Posted by Alasdair Bailey on 00:00, 30/10/2000
| Games, RISC OS, Reviews
Space trading god game from Artex. Reviewed by Alasdair Bailey
and Graham Crockford
|The aim of the game is to achieve domination in the galaxy that your settlers have chosen as their home. Weaponry and goods may be traded with the other lords in the galaxy and other planets may be colonised or taken over by force. The other lords are a mixed bunch really, but as you play the game, you'll get to know which lords are hostile and which will be willing to form trading and military alliances.
One of my main complaints about Exodus is the quality of the graphics. They all look very nice but have unfortunately been scaled down to mode 13 quality; this means that our PC owning friends will smugly sit there and say things like: "Hmm, crap graphics," and not even give the gameplay any consideration. Another niggle I have with this game is the annoying status/financial reports that are given for each planet at the end of a month. This becomes even more annoying once you have a large empire and you couldn't care less about what's happening on your minor planets!
The music becomes a bit annoying after a while, but this can be turned off. But that's just the bad points. Exodus has excellent gameplay, and an astonishingly good completion sequence. Artex have moulded together the genres more or less successfully to produce a great product, well worth the money.
|I must say, when I first loaded Exodus, I was immediately hit by the music, which I consider one of the finest sets of incidental music on the Acorn. If anyone has played Diggers, they will know what kind of real charged atmosphere I'm talking about. The intro screens fade through, accompanying this, and the scene is set beautifully.
Once into the game, I was impressed by the layout of the whole thing. The tactical displays are well thought-out and clear, and some downright works of art; unfortunately it does seem forced into the old-style Mode 13 screen display, and one gets the feeling that it could have looked even better if Artex had made the effort. That said, it does not detract from the gameplay, which can be surprisingly addictive given the sedate, turn-based nature of the game.
|Exodus is very difficult, make no mistake about it. The other lords are ruthless and will stamp on you immediately if you so much as leave a planet with a few less military units than it needs. In fact, I found myself close to switching off and going to do something else until I found a useful cheat on our own Exodus pages. Even having used this, by the end of the afternoon, I was being driven back by the other lords.
There are a number of irritating little niggles as well - at the end of each 'month' (read: turn), you are given a status report. On every planet. One-after-the-other. Even if you own planets in double figures. Also, it can get to a situation where a planet cannot hold any more defensive military units, and yet this is still not enough to defend it against the enemys' huge arsenals, so you end up helpless to prevent the loss of your planets.
|Overall, it's not a bad game. It's nothing to show off to our PC-owning friends - the turn-based combat reminiscent of Hero Quest, the space battles fought as blips on a radar screen, and the awkward difficulty level make it too unweildy for the cutting-edge market, but I'd put it on my list of the current top Acorn games despite this. It's certainly a superior game to Sim City, and that's a pretty good accolade. Congratulations must go to Artex for an excellent début product, and we look forward to their future releases.
To sum up
- Good, well-considered gameplay
- Excellent completion sequence
- Atmospheric music
- A feeling of 'power'
- Price (£25)
- Music becomes a bit annoying after a while
- Low-resolution graphics
- Irritating end-of-month reports
- Some primitive combat sequences
- High difficulty level