Written by  :  Ciarán Lynch (88)
Written on  :  Aug 12, 2005
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Crafted, polished and sublime.

The Good

After the magnificent failure of Master of Orion III I re-installed this game to see was the Master of Orion franchise really all that I remembered it to be.

It's nearly a decade since this game was first released and after all that time I still can be out-witted, out-classed and out-played by Master of Orion II.

Every few games I find myself immersed in a galactic struggle as I rush ship production in order to get my fleet ready for the inevitable war, or I'm putting the squeeze on scientists to get that vital bit of research done so I can construct a ship capable of exploiting the enemy's weakness.

Master of Orion II is immense. Playing it you'll be dealing with everything from basic colonial management and supply, to research and development, ship design, fleet logistics, tactical combat, diplomacy, espionage and racial assimilation.

While this aspect of the game frightens many potential players, personally I think it's the games greatest strength. One can take up to ten minutes planning, massing resources and micro-managing everything before hitting that turn button. Fast paced this game is not.

Tense, deep and immersing Master of Orion is.

The Bad

While Master of Orion II, in my opinion, is still one of the greatest games ever made it is not without its flaws.

Let's face it; the music is far from inspired. The same tune looping endlessly? It's a petty criticism I'll admit but something that defiantly could have been improved upon.

Some of the alien races attributes are laughable in comparison to others. The advantages of an Gnolam compared to a Sakkara are an example of this. The weaker races rarely present any threat to the player when computer controlled however they pose an immense challenge for the player to use, especially on the higher difficulty levels.

Many feel that the games fails to sufficiently improve on Master of Orion and in the process of adding greater detail and depth to the game the developers made the game too complex for beginners to enjoy. It's a valid point, for anybody starting with this game it will take weeks just to understand what's going on and months for them to know what they should be doing!

The Bottom Line

Master of Orion II makes my list. Anyone who has ever played computer games has one. Ok so it might not be written down, but it's a list of the few computer games you have good memories playing.

For those who love detail and the joy out beating an opponent fifty times stronger than you by tactics, technology and a little bit of luck; play a bit of great gaming history.