After an alien attack in 2043, great technological leaps were made and space travel was significantly improved upon. In 2119, fearing extinction, Earth built gigantic seedships designed as "arks" to propel people and the sum of human knowledge across the stars. One of these seedships, the UNS Calypso, is sent to Beta Caeli star system which is the farthest colony attempted yet. In 2135, a second seedship, the UNS Tantalus, is dispatched to the same destination in order to better the chances of human survival. The Tantalus is equipped with a more advanced fusion engine and thus will reach Beta Caeli some 21 years ahead of the Calypso. The player takes the role of the Calypso's captain. There is no sign of the Tantalus. All you have are some 5000 colonists, past radio transmissions and a few key advisers to help you colonize this new unfamiliar solar system.
The game has three distinctive parts: global strategy, colony management and searching planets. The latter is always the first part before colonizing a planet: Every planet is divided into sectors which can be chosen on a world map. Then the game switches to a 3D view (which can be switched to a 2D view) in which the player explores the sectors in search of different symbols - clicking on them results in certain benefits. Examples are ore and energy, the two main resources in Alien Legacy, new life forms or traces of a lost civilization which give hints about the awful events of the past. With the correct technology the player can scan both the world map and the sectors to shorten the search - but this costs fuel.
The strategy mostly involves sending out ships to new planets to colonize and researching. Research is powered by "research points" in different categories, e.g. biology or math, which are gathered when searching sectors. By using those points the player gets different technologies of various use like more productive mines or a better range for space ships. Lastly the colonies are viewed from a top-down perspective. Here the player constructs up to 16 buildings to produce resources or space ships. Those buildings have to be maintained or can be upgraded/replaced with the newest research achievements. Every colony also needs a steady number of people, material and robots or it can't produce.
The game is played in real-time; the rounds (two rounds represent a month) elapse if the player is active or not. But time can be slowed down to ease the stress. After about 2000 rounds the peaceful colonizing is over, and the player has to fight a war against an unknown foe..
Alien Legacy is an intriguing space strategy game designed by Joe Ybarra, who also designed the famous Starflight series. It's an excellent mix of resource management, exploration, and colony building, all wrapped in an involving, well-thought-out plot.
In 2043, humanity made first contact with an alien - and, unfortunately, hostile - civilization, the Centaurians. Faced with this overwhelming threat, humanity banded together under the banner of the United Nations and began pushing ahead in research to prepare for the coming interstellar war. One of the fruits of this research was the Bussard ramjet, which allowed ships to travel at relativistic speeds and reach the stars in a matter of decades.
In addition to the warships built by the United Nations, humanity also constructed seedships, interstellar arks carrying cryogenically frozen colonists to distant star systems, to spread the seeds of humanity into the stars in case the Centaurians conquered Earth. In 2119, the seedship UNS Calypso was launched to the distant Beta Caeli star system. A few years later, in 2135, the UNS Tantalus was launched towards the same destination. The Tantalus was much faster and was destined to reach Beta Caeli 21 years before the older Calypso.
You play as the captain of UNS Calypso. Arriving in the Beta Caeli system, you expect to find thriving colonies founded by the Tantalus' colonists. But something has gone horribly wrong, and no sign of any active colonies can be found. Your task is to colonize the Beta Caeli system, discover the fate of the Tantalus colonies, and avoid sharing that fate. You start the game with the Calypso, a few faster and smaller interplanetary spacecraft, some resources, and a bunch of robots and colonists at your disposal; more colonists will be awakened from cryo-sleep as the game progresses.
The scope of the game is vast: there are eight planets, four moons, and sixteen asteroids to explore and settle, each with an enormous number of sectors you can search and often mine for energy, minerals or scientific findings. Using the planetary map, you can scan the world for useful resources (and later on for other items). You can then enter any sector with a vehicle, in a "flight sim" 3rd-person view, flying over the terrain and looking for interesting materials to collect. Vehicles can also be used to set up colonies and space stations, as well as to probe more distant worlds.
Once you establish colonies, you can build various installations in them in a manner similar to SimCity, ranging from factories to research laboratories. Their construction and operation requires resources - energy, minerals, robots, and humans. Some of these would have to be brought in advance from the Calypso or an older colony; later, when the colony is properly set up, it will produce resources on its own.
You can also research various technologies using the Tech Manager. As the game progresses and you discover more artifacts, new research projects will become available. Research requires time and science resources, which can either be produced by laboratories in your colonies or collected from planetary surfaces. New technologies range from improvements to existing vehicles or buildings, through new scanners, to altogether new building types.
As the game progresses and you explore and colonize the Beta Caeli system, the plot is advanced through events presented to you by your advisors. During the game, you will have to face and solve various crises in order to avoid the fate that has befallen UNS Tantalus. The game is quite long, giving you hours upon hours of enjoyable play and revealing a rich, complex, and well-written sci-fi plot. Once you complete the game, you will be given a score for your performance, allowing for some replayability by trying to improve on your score in later games.
The only weak point of Alien Legacy is that combat can be controlled only at the strategic level. Once you reach a point in the plot where you are beset by enemies, you can decide where to station your vehicles and how to arm them, but the actual combat resolution is automatic. You can, however, directly attack ground targets, which becomes useful as the plot progresses.
The game's mouse-driven interface is very comfortable. The sound is also quite good, with nice background music and various sound effects. Together, the sound and graphics very well convey the mysterious atmosphere of the Beta Caeli star system.
All in all, this is a very good strategy/exploration game with an excellent plot, a true gem which should give you many hours of enjoyable gameplay.
Designed by Joe Ybarra, designer of the classic Starflight games, Alien Legacy is an excellent space strategy game with a good dose of adventure and action elements thrown in. In the tradition of Starflight, explore and build new colonies on distant planets while researching alien technologies. The cliche plot at the start soon evolves into an interesting mix of alien espionage, mysteries, and intergalactic conflicts. A solid game (although not a classic that Starflight is) that was severely underrated and underhyped, and light-years better than the its overhyped cousin Outpost.
People who downloaded Alien Legacy have also downloaded:
ANNO 1602: Creation of a new world, Allied General, 7th Legion, Emperor of The Fading Suns, 101 Airborne: The Airborne Invasion of Normandy, Armada 2525: Deluxe Edition, Battlezone (1998), Dominus
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