Command an exploratory vessel which can be upgraded. Mine for minerals, take samples and study biological matter and living creatures/plants, then return them for profit. Meet new and interesting alien races and negotiate and/or kill them. Figure out why the universe is destroying itself before your cash cow gets deleted by a wave of death. Have an amazingly good time.

Is this the greatest space exploration game ever made? I can’t think of one that did better. Modern game programmers pay attention: this game was designed in 1981 (re-released in 1986) with mono/CGA graphics, contained the whole universe (we’re talking THOUSANDS of planets with their own ecosystems, physics, etc.) on two 360k floppies, had aliens with a real AI and shifting reactions based on your actions with them and other races, and most importantly, a point to the frigging game that kept you up nights trying to puzzle out mysteries and clues while poring over a big cheesy map of the universe. This game ROCKED. I never got to play the sequel.

This gaming masterpiece had real suspense as well. How the hell is anyone supposed to deal with an Uhlek patrol? Why do the Veloxi hate these other folks? How did the pathetic Spemin ever make it into space? Is the homeworld really Earth? What is the secret of the ancients? My HP Vectra 8088 with its crystal-clear RGB monitor became larger than life while playing this.

I cannot possibly give this game a high enough rating. The code alone is amazing, considering when this game was made. Note the phenomenon present here: the coders pushed the available technology to its limit, but only because it was necessary to tell the story of the game. Get a clue, Sierra/Origin/Activision!

If you have not played this game, perhaps because you are too young to have bought it at its release, I highly recommend it as a historical lesson. Learn about the great games of the past, and how their descendants have brought shame to their publishing houses.

Mu Rating: One million/10. I am playing this game now, almost 19 years after its release, and I would rather play that than the average piece of shit game being released today.

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