An early 4X space strategy game that foreshadowed the more recent Master of Orion I and II. The game can be played with 2-6 players, any combination of which can be either human or AI controlled. There is no real sound in Armada 2525, save for the occasional system beep. Game play can be either open ended or set to a specified number turns. There is no set objective to gameplay (except for your 4X's) and the story line is almost non-existant: It is the year 2525 and as your race begins its first step in extra-planetary colonization, you discover that you are not alone in the galaxy. You must compete with up to 5 other races in colonizing planets, and the near lack of diplomatic interaction in the game pretty much insures that you will need to build defenses early on. Unlike Master of Orion, diplomacy only occurs when an opponent requests peace, but you cannot make such requests yourself.
Armada 2525 offers a fair assortment of ships (approx. 20) and buildings (approx. 15), which can only be built after the appropriate technological advance. One can build research labs which are dedicated to one of eight available scientific fields: weapons, construction, hyperspace, force fields, biotech, planetology, info science, and psycho science. Combat can be controlled to an extent - though you cannot affect the individual actions of ships, you can issue general orders and arrange them into formations.
Your race will start at a predetermined homeworld from which it will expand to colonize new solar systems in the usual 4X quest of exploring, expanding, exploiting, and exterminating of your opponents.
Interstel ended its troubled career on a strong note that unfortunately went unnoticed: Armada 2525 is a space strategy game that looks and feels like a solid update of the venerable Starfleet, although computer AI is a letdown compared to that classic. There are also numerous bugs in the game, as well as an inadequate manual that isa far cry from Interstel's usual standards. Everything about the game suggests that it was released well before its time. Still, the abundance of galaxies to conquer, a lot of structures to build, and a neat tactical combat module add up to a fun game that deserves a closer look. Had it not been Interstel's last game made during the time of the company's last financial turmoils, Armada 2525 would no doubt have gotten much more strenuous beta testing and more aggressive promotion. Fortunately, designer R.T. Smith did spend more time on the game and released it after Interstel's demise as Deluxe Edition.
Note: Here is an interesting anecdote about the game from Paul Meyer, ex-programmer at Origin: "At the CGDC the spring after this game came out, I learned that, despite their usual explicit tolerance for after-hours gaming, Armada 2525 was explicitly banned from the SSI offices. Apparently people playing it were failing to go home, and this was affecting schedules." And who said game programmers don't get addicted to games by other companies? ;)
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