2400 A.D.

Moby ID: 1001
Apple II Specs
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Description official descriptions

Metropolis was founded in 2213 A.D. by the United Stellar Council as the capital city of the planet XK-120, a mining planet and center of learning throughout the galaxy. That was the past. In 2315 A.D., Metropolis is invaded by the Tzorg. The new conquerer leave the planet but install a Robot Patrol System to keep the locals in check. Now the only resistance against the Tzorg occupation is a small group of resistance fighters of the Underground network. In the year 2400 A.D. the final hope to overthrow Tzorg rule over the city is to infiltrate the Tzorg Authority Complex through a recently discovered secret route, access the terminals, and shut down the robots; that is, if they had a computer specialist.

That's where the protagonist comes in. As part of yet another shipment of miners from other conquered Tzorg lands to replace the 'disappearances' of past workers, the hero has been contacted by the Underground to join their struggle against the Tzorg. The contact leaves instructions: find Spider, contact the Underground, good-bye and good luck.

2400 A.D. is a top-down role-playing game that has similarities to Ultima games, though with simpler gameplay mechanics. The city of Metropolis is divided into five areas: Center, North, South, East, West. All of which are indicated by borders, guarded and patrol by different kinds of robots. Non-player characters also frequent the city. An attempt to communicate with them will open dialog boxes, where the player must type in keywords for further information.

Exploration and transportation may be conducted via three approaches: walking, using the "slidewalk" (automated sidewalk), or by using subway system. The city contains a few merchants where the player may purchase some items. More curious items such as weapons and personal devices, however, are rumored to be sold by the Underground. Throughout the city, there are also power nodes, which allow the player to recharge weapons and other devices. Use of these power nodes are illegal by the Tzorg Authority, prompting a possible robot dispatch to the area, or if any robots are in the immediate vicinity, to attack the character.

The main character has four primary attributes: Energy (equivalent to hit points and strength combined), Dexterity, IQ, and Affinity. During character creation, the player may allocate 99 points among these attributes. These attributes will increase during gameplay when the character performs certain actions. Affinity, for example, may increase when the character talks to NPCs.

Combat initiates when the player character attacks or is attacked by an enemy robot. Before engaging in combat, the hero must first equip a ranged weapon in the inventory (a maximum of eight items) and recharge the weapon. The character cannot attack if no charged weapon is equipped. Combat flows in real time, pausing when the player selects an attack. The protagonist may only shoot in a diagonal or vertical direction, while robots have the advantage to attack in all nine directions. If the character is hit, all attributes will be decreased. The attributes will return to their original scores over time. If the protagonist succeeds in defeating a robot, he may search the remains and obtain money. Defeat will result in imprisonment and confiscation of items at the Rehabilitation Center, where the protagonist must also register regularly to avoid being thrown into prison. Robots will re-spawn after a certain amount of time.

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Credits (Apple II version)

15 People (13 developers, 2 thanks)

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 63% (based on 3 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 13 ratings with 1 reviews)

Similar to Ultima 4 but with lighter RPG elements and a completely different setting

The Good
The year is 2400. A race called the Tzorgs has enslaved your planet and turned the city of Metropolis into a prison. The Tzorgs themselves have withdrawn and the whole planet is now run by cyborgs. As a new citizen you have the opportunity to do something about this and the ultimate aim of the game is to get to the master control panel and deactivate all the robots.

This was the third game created by Chuckles for Origin. It appears to use an enhanced version of the Ultima 4 engine (although I don't know this for certain) which is no bad thing. The game uses an entirely new tile-set however so it very much has a feel of its own. It is clearly aimed at newer players than Ultima 4 as its a smaller game and the RPG elements are much lighter.

The whole game takes place in the city of Metropolis. The city is fairly huge and on 9 levels. There are no multi-scale maps as in Ultima 4 and the combat screens are also gone as you have to take on the Tzorgs on your own. To compensate, there are loads of little things not seen in Ultima. For instance, the city has moving walkways to speed you around. If you go in the underground, trains run up and down the lines and flatten you if you stand in front of them.

