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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Take 2 Interactive

I had never heard of this game until I brought it home and slid in the CD. After browsing the manual and getting my ship up and running, I realized there was more to this than just a space shooter with graphics. So I thought a visit to Take 2's site might yield some insight (if you saw the "manual" you would understand). What I found were many links to other sites that literally oozed excitement and anticipation of the game's release (ok, these places have not seen recent updates). It seems there is quite a large segment of sci-fi gamers out there that have been waiting a long time for this one (5 years!). Well, if it was going to be that good, I thought I had better dig in and learn fast.

This review was run on a 5x86/133 with 16meg/Mag Innovisions 15V/Diamond Stealth 3D, 2meg EDO.

Stardate 3000 A.D:
You are the captain of a Battlecruiser belonging to an organization called GALCOM (Galactic Command). Your mission is to resolve conflict anywhere in the galaxy, using force if necessary. As it says in the manual "it's that simple." If only it were. This is a very complicated and massive game. In order to understand and play this game successfully you should have a manual the size of the Seattle phone book. Unfortunately, the provided documentation is no more than a brief explanation of the game, and explanations of the Battlecruiser computer acronyms. Thirty pages of fine print. There is a small poster sized star map that provides quick reference to waypoints for moving among the stars, but with the on screen navigation system (quite good), I found I never needed to consult the folded map.

BC3000AD has a nice intro movie, driven by a rapid fire audio track (can you say ...DESCENT ll ? ) that makes you think this is going to be a fast paced shooter with great graphics. What you get is a strategy game that at times is downright dull. The scenes can be very good-looking, and there are megabytes of audio to constantly keep you going. But this is a game you must immerse yourself into in order to get any real appreciation of its complexity. I mean... after dinner - late night - I know I gotta go to bed NOW - where in the heck is Matt? - is that all you ever do? ...immersion.

Unfortunately, this would not be necessary if sufficient instructions were made available.

BC3000 AD can be played in any of three modes: Free Flight, Advanced Campaign Mode and Xtreme Carnage Combat Simulator. Free Flight is the beginner mode. Here you can freely cruise the galaxy and learn the incredible array of controls and computer interfaces without fear of attack by alien craft or pirates. Expect to spend a lot of time in this mode. In Advanced Campaign Mode the universe is populated by numerous alien nations that each have their own agendas and goals, and will use varying strategies to achieve them (not all are in the best interest of GALCOM). In this mode the game is dynamic, and changes can occur rapidly and often through political and military influences. There is no napping allowed! Xtreme Carnage Combat Simulator is a combat simulator to gain experience in combat operations, both planet bound and in free flight.

The majority of the game is played from the "bridge" screen, which consists of a forward view portal and numerous icons and drop-down menus for accessing all the ships functions. On-planet views substitute an ATV cab/console with additional control options. While in flight, interceptor craft can be launched and positioned as needed, and personnel assigned to various tasks.

If you are an extreme sci-fi gamer who loves nothing more than to spend hour-after-hour at the keyboard learning from scratch, and figuring everything out for yourself; or if you are one of theose people who know every room and every deck of the Enterprise by heart, then you will like this one. If not, then you will get more enjoyment elsewhere. After playing this game for a few weeks, all I can say is...

...what was all the fuss about?