Master of Orion 3

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The long-awaited follow up to the "spaceploitation" strategy classics Master of Orion and Master of Orion 2, MOO 3 attempts to combine unprecedented depth with user-friendliness in one ultimate "4X" gaming eXperience. The basic game formula is the same, though: start out with one planet, eXplore the galaxy, eXpand by founding new colonies and bases, eXploit resources, and then eXterminate your opponents--or at least show them who is boss!

Many years in the MOO timeline have passed since the last installment of the series. The Antarans have triumphed and imposed their rule on the Orion sector, even dubbing themselves the "New Orions" in their pretentiousness. Most of the old alien species have been defeated and nearly exterminated by the New Orions, but a few remnants of their civilizations still remain as non-playable races, so you will occasionally come across the odd colony of the Darlok, Bulrathi, Alkari, Mrrshan, Elerian, or Gnolam variety. The 16 playable races that have survived the wrath of the Antarans include the insectoid Klackons and Tachidi; the reptilian Raas, Sakkra, and Grendarl; the fishlike Trilarian and Nommo; the robotic Cynoid and Meklar; the humanoid Human, Evon, and Psilon; the crystalline Silicoids; the ethereal Imsaeis and Eoladi; and the genetically-engineered harvesters, the Ithkul.

Management is handled primarily at the imperial level through general plans and policy decrees, with a system of AI viceroys assigned to doing most of the grunt work in managing the various regions of your colonized planets. Up to four great leaders at a time may come forward and join your empire, adding bonuses (and perhaps also penalties) to your base racial abilities. Research is divided into six schools: economics, energy, biological sciences, social sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics; some 380 technological advances are available overall, and not all will be available to your chosen race.

Ship and ground combat have both changed from previous MOO games. Naval battles are played out in real time, with orders being given to ships assigned to the various task forces you organize before any battles take place. The player now has more tactical options in commanding ground forces in planetary assaults. Espionage is still available for implementing a variety of dirty tricks on opposing empires, and diplomacy is expanded so that you can now negotiate not only on an inter-empire basis, but also through the Orion Senate. With enough votes, laws can be passed by the Senate which have galaxy-wide effects, thus making it possible for the clever diplomat to change the rules of the game to his own advantage.

Victory is yours if you can accomplish one of three things: eliminate all opponents and become Sole Survivor, garner enough votes through diplomacy to become President of the Senate, or recover the five mysterious alien artifacts--the "Antaran Xs"--scattered across the galaxy. Just be prepared for a tough fight, because powerful Guardians will once again stand between you and total mastery of Orion.


Master of Orion 3 Windows Game options
Master of Orion 3 Windows Ship design and construction
Master of Orion 3 Windows Main Menu - Local Silicoid posing as cover boy uh... cover thing.
Master of Orion 3 Windows Encyclopedia with info on races, technologies, etc

Alternate Titles

  • "MOO 3" -- Informal name
  • "Master of Orion 3: Престол Галактики" -- Russian spelling
  • "Master of Orion 3: The Fifth X" -- Pre-release working title

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User Reviews

Master of Orion 3? This isn't Master of Orion 3...I'm still waiting for a game worthy enough to be called Master of Orion 3 Windows Indra is stressed (20020)
Disappointing as a MoO game, but unique and arguably good if taken on its own Windows weregamer (157)
Like a great monument. They put so much on it they caused it to fall apart. Windows James Kirk (159)
Why exactly did they do with the extra year of production? Windows William Shawn McDonie (1088)
A great empire management game Windows lucian (37)
A total makeover for a great strategy classic! Windows Josh Miller (7)

Critic Reviews

IGN Windows Feb 14, 2003 9.2 out of 10 92
UGO (UnderGroundOnline) Windows Feb 18, 2003 A- 91
Netjak Windows Jan 09, 2006 8.1 out of 10 81
Gameplanet Windows Mar 21, 2003 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
GameSpy Windows Feb 26, 2003 76 out of 100 76
PC Zone Benelux Windows May, 2003 68 out of 100 68
Game Revolution Windows Mar 01, 2003 C+ 58
PC Action Windows Apr 07, 2003 54 out of 100 54
GameSpot (Belgium/Netherlands) Windows Mar 08, 2003 50 out of 100 50
Game Watcher Windows Aug 29, 2003 4.7 out of 10 47


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In the German gaming magazine GameStar (issue 04/2009) Master of Orion 3 was named as one of the "10 Most Terrible Sequels". The best parts of Master of Orion II are the logical game mechanics and the easy to learn menu structure. All that got improved for the worst by complicating everything and focusing on macro management. Also the exciting turn-based combat got replaced by ugly real-time battles.

Related Web Sites

  • Build Galactic Empires (An Apple Games article (archived on the author's webpage) about the Macintosh version of Master of Orion 3, with commentary being provided by Quicksilver Software President Bill Fisher (January, 2003).)
  • Master of Orion III - The Official Web Site (The official home page for Master of Orion 3, created and maintained by its developer, Quicksilver. )
  • NZMac (A (largely) unscored review of the Macintosh version of the game by NZMac, a New Zealand Apple site. The review is ultimately positive, though with some qualifiers (Jul. 01, 2003).)
  • The Master of Orion 3 Guardian (Fan site offering various information on MOO 3, including modifications ("Mods") of the original game. Has sections for MOO 1 and 2, too.)
  • The Orion Sector (A site run by MOO fans devoted to the latest news, previews, reviews, info, downloads, and more for Master of Orion 3. )
Contributed to by PCGamer77 (3006) and Terok Nor (21401)