Underneath the city is the underground. Aside from housing the railways, this is also where the human underground has its HQ. This is where you can buy weapons & shields and eventually hunt down the passcodes you need to shut down the robots. The underground is spread over 4 levels and nearly as large as the city itself.

You have three main stats - IQ, Affinity & Energy. IQ affects whether or not you can fix things. You guns and shields randomly break and this saves you the money and effort in getting someone else to do it. This is raised by successfully fixing things or by paying 1000 credits to a guy hidden away in the underground. Affinity I gather affects whether people will talk to you but I never noticed this. It is ridiculously easy to raise as it goes up by one pretty much every time you talk to someone. Energy is your hit points. Its also used if you try to break down doors. It goes back up as time passes and the maximum can be raised through combat. You also have the option to run instead of walk (this moves you 3 squares at a time) which raises maximum energy quickly but also depletes your current level leaving you vulnerable.

Combat is relatively simple - you start the game with a basic ray gun and no shield. You can still defeat some robots fairly easily. Once you have a better weapon and shield, you can easily take out pretty much anything as long as you don't face too many at once. The games best equipment is only needed for the final assault. Although its not required, there are plenty of options and strategies that can be adopted. You can reprogram robots with the right equipment, or if you avoid their fire for a while, robots have to run back to a recharge point and you can block them off and shoot them while defenceless.

There is no food in the game, so you can heal up just by passing turns with no real penalty. The time constraint used is that you have to report in to a particular building every 2000 ticks. If you don't all robots start attacking you on sight. If you report late you also get a social demerit, 5 of these and all robots attack until you get sent to jail. Getting sent to jail is no big deal as you can easily escape, get all your stuff back (once you know where to look) and the slate is wiped clean. Once I got far enough on in the game, I stopped bothering to report back.

Some of the interactivity later seen in Ultima 5 is seen here first. You can push objects around (if you are strong enough). You can climb over certain types of scenery. Something I particularly like is that you can climb over other people if they are in the way (which they often are). There are also objects you can pick up and use for the first time in an Origin RPG, although you can't actually see them as tiles here and have to stand on an adjacent tile and search.

The Bad
The keyboard controls are needlessly complicated. As in Ultima games it uses pretty much every letter of the keyboard for one control or another, but not necessarily the same letters as in Ultima. It takes a while to learn which keys to use.

The game uses the same conversation system as in Ultima 4 but in general people have even less to say. There are no standard conversation topics (name, job) so they often say nothing unless you know what to ask. This gives more of a feeling that they are just there to get you through the game, although this isn't always the case.

I played the game through to the end but I feel like I didn't try a lot of things. This is mostly my fault but the combat is possibly a little too easy and really doesn't encourage you to try alternatives.

There is no music at all, just sound effects. The sound effect for bumping into something (which happens a lot when you are running everywhere) gets on your nerves after a while.

The Bottom Line
This is a fun little RPG for people who were either new to the genre or didn't want to dedicate weeks to a single game. The RPG elements are so light, that this in many ways plays more like an adventure game where you have to figure out what you need, where it is and where to use it. Despite the lighter RPG elements, the city is still large and detailed and this is definitely the best game Origin had published to date that wasn't an Ultima. Anyone who enjoyed exploring the towns in Ultima 4 should give it a go.

DOS · by Pix (1172) · 2008

Discussion

Subject By Date
Browser version GTramp (81965) Jun 10, 2015

Trivia

C64 port

John Romero worked on the C64 port of 2400 A.D. in 1987-1988 until ORIGIN Systems, Inc. canceled it due to poor sales of the Apple II version. Romero left Origin in June of 1988. The Commodore 64 port was once again resurrected and Ocean Software programmer Allan Shortt worked on the port, but due to communication problems, it was shelved once again at 85% complete.

Extras

In addition to a large fold out city map, the game was packaged with a set of three lead figures. All three depict heavily armed robot soldiers and were cast by Grenadier Miniatures (two in 1984 and one in 1987).

Sequel

Chuck Bueche developed a sequel titled 2500 A.D., but it was halted in development because of poor sales of the first game.

Information also contributed by ClydeFrog.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Yakumo.

Apple II added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Indra was here, John Romero, Cantillon, Patrick Bregger.

Game added March 8, 2000. Last modified January 3, 2024.