Written by  :  Bet (643)
Written on  :  Jun 21, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars

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The classic Macintosh series makes its first appearance on the PC.

The Good

Do you remember the boom times of computer shareware games? When games were created solely for the fun of creation, when you could support the developer directly with a simple registration?

Escape Velocity hails from that noble time period, and Nova is the third game in the EV series. The resolution is still locked at 640x480, but the graphics have been upgraded to the 16-bit color palette, with small touches like ship lean and running lights having been implemented. A rich back-story has been created for Nova, providing significant depth to the game. The game universe is huge, with dozens of ships (plus variants) and weapons, while user-created plug-ins can make it even bigger (which usually have to be run through a Mac-to-PC converter prior to usage).

And maybe the best thing about Nova: some enterprising individuals took it upon themselves to port the first two Escape Velocity games to the new engine as plug-ins, so now you can play EV and Escape Velocity: Override on the PC (outside of an emulator)!

The Bad

By nature, this is a repetitive game. It may be the type of repetition that you find enormously satisfying (like I do), but if it isn't, you'll probably find it to be a drag. And although Nova was first released in 2002, it still shows the age of the roots stemming from the first Escape Velocity, released back in 1996. This can be difficult to overcome if you've never played an Escape Velocity game before, but if you have, it's like coming home.

The Bottom Line

Build your character up from a lowly shuttle pilot in humanity's distant future, to a commander of an armada of destroyers or merchant vessels. Be a hero, help terraform a planet, acquire wealth, or take over planets and force them to pay you tribute. Download the game, give it a whirl for a month. Ambrosia Software has proven itself to be a successful company, and they still offer their games as shareware, so there's nothing to lose.

If you have problems, there is a dedicated user base that have FAQs and story walkthroughs, not to mention ready technical help. Just be careful identifying yourself as a PC user...some Mac fans still seem to be a little touchy about having one of their most sacred pillars of software development branching out a bit to the PC. Which I can completely understand, since Ambrosia provides many of my fondest Mac-using memories.