Master of Orion II: Battle at Antares

aka: MOO 2, Master of Antares
Moby ID: 182
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Legends speak somewhere in space of the mystical planet Orion. Created by the Ancients, it remains unclaimed due to a powerful Guardian that orbits the planet and keeps out intruders. These same Ancients long ago fought a war against the Antarans and banished them into another dimension. Now... long after the Ancients empire has vanished, new races take to the stars, wishing to establish their own star empires, defeat the Antarans and become... The Master of Orion.

Master of Orion II: Battle At Antares is a turn-based 4x space empire game and is the sequel to Master of Orion, reinterpreting that game from scratch. Unlike the original the game can be played single player or with other human players. The player takes the role of a ruler of one of thirteen races, while also having the extra option of creating a custom one. They must manage planet resources to build ships and facilities, improving production. Exploration of the galaxy is done via scouts and colony ships, which can establish new planets as part of the empire. Research must also be done to discover and utilize new technologies. Alien civilizations which are encountered can be negotiated with, or ships can engage in combat in a turn-based grid system. As new systems are explored, random events are triggered and strange artifacts found in orbit around unexplored planets. Wormholes can also be found which allow transport across dozens of parsecs into new star systems.

The game can be won in different ways: through conquest of all other races, being voted supreme leader of the galaxy or destruction of the Antaran race.

Spellings

  • 银河霸主II:安特雷斯之战 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

51 People (48 developers, 3 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 23 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 205 ratings with 15 reviews)

One of the best turn-based strategy games out there.

The Good
Almost anything. The game has good graphics, a powerful yet simple and direct interface, a fun AI ranging in several levels and a lot of customization options. I espacially like the techology system, which allows you to research about a third of all of the techologies in the game, making each decision cruical to your strategy and enhancing the inter-player interaction (trading, spying or conquering new technologies is a must).

The Bad
The multiplayer options. Although there are many possible options for playing with other players, the game constantly crashes while playing Hotseat or Modem. The latest patch helps, but not enough, and the game is not stable. Another problem is the race customization; it's too easy to make a "broken" race, which will have amazing specialty in one field (a lot of money, a lot of science, etc. etc.) and will ruin the game, but this can be easily solved by playing one of the pregenerated races.

The Bottom Line
MicroProse is selling this game, along the original classic, for an amazingly low price. Worth buying, espacially now.

DOS · by El-ad Amir (116) · 2000

Best turn-based galaxy-conquest game to date

The Good
High praise? Well deserved I would say. Master of Orion II is still on the top spot of my (very short) list of games with any real(!!) replay value.
The user interface is comfortable, graphics and sound add nicely to the overall mood, but what it really sets in front is the gameplay and the nearly infinite amount of tactics you can (must) use to win a game.
Winning with the Psilons is a piece of cake? Switch to an uncreative race and get yourself slaugthered the next few times. Can you adopt? How can the computer (great AI) grow that fast with the same race?
You will always find settings where the game is a real challenge.

The Bad
Towards the end (espacially if you are playing for a good score), the micro-management gets a bit tedious and if you finished it in one session you might feel a bit drowsy.

The Bottom Line
Turn-based space-exploration and empire-building game (fortunately not) out there. You can get it on earth.

Windows · by Zzap (56) · 2000

I agree with Zzap's review: MOO 2 still remains the very best Space-empire building game

The Good
1) The game was released in the Fall of 1996 and no other game of that 4X genre has succeeded since then to take away its crown. But it can be argued that "Imperium Galactica II" (released in April 2000) can share the throne, "MOO 2" being the turn-based ruler in this diarchy, and "IG 2" being the real-time co-ruler. Four games will come out, in the next five months of 2000, to attempt to take away the 4X/turn-based crown: "Reach for the stars" (mid-August), "Space Empires IV" (Oct. 1st), "Stars! Supernova Genesis" (?), "Galactic Civilizations" (?). "MOO 3" is seriously under development for a Fall 2001 release.

2) 13 races to choose from, and a very detailed menu to custom-design your own race, playing with a lot of options and variables. This consequently confers to this game a lot of replay value. Three and a half years after its release, I still play that game on a regular basis.

3) Stellar systems most often contain more than one planet to colonize.

4) Even though they are 2D, graphics still look great, except the pictures of some of the races.

5) The command-points system limits the number of warships one can effectively control, preventing a race to produce massive fleets which can overwhelm the game early one.

6) A very extensive technological tree, where the player cannot select every available option, forcing him to make important choices. This also confers to the game a lot of replay value. For example, in one game, you might choose to accelerate production by selecting "automated factories", while in another game, you might rather opt to bolster your defenses with "planetary missile base", or strengthen your warships by selecting "heavy armor". That trio represents one of the tough crossroads of the research-tree.

7) You can hire amusing heroes and mercenaries: up to 3 to become efficient star-system governors, up to 3 to be assigned as warship captains.

8) You can design your own starships.

9) There are a lots of diversified buildings you can put down on the surfaces of your planets.

10) The pictorial representations of the various planetary landscapes are superb.

11) Turn-based tactical combat between warships looks great, is easy to learn, but complex to really master.

12) A 14th race, the Antareans, can be introduced later on in the game to harass the most powerful races.

