Being a declared non-fan of roleplaying games, but a bit of a fan of Buck Rogers (the 1930s serial being somewhat forgettable, but the first season of the 1970s series being totally excellent), this game always had me torn. I gave playing it many serious attempts, sometimes not getting anywhere, but gradually getting better at it. Time to have another go!
Countdown to Doomsday, from the outset, makes a couple of very good design decisions. First of all, the player is not allowed to play Buck Rogers himself or even have him in the party. Given that character's status as an immortal icon in this universe, it would have been unthinkable to have him fail at comparatively simple tasks at the hands of a less than perfect player. Second, the game opening is simply excellent: the party of new recruits of Earth's military is immediately thrown into battle when during their welcome, their base is attacked. So the game begins with a tense, action-packed scene (sort of a "quest 0") even before letting the player take a breath to really take inventory, visit the bar for some rumors etc.
Almost everybody must have started their motorised career with toy cars, i.e. bigger or smaller models of the real ones. Names like Matchbox, Majorette or Hot Wheels will sound familiar to most. All of these cars come approximately at the same size, approximately that of a matchbox, but still, there are a couple of exceptions, like the Micro Machines: Cars specialising in extreme miniaturisation.
In the year of 2453, the secret organisation SAROS (Search And Research Of Space) tasks an undercover agent to destroy the Arcadian supercomputer. Without this central "brain", the Arcadians will be helpless zombies who cannot exert their power over Earth and its space colonies anymore. In the disguise of an space trader, the player takes over the agent's role in order to liberate mankind from its oppressors.
This game is based on the role-playing book of the same name published in the year 1985, which was ported as an Adventure game to the C64 by the Englishman Stefan Ufnowski a year later, and shortly after was ported to all other home computers under the label U.S. Gold.