Written by  :  Ashley Pomeroy (233)
Written on  :  Sep 22, 2002
Platform  :  Windows

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Hard as steel

The Good

I earned 375 pounds writing a walkthrough for a PC magazine for this game. I have not-entirely-fond memories of grabbing screenshots at half-two on the morning of January 1st, 1999, cursing David Braben. In brief, then, V2000 is Virus - which is 'Thrust' in 3D, or 'Lunar Lander' if you're old - but with much nicer graphics. You pootle over seas, islands, swamps, in some stunningly attractive forests, all the time blowing away insects and the like whilst trying not to smash into the ground, which happens a lot. The control method - tilt your craft, fire the engines, tilt the other way, crash - doesn't really get much easier with time and the gameplay is horribly, horribly hard in a bad way; too often you lose because, on the other side of the map, one of the citizens you are protecting has been munched. It's the kind of game where, if you don't act immediately with split-second timing as you start a level, you lose.

The Bad

As above - it's blisteringly hard, and I genuinely don't like to think about this game. I had to play it all the way through without cheating in less than a week, during the middle of a cold winter, and I don't want to go back. As with 'Lander' (or the last 'Populous' game), it's just too fiddly to be rewarding. It looks stunning, though. Furthermore it further cements the perception that David Braben never allows gameplay and fun to get into the way of his odd obsessions; with 'Frontier' the game suffered because of a stringent devotion to accurate physics, and this suffers from an unforgiving skill level exacerbated by unthinkably frustrating ship control.

The Bottom Line

A heartbreakingly frustrating experience.