Written by  :  Maury Markowitz (248)
Written on  :  Aug 13, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars2.6 Stars
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Great idea? Or just weird?

The Good

Imperium Galactica is one of those games that I can't make up my mind about - it might be a great idea lurking in a lousy game, or it might just be lousy.

The game starts off well enough, you need to patch up your small collection of colonies while at the same time completing some basic anti-piracy missions. Once you've completed the last (and they're simple) you're given control of more worlds and essentially move onto the "next phase".

Again the game revolves around taking care of the colonies, building them up, and getting ready for the fights that are about to start. And again there are missions to complete, this time fighting the spread of a plague, which turns out to be dropped on your planets by nearby aliens. When you get the device (from HQ) that lets you see them, you again move on.

Eventually the map increases to show the entire "galaxy" and you need to take on the worst of the worst of the aliens in a battle for supremicy. At some point during this time the missions just kind of stop, which I found rather silly.

The key to the game is to FULLY EXPLORE AND RESEARCH everything possible before triggering the event that leads onto the next stage. If you don't the enemy will overwhelm you. For instance, one stage ends when you kill off the local aliens that I noted earlier, it's important to leave them on a single planet while you take over everything else and research away first - THEN go in and take it out. (note that research is also capped by current level). That's about it, beyond that it's largely a slugfest.

Graphics and sound are good to excellent. I particularily liked the architechture. When taking over an alien held planet you don't kick everyone off, but instead have to build up the planet with their people. This leaves you in control of their buildings and tech, and as a result you end up with all sorts of very cool alien buildings. One word of warning here, you only get to build on these planets what you captured, if you take over a planet with low tech, no amount of research will improve it in the future - so it's in your interests to allow aliens to improve for a bit before taking them over, or reducing them to rubble.

The Bad

Ok first off the missions are completely hardwired, they're the same every single time. Moreover they're pretty poorly constructed, for instance the missions are announced on a little TV screen that's almost laughable - it's like watching an old kung fu movie where the voices don't match up with the mouths - or in this case the expectation of what the people should sound like.

Even worse is the way the missions just end. You're playing missions, then you're not. It's clearly a case of the game being rushed out, and I found it rather distracting.

Another problem is that in order to make the game challenging at the end, the finaly alian race cheats (I think). Basically they come at you with these massive fleets, and there's simply no way they could have built the ships in time. For instance they'll come to one of your planets and if they get beat back (which you can only do with a _fully_ upgraded planet), they'll be back with another 150 ships shortly - and the fleet will be _exactly_ the same.

And this reveals the last major flaw, combat is completely scripted. Every time I would be attacked by one of these super-fleets the combat (5 minutes or so!) would happen in EXACTLY the same way - fighters would come in, then some of the smaller ships, then a mass attack. It would also end the same way every time, at some point the remaining small ships and fighters would turn around and take off - or if the planet wasn't upgraded, I'd lose it.

Ground combat didn't appear to be as scripted, but I found myself shouting at the screen as my fortresses (which need to be reduced in order to capture a planet) would divide their fire among several targets instead of concentrating it. Meanwhile their forts seemed to have no such problems. While somewhat interesting a few times, this too was nothing more than a slugfest and didn't seem to add much to the game.

The Bottom Line

A combo of a storyline and MOO sounds like a good idea, and might have been one, but they just didn't pull it off.