An excellent game... with ONE fatal flaw!
It's not as original as all that -- games like Dungeon Keeper, DKII, Theme Park, and Theme Hospital all operate similarly -- but Startopia is all that and more, a wonderful sim that covers maintenance, economics, and allows you to interact DIRECTLY with the sim characters!
Crash, crash, crash.
This game crashes like crazy. One minute, I'm happily juggling resources and the happiness of my station inhabitants while making trade deals with intelligent slugs from Ciegrim-7... and the next moment, I'm looking at my desktop theme.
The official site admits that perhaps the game may be a little buggy, and offers a patch that fixes some of the crash-to-desktop bugs.
And after you download it, and install it, the game won't crash.
Quite as often, that is. It'll still crash regularly.
This is the sole feature that keeps this game from being a classic.
The Bottom Line
A brilliant piece of work, wonderful, engaging... that is made a frustrating mess by having been released prematurely.