Following the events of the previous game, N.E.O. the New Earth Organization, has gained some notoriety for defeating the forces of R.A.M., The Russo-American Mercantile. Because of this, the heroes of that mission are sent to diplomatic talks on Venus and N.E.O. stands to recruit a powerful new ally. However it isn't long before trouble starts, and an assassination attempt is planned against the Venusian minister. This is only the beginning of a plot embroiled with the mysterious Matrix Device, which can turn matter into energy. Naturally these adventures will take the NEO agents all over the solar system.
Matrix Cubed is an RPG navigated in first person for most places but with an overhead view for combat and ship navigation. Players will create (or import) a party of up to six characters and assign statistics, abilities and equipment. Players move their party in a first person maze of corridors, open area and rooms. Certain encounters will allow the player to make choices based on the party skills. In the case of combat, the player and enemy forces each have a turn, controlled on an overhead map.
This game is a sequel to Countdown to Doomsday and in the fine RPG tradition you can import the characters from the previous part into this game and continue your grand adventure, or you can start out new (which slows the game down somewhat as you need to gather experience).
The story is somewhat more intriguing. There is a new Sun King and he is trying to unite all races in peaceful coexistence. As nice as that idea seems, it does not appeal to everybody, so there are forces at large that wish to prevent it from happening. You are assigned to baby-sit the king and make sure he's safe and you naturally try to do your job as well as you can. To conclude this brief plot introduction I'll just leave you with some malicious thoughts that immediately popped into my mind when I started playing this game. Should we really trust the king? Is he trying to secure peace or supremacy of one race only? Who could be plotting against the peace and why? Do they have good reasons for it?
I had to find the answers to these questions in the game, and so should you.
One of the things I really liked about the sequel is that there are more options. As soon as you meet somebody you could fight, you can first try another way (examining them, or maybe even joining them and changing your allegiance - if you think that could help really help you out).
Apart from that, the graphics have improved somewhat from the first part, although they are still classical SSI RPG graphics, very similar this time to the second part of the medieval fantasy RPG Krynn trilogy. This makes me wonder though, did they plan to make a Buck Rogers trilogy as well, but never finished it?
Anyway, it's a very solid RPG that I definitely recommend to everybody who likes the genre and especially to all who were put off RPG simply because they disliked the fantasy worlds of magic and dungeons.
A superior sequel to Countdown to Doomsday, Buck Rogers: Maxtrix Cubed is the second and last game in the promising series of RPGs based on the Buck Rogers comic book universe. As with its predecessor, you are thrust into the twenty-fifth century, a world of political intrigue, epic struggle, and mind-boggling scientific advances. Earth has been ravaged by centuries of exploitation at the hands of the Russo-American Mercantile (RAM), a mega-corporation fueled by the planet's resources. Although the New Earth Organization (NEO) - headed by Buck Rogers, and the group to whom your loyalties belong - has managed to regain control of Earth (as recounted in Countdown to Doomsday), RAM's bases on Mars and throughout the Asteroid Belt remain powerful.
As the game begins, your party of rugged adventurers is on a space station orbiting Mercury, sentby Colonel Rogers to seek the allegiance of the new Mercurian Sun King. While there, you meet a scientist who tells you of his theory to create a Matrix Device. The device will transform any matter into whatever new form is desired - just the thing to repair the scarred Earth. But before you can take the scientist to NEO's Salvation Base to meet with Buck Rogers, he's kidnapped by a new terrorist organization, PURGE, dedicated to the Prevention of Unwanted Research and Genetic Engineering. The group seeks to destroy all genetically engineered lifeforms, or Gennies, created to aid in the colonization of the other planets. PURGE fights to reclaim the solar system for pure Humans. But many Gennie groups, such as the Martian Desert Runners and Venusian Lowlanders, are now peaceful and fully realized cultures. Indeed, Gennies are a vital part of the NEO organization. And so you must race to assemble a Matrix Device for NEO, while keeping the technology out of PURGE's hands.
The plot this time around is even more intriguing than Countdown to Doomsday and involves a much more intricate web of sub-plots and characters. As for gameplay, anyone who's played the Gold Box series of TSR/SSI games will immediately recognize the Matrix Cubed gaming system. It's simple and straightforward, providing easy access to the game's role-playing mechanics. SSI also definitely listened to fans' comments, as many of the complaints for Countdown to Doomsday have been addressed: there are now fewer combat sequences and more NPC interaction, and more weapons and gadgets to find and use. Although not as graphically pleasing as contemporary RPGs, Matrix Cubed is great fun. Effort was spent on making the story and engine top-notch, and it shows. As a result, what it lacks in glitz it more than makes up for in substance. Matrix Cubed is simply a must-play for all RPG fans, and a pleasant change of pace for Gold Box AD&D veterans.
People who downloaded Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed have also downloaded:
Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday, Dark Sun: Shattered Lands, Dark Sun 2: Wake of the Ravager, Eye of The Beholder 3, Eye of The Beholder 1, Eye of The Beholder 2, Pool of Radiance, Bard's Tale 1
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