Outpost isn't perfect by any means. But with the release of version 1.5, it has traveled down the road toward that goal much further than the abysmal, buggy initial release. For fans who really wanted the original to be good (myself included), here is a partial list of the most important design upgrades made by Sierra and incorporated into this release. The manual has been expanded and now contains data information that was so lacking in the first edition and an 80-turn tutorial (or walkthrough) has been included to cover the basic aspects of game play. One of the biggest goofs in computer game history occurred when the original release totally ignored the all important trucking aspect of moving minerals and ore around your base yet hyped it as a full feature. That has been corrected along with a functional robot tracker, robot command functions, moving assets from place to place, monorail capability, macro-management of secondary colonies (computer control) and the ability to quietly sabotage or infiltrate the rebel colony.
The graphics of Outpost are just as drop-dead gorgeous as the initial release and remain a pure pleasure to view on your computer screen. Hard science predictions and practical applications are integrated smoothly into game play and give you a feeling of real life prototypes and equipment (this isn't surprising considering the designer, Bruce Balfour, is an ex-NASA scientist). The story is about basic survival on a hostile, unfriendly alien planet with a deadly atmosphere and scarce resources. Survival ultimately depends on research and development and timely applications of new technology. One minor complaint deals with the unbelievable storyline that the remaining 400 members of the entire human race would willingly split into two rival factions bent on each others destruction at a time when the very existence of the race is in dire peril. If you can get past that absurd supposition, there is a lot of enjoyable and challenging game play to be found.
In an area where I simply disagree with some of the harsher critics of the game, I feel the design team was right on the money in suggesting the need for and importance of developing social skills and establishment of a very ordered society complete with laws and the wherewithal to enforce them. Certainly some sort of structured and rigid compliance with set policies would be a must for survival within such a confined place with deadly consequences resulting from a societal meltdown.
Outpost contains over one hundred researchable topics in the areas of astronomy, biology (medicine, physiology, ecology, etc.), chemistry, planetary sciences (geology, geography, meteorology), mathematics (AI, robotics, processors, systems analysis), physics (aerospace, communications, orbital mechanics, electrical engineering, theoretical physics and many more), social sciences (economics, psychology, urban studies, sociology, police) and the humanities (drama, fine arts, history, music, philosophy). Outpost can be a gritty and tough game to master and requires patience and the ability to juggle and control many different aspects of planet and people management.
People who downloaded Outpost have also downloaded:
Outpost 2: Divided Destiny, Ocean Trader, Microsoft Space Simulator, Silent Hunter: Commander's Edition, Sim City 2000, SimCity 3000, Star Wars X-Wing (Collector's CD-ROM), Star Trek: Bridge Commander
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