in view.  The field of
view zooms in or out depending on the distance that the ships are from
each other. In each combat sequence, a small planet is also in the area.
This planet is only slightly bigger than some of the larger ships in the
game yet it exerts an extremely powerful gravitational force.  Ships take
damage when they collide with the planet.  When the ships are relatively
close to each other, the field of view zooms in closely.  This has the
effect of making the whereabouts of the planet uncertain, therefore,
bouncing into the planet can be a regular occurrence.  There are also some
asteroids that fly around and bump into your ship.  Asteroids can be
easily destroyed.

   There are 14 different ships in the game, 7 ships available to each
team. The Ur-Quan Hierarchy and the Alliance of Free Stars are the 2
opposing forces.  Most of the fun is learning which ship to use against
the enemy. Each ship has several stats which determine its behavior, but
there is one special skill unique to each ship. These special skill
include cloaking devices, regeneration, point defence lasers, force
shields, self destruct, etc.  The primary weapons of each ship are also
different. The exact stats of each ship can be accessed in the practice
game by moving the cursor over the ship and pressing the spacebar.  This
brings up a nice picture of the ship and a little presentation of the
stats.

   A simple user interface is handy to select between 3 game modes. The
game modes include: Practice, melee, and full game.  The computer can be
set to 3 different modes and 3 levels of skill.  Cyborg mode allows a human
player to control the strategy while the computer controls the combat. The
psytron mode allows the human to control the combat while the computer
controls the strategy. The computer can also be set to do it all. The
computer levels of skill include: Normal, good and awesome.  In normal
mode, the computer does not use any of the ships special abilities and is
therefore very easy to play.

   One of the most annoying features of the game is the fact that you must
set control options every time you want to play. The default settings
assume 2 human opponents which use the keyboard. The keyboard controls,
however,  can be set prior to launching the game as the game comes with a
utility to alter the keyboard settings.

   In the practice game mode, you can practice any combat situation that
you want. Its best to set the computer to cyborg mode, because then you
can select which opposing ship to practice against.

   In melee game mode, its a big battle between the 2 forces. You choose
which side you want to play and then have a showdown involving all the
ships. The ship that you select remains in the playing field until it is
destroyed. If you win the round, you keep all the damage incurred and
another enemy ship will enter the battle. If your ship is destroyed, you
must select another ship to battle the previous winning ship. The winning
force is the one who has destroyed all 7 of the enemy ships.

   In the full game mode, you have a choice of playing 9 different
scenarios or creating your own with another external utility which was
included with the game. Regardless of the scenario blurb, the object is to
eliminate the opposition. In this game mode, ships can be bought. The
best ships are more expensive, and only your starbase can build them. The
galaxy is a 3D rotating environment. Ships can travel from planet to
planet. Moving your ships in this environment can be a little visually
difficult to get used to. The strategy part of the game is turn based.
Each team gets 3 actions per turn. You can assign 3 actions to 1 ship or
separate the 3 actions among your ships. Money is earned each turn
depending on the amount of mines that you have.

   As mentioned before, some planets can be mined. This requires a
specific mining action by one of your ships located at that planet.
Mining planets help increase the amount of money that you earn for your
starbase each turn. You will want to have several of these planets in the
game.

   Some other planets can be colonized. This also requires a specific
action by one of your ships at a colonizable planet. Planets that have
been colonized can be used to recover lost crew. In this game, recruiting
people from colonized planets is like repairing your ship since the crew
statistic is the one that determines how damaged your ship is.

   Combat ensues when 2 opposing forces occupy the same planet at the end
of the turn. All the forces at the planet fight until the enemy force has
been destroyed. If an opposing ship moves on to an enemy planet with a mine
or colony on it that is not defended, then this enemy mine or colony will
be destroyed automatically.

   Each team can fortify a planet. By fortifying a planet, you can have a
force nearby which can come to the aid of a friendly mine or colony.
Mines and colonies that are fortified will not be automatically destroyed
until the fortification has been destroyed. This requires an additional
action in the turn.

   An interesting part of the game occurs when each side is exploring the
galaxy. Power-ups can be found that will increase some of the stats of
your ship.

   I've always been able to get this program to run, however, the colors
sometimes get mixed up on my 060 amiga. This just occurs in the ship
presentation screen and therefor has no ramifications to the gameplay.
Enjoy playing this game.



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