aka: Syd Mead's Maelstrom: A New Form of Entertainment
DOS Specs [ all ]
See Also
Buy on Amiga
Buy on DOS


Maelstrom is a managerial space strategy and simulation game. After the last great war, a small and previously unnoticed planet, Zokbar J, seized the opportunity and pounced on the broken pieces, creating the "Syndicate," which now vies for domination of the galaxy. You defected, and now control Harmony, a large Fitzholium miner, and can manage your planets' resources to build a fleet and defeat the Syndicate.



Credits (DOS version)

41 People (21 developers, 20 thanks) · View all

Inspired by
Storyline and Concepts by
  • PAS Systems
  • Don Bluth Multimedia Inc.
Executive Producers
Designed by
Written by
Programmed by
Artwork by
Music by
Sound by
Project Coordinator
Additional Artwork by
Special Thanks goes to the following (in order of appearance)
[ full credits ]



Average score: 62% (based on 13 ratings)


Average score: 2.8 out of 5 (based on 6 ratings with 2 reviews)

My favorite game ever.

The Good
Maelstrom is an old game. Back in the good old days of MS-DOS. But it was so in-depth and creative, that I still rank it as the best game ever. And I have played a LOT of games in my time.

It's a strategy game where you are the leader of a planet called Harmony. But dont worry - there's not much harmony or peace in the game. The galaxy is at war, and you are one of the major sources of a mineral that everyone wants and needs.

Not only that, but you used to be one of the bad guys. You defected, and have somehow ended up running this planet.

This game is hard to "get into" for the first time now, because the graphics are so old and dated. But if you can make an effort there is a really good enjoyable game here.

The Bad
Nothing except some occasional bugs. These days the graphics are very dated - but if you play for a while you'll get over them.

The Bottom Line
FANTASTIC. The best game ever.

DOS · by Robert Classified (2) · 2006

A little-known game by a company known to make poor games, yet surprisingly cool

The Good
Maelstrom is a difficult game to review, because so few people have ever heard of it (although it's frequently mistaken with a Macintosh game of the same name). It's a strategy game, with a dual-personality as an adventure game. In fact, there is a lot of cool "adventuring" in the sense of exploration, with many interesting places to send your ships to explore, and many colorful characters to interact with. This part of the game is fascinating, with a real sci-fi feel to it that works spectacularly. The weapons that you can use to arm your ship, for example, are beautifully designed by people with great imaginations - I've never seen such creative armaments that really made sense, like a liquid nitrogen gun (freeze the hull off), a missile designed to penetrate the hull and release toxins, a space spore, or straight-forward guns. Research is done excellently, and the feel of the "technology" is truly immersive (which is probably helped along by the fact that they had such amazing people working on the project as Syd Mead and Don Bluth). Your planet also has a staff that you interact with, getting reports from them personally, and, once, rescuing one of them from a kidnapping. The game also meshes an economy with battle strategy very well, and it had Rebellion's space combat system seven years before Rebellion did. It's a game that I've been able to replay multiple times, not because of stunning graphics or non-linearity, but instead because it has such an interesting plot and is always so refreshing to play.

The Bad
The game is very buggy. Although there is a patch available, it doesn't fix the faulty save-game feature and the easy methods to improperly assign crew. Sometimes the research model falters, and you have the same "innovations" several times. Finally, there isn't that much interactivity with the characters - beyond speaking with your actions, there are only two conversation options: yes and no.

The Bottom Line
Updated - and with the bugs removed - this game could be one of the best games of the year. Unfortunately, it has a few flaws, and is really tough to find. Still, the game itself is well worth a try - I had a great time playing through it with a friend. The creativity is astounding!

DOS · by Daniel Zaharopol (17) · 2000



This game had many now-famous movie people working on it. It was created jointly by Plain-and-Simple (PAS) Systems and Don Bluth Multimedia - Don Bluth himself has later gone to direct and produce Titan AE, Anastasia, and other large animated movies. Several other people listed in the credits went on to work on some popular movies.

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Related Sites +

  • Maelstrom Fansite
    Finally - a fansite for Maelstrom. Includes a lot of info from the game itself, as well as an interview with Andy Blau, the guy who wrote the game in the first place.

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Daniel Zaharopol.

Amiga added by Martin Smith.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Robert Classified, Kevin Stratton, Patrick Bregger.

Game added July 4th, 2000. Last modified September 22nd, 2023.