The Ancients, an advanced civilization who apparently destroyed themselves in a fearful war 300,000 years ago, have left artifacts, ruins and tantalizing bits of their history scattered throughout the regions of the known galaxy known as the Spinward Marches. Any hint of the purposes behind the Ancients' ruins has lain dormant these many centuries and you're going to have to unravel the mysteries in an attempt to stop the destruction of the planet Rylanor, where one of the ruins has