Awakened from centuries long sleep in the 25th Century, Buck Rogers becomes an ancient military hero and symbol of earlier times. As he is brought up to date, he decides to join the New Earth Organization (NEO), to fight for his home planet.
Once he had fought in the cold war, a pilot sent into outer space to destroy a Russian weapons platform. He was successful, but his success destroyed the planet, as nuclear war was launched, and you went into a centuries long cryogenic sleep, abandoned by the people who could not retrieve you. In the centuries that he slept, Earth colonized the solar system. There are large groups of people on Mars, Venus and Saturn. The colonies once existed to bring resources back to an Earth that had problems sustaining itself.
But the intervening centuries brought a power shift. Now Earth is at the Mercy of the interstellar alliance RAM - formerly the Russian-American Mercantile, but now the superpower, based on asteroids surrounding the planet Mercury. Mercury exploits the Earth for resources, at the expense of Earth's population. Earth has fallen into barbarism, except for one small light - the New Earth Organization (NEO).
These "rebels" consider themselves freedom-fighters, and they are fighting for Earth's freedom from the interstellar powers. Call it patriotism, if you will, but Buck joins them - the only person alive who can remember when Earth was supreme and healthy.
Your first task is to create a party of six characters. Then, these six new NEO recruits are trained, and are thrust into the battle for Earth.
Buck Rogers is a comic book hero of the future, from a distant past. It was during both world wars that Buck Rogers was born as another comic book hero. In fact most super heroes (like Superman, Batman, Flash Gordon...) were born in that time.
Buck fell into a coma only to reawaken in the distant future, where he fights to save Earth, which has been turned into a galactic dump during his absence. You've heard of these heroic efforts and wish to join Buck Rogers, so you join NEO, a team that fights to put the Earth back to its deserved position as the cradle of civilization.
In this role playing game you are one of the cadets who witness the attack of the RAMs, which wanted to destroy the NEO training facilities. Along with your fellow cadets who survived the attack and some disorganized troops left on the planet, you need to prevent a disaster and make sure further troops can be trained here and that an army which will eventually save the Earth can be forged strong enough.
You can select a team of players from various races. Each race has its own qualities (some can not become warriors, but they make excellent mechanics or medics, while others could become engineers, but that would be a waste of their leadership and fighting abilities). As with any RPG you get some experience points to distribute and much more to gain (and distribute later on in the game) in order build up your character.
In this respect the game is a typical RPG. The interface is also very familiar, so if you played other SSI's role playing games you ought to feel right at home. The same goes for graphics and sounds. In fact, the game engine is the same as the one used for the Krynn games.
But there is off a difference. Buck Rogers is the first RPG game I actually played that is not placed in medieval or fantasy worlds. You're not crawling through dungeons, you're not exploring castles and you're not in a mystical magical forest surrounded by dragons.
OK, it's still not a realistic scenario, you're in the future and in space, but it was a nice twist, to be able to fight with lasers, fly off the planet and explore metallic containers in stead of chests (never mind, there are chests I'd always prefer to games ;) if you know what I mean).
So all in all a solid RPG with nothing really new or revolutionary (gameplay wise), but still it had a fresh feel to it.
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Buck Rogers: Matrix Cubed, Champions of Krynn, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Bard's Tale 1, Death Knights of Krynn, Bard's Tale 3: Thief of Fate, Bard's Tale 2: The Destiny Knight, Dark Queen of Krynn, The
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