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[Comments] (2) The Ur-Quan Masters: I spent most of yesterday playing this game, a fun space adventure. A.k.a. Star Control 2, as seen in Bob the Angry Flower.

Looking back through the mists of time, I thought I remembered seeing a box for this game in Software Etc. when I was a kid, and wanting to buy it but not having the money. But I was wrong; it was a similar game called Starflight 2. What I remember accurately is the source code for this game being made freely available a few years back. Now the game has been ported to modern platforms and it's in Debian, with goofy voice acting and everything.

This is an excellent game with some serious gameplay problems. The story is like a good text adventure, complex and nonlinear, with strong characterization (though all the characterization happens on the species level: you never see two named members of a species, for instance) and lots of dialogue and backstory. There's also a Spacewar sub-game that looks perfectly fine but I skipped it because I was more interested in the adventure game.

The problems are with the other sub-game, a resource-gathering-fest that takes all the fun out of exploring the universe. Just like in real life there are too many stars, they're too widely spread apart, it takes forever to navigate within a solar system, and most of the planets have few points of interest. But you spend most of the game going around poking at planets for resources. The entire game universe starts to look like a big copy protection scheme, and the various hint guides, with their huge tables, take on the appearance of the manual that has the secret numbers you need to complete the game in the time limit provided.

So, I guess I'd like to see it turned into something more like a Maniac Mansion type graphic adventure, is what I'm saying. Fun game though.

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Comments:

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Fri May 04 2007 03:43

(SPOILER)

Actually, you do see two named Shofixti if you let the first one die. His brother shows up to avoid putting the game in an unwinnable state, I think.

I found many of the vocal characterizations mildly racist in a similar vein to The Phantom Menace. Not enough for me to want to protest the game or anything, but it was a little uncomfortable in spots.

Posted by Leonard at Fri May 04 2007 09:59

I didn't install the voice package until fairly late, and none of them were what I had in my head. I thought the Spathi voice was sketchily Trade Federation, but the ZFK voices were fun. Do the voices correspond to stereotypes as in Phantom Menace?


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