It is the night of Helloween and a mad professor sporting a stereotypical Einstein haircut is experimenting with his latest invention: a worm hole generator. Lightning strikes in just the right (or wrong?) moment and an alien as well as the creatures on its trail along with their space ship are catapulted right into Earth's orbit.
This is where I could like to end the re-telling of the ludicrous plot to our impatient readers. The point and click adventure builds on the most well-worn clichés in the area of ufology and mixes it up with the fairy tale style of the Monkey Island titles so that protagonist Benjamin, although not believable, still comes across as lovable. In his shoes, you will of course be helping this mysterious creature which is being pursued by an evil alien despot who is regularly seen being mean to his underlings. Nevertheless, the adventurer doesn't have to fear for his life: our Benjamin is still the nice boy next door and the only reason for him to die will be of boredom.
Martian Dreams is the second (and sadly also the last) part of Worlds of Adventure, a spin-off series of Ultima games set in our universe instead of Britannia. Like the predecessor The Savage Empire it draws inspiration from pulp novels and science fiction stories. Especially those tales full of excitement with heroic guys (and occasionally girls) on the cover who single-handedly save the world/planet by fighting hordes of enemies in the most exotic places imaginable. This time you set forth on a journey to Mars, so it pays homage to novels like Burroughs’ Barsoom stories, Well‘s The War of the Worlds and Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon.
In the strategy genre, there is usually a distinction between high level strategy and low level tactics. Some games do one of them right, some excel at the other. Consolidating both levels into one game rarely works: It is the interface between the two which is hard to get right. One major aspect is that none of the levels may take up too much time, because otherwise, the players will forget about what happened on the other. How does this fare with Cyber Empires?