13) There are 3 different ways to win the game: military extermination of the other races, diplomatic victory by obtaining 2/3rds of the votes needed to be elected Galactic Emperor, destroying the Antarean homeworld.

14) A sufficiently extensive diplomatic menu, with an exquisite "holographic" representation of alien embassadors when you communicate with them.

15) You can spy and sabotage.

16) Lots of cool weapons and weapons-effects.

17) A whole lot of stuff to play with, making it a prodigious game with lots of replay value. I'm sure I forgot something good to mention.

The Bad
1) The galactic map generator is mediocre to bad, in the sense that it can initially create a universe which puts some races in tight spots, surrounded by cheap planets to colonize. You can thus invest hours of gameplay to then realize that you are doomed because of an extremely disadvantagous starting-position.

2) Even though many star-systems offer more than one planet to colonize, there's a maximum of about only 70 systems in the game, with a few systems closed to colonization (because they contain a black hole, or no planets, or only gas giants and asteriod fields). That's frustrating, especially if you combine this limitation with what was mentioned in the previous paragraph.

3) The game, as initially released, was full of bugs. Get the final 1.31 patch: on my computer, it is very stable, bug-free, and it only crashes once and awhile when the late game has too much stuff to process ("stack overflow"). Save often on a few slots representing different times. Don't click too much for nothing when the game enters its late stages.

4) The enemy AI is of unequal value. Except in the initial learning process, don't play below the "average" difficulty setting. What often happens is that one or two races will rapidly become very strong (usually: the Sakkras, Klackons, and Silicoids), while the rest of them will stagnate on few star-systems. I think that the cause of that is a defensive programming which forces them to build early on too powerful fleets for their means, neglecting planetary building, research, and colonization.

5) There are no social and political events on your planets. You can mismanage your empire and overtax without fear of being challenged by riots and revolutions. "MOO 3" is supposed to introduce internal consequences for your decisions.

6) Consequently, it is easy to manipulate the taxation system to unfair ends. When the game has proceeded beyond the early stages, you can overtax your population for a few turns to make a lot of cash and then accelerate production by purchasing items.

7) Spies often take too much time to train. It is unrealistic to see that a planet has to dedicate all of its productive efforts for half a dozen turns just to train one spy. Instead, like in some other games, the player should be able to build FBI/CIA-style buildings which would then generate spies or espionage points, while the planet's production queue would be engaged in building other stuff.

8) Planetary ground combat is extremely simplistic and dull.

9) Starship tactical combat being turn-based, the fanatics of real-time combat might eventually become bored.

10) There's a lot of micromanagement when the game gets into its later stages, with many planets to supervise. In a single-player game, it can still be fun, but in a multiplayer game, it will introduce boring delays.

The Bottom Line
I agree with Zzap's recent review: "MOO 2" remains the very best Space-empire building game, 3½ years after its release. It has a lot of replay value, with all of its options, but that becomes even better if you can get your hands on the third-party save-game editor ("Corion2" by Gonzalus, 1997). Unfortunately, that editor does not come with instructions, and your games will fatally crash or get weird if you mismanage the editing process. E-mail me ([email protected]) if you have questions concerning the game or the use of the editor.

Windows · by Jean-Paul Cardinal (16) · 2000

[ View all 15 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Compatibility - just use Steam MerlynKing May 8, 2022
Has anyone witnessed the battle at Antares? CalaisianMindthief (8172) Oct 6, 2015
Master of Orion II How to install in win7 Dim Gri (30) Oct 24, 2011

Trivia

Combat system

The whole tactical ship combat system has many similarities with the system used in Renegade Legion: Interceptor. This not is not only restricted to technical aspects. If one examines the ship graphics in Interceptor more closely, there should be a moment of déjà vu.

Development

The folks at SimTex were calling this game Master of Antares when it was in early development. Later the name was changed to Master of Orion 2 so the game would be more easily recognized by consumers as the sequel to the award-winning original.

References

  • Loknar’s ship was christened as “Avenger”, exactly the same as the ship you need in X-COM to travel to Cydonia. Even the graphics are similar! Take a look at them and compare! Coincidence?
  • Another coincidence with X-COM? Perhaps the similarity between "Elerium" (the alien energy source from X-COM) and the "Elerians" (the matriarchal psychic race of Moo2) is intentional?
  • In another X-COM coincidence... both Master of Orion games as well as the first X-COM game have an alien race named "Silicoid", however the look of the creatures is very different between the two game series.
  • The Antaran Star Fortress (when you travel to their homeworld via Dimensional Portal) is commanded by a Ship Captain. His (her?) name is Xyphys, the Antaran Warrior, and has the following abilities: "Fighter Pilot* Helmsman* Ordnance* Security* Weaponry*" as noted in the moohero.lbx archive.
  • Phasers, food replicators, transporters, federation type government, the human leader being bald, charismatic and democratic and a few of the ship designs may be references to Star Trek:The Next Generation.

Awards

  • Origin Awards
    • 1996 - Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Computer Game

Information also contributed by Chris Martin, Dum Gri, lilalurl, NGC 5194, PCGamer77, Technocrat and WildKard.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Tomer Gabel.

Macintosh added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Kalirion, David Ledgard, CaesarZX, Patrick Bregger, Dim Gri, MrFlibble, J D.

Game added August 4, 1999. Last modified January 31, 2024.