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Star General

stargen01.png
Mindscape / SSI 1996
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

The Holy Grail... so many people searched for it... and died searching for it. Well, Indiana Jones didn't die in the attempt, but even he still didn't get it. The Holy Grail of the strategy / wargame genre has always been combining the two classical sub-genres: 'global' strategy, i.e. raising your armies, sending them to invade your neighbour and taking care of the infrastructural questions surrounding it, and tactical 'battle simulations', typically in the form of moving single units around on a hexagonal landscape. Crossing that rift and molding it into a consistent, single game - the dream of every game designer involved in the genre and of course also every fan. Even the great Sid Meier tried at one point, and admitted his failure saying that although both parts of his game had worked well individually, the tactical parts took so long that the players would forget about the situation on the global level, making the switch back to it after a battle close to impossible.


Star Trek: 25th Anniversary

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Interplay 1992
Genre: Adventure, Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

These days, there is this huge cliché that 'geeks' have to love Star Trek. And that if they don't, it has to be Star Wars instead. What a load of bollocks! Personally, I'm completely indifferent about both of them. I don't love either, I don't hate either – I just don't care, as neither ever managed to spark any heightened interest in me. Which probably makes me an less than ideal reviewer for Star Trek: 25th Anniversary. Regardless, let's see what this is.


Star Trek: Judgment Rites

trekjr_007.png
Interplay 1993
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: 5/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Star Trek: Judgment Rites is the sequel to the 1992 title Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, and Interplay clearly felt that they had a winning formula there, as the gameplay is by and large identical.


Star Wars Rebellion

SwRsc1.png
LucasArts 1998
Genre: Strategy
Rating: 6/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Star Wars Rebellion is a strategy game which takes place after episode 4. You can play either on the side of the empire or the rebellion. Whereas the rebels have a "fairly easy goal ;-)", namely capturing the emperor and Darth Vader, and conquering Coruscant, the empire needs to capture president Mon Mothma and destroy the rebel headquarters (which unfortunately travels through the galaxy).


Star Wars: Rebel Assault

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LucasArts 1993
Genre: Action
Rating: 2/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

To become a killer application, a game has to do something which simply couldn't be done before. Without a doubt, Rebel Assault, one of the three games which have to be credited for really giving CD-ROM drives their big breakthrough, fits this bill perfectly. Its blend of clips from the original films and high-quality renderings of… 'similar' scenes was indeed unheard of. It hadn't been the first major Star Wars game of the decade. X-Wing had preceeded it by about 9 months. Though it had impressed the specialised press and indeed became a bestseller by the standards of the day, it did not have the broad mass appeal of Rebel Assault which just came closer to the feeling of Star Wars.


Starblade

Starblade01.png
Silmarils 1990
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC
Quote:
Something's afoot in space: Genolyne, priest of chaos, rules the known universe with an iron fist. The "Fighting Science Front" forms the opposition, fiercely battling Genolyne and her underlings. The assassination of one of the Science Front's leading figures escalates the conflict even further, so that a battle-hardened, cunning agent is sent to finally break Genolyne's power…

Starflight

starflight01.png
Binary Systems / Electronic Arts 1987
Genre: RPG
Rating: 6/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

Only a few centuries ago, the humans have discovered space travel. They build a space station orbiting their home planet, Arth, and send out ships to scour the known universe for habitable planets. No, it wasn't a typo; the humans are convinced that their home planet is called Arth. What they don't know is that due to the rogue Crystal Planet, which has the capability to destroy a whole solar system, all races in the galaxy are in a permanent state of exodus, and during one such exodus the Earth and most of its colonies were destroyed, plunging the backward world of Arth into a dark age. Times change, and Arth is now as advanced as the Earth ever was, if not even more so. However, recently the star your planet is orbiting has destabilized, and ships that were sent out to find another habitable planet disappeared. You are a freshly commissioned captain of a small ship, with only one goal in mind: making money. Since your world needs you, though, you agree to do some exploration on the side as well. You'll soon run into questions you don't have answers for. Who are the Ancients? What is the Crystal Planet and how to stop it? Why did other races flee and why are some of them trying to wipe the humans out? All those and more questions are just the beginning of a story that offers up to 100 hours of gameplay that spans over 800 planets.


Starlord

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Microprose 1994
Genre: Strategy, Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: PC

A lot of things went wrong in the development and publication history of Starlord. For instance, it was subject to a fairly huge marketing campaign, with full-page adverts in the style of comic book pages. Just that this marketing campaign ran all through 1993, even though the actual game was delayed by approximately half a year, so it had run out when the actual release occured. The even bigger question, however, would have been why such an inaccessible game was considered worthy of such a large marketing budget anyway, of course…


Startropics

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Locomotive 1990
Genre: Adventure, Action
Rating: 4/6
Licence: Commercial
System: NES

Feeling curious for it's Zelda-like fame I wanted to try this game, as I usually like that kind of action-adventure (or whatever is the name) game. It's just that I didn't think too well the thing, after all when this game was released there were few Zelda games to get inspired by.


Steam Sky

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Bartek Jasicki 2016
Genre: Strategy, RPG
Rating: 3/6
Licence: Freeware
System: PC
Steampunk. What started as an original and not entirely unfascinating thought experiment has by now been reduced to stupid costumes primarily consisting of top hat plus welding goggles. It's hard to imagine why a new game would jump on that sad train in 2016. What is even more surprising, however, is that this game then actually doesn't use its self-proclaimed theme after all. Mysterious.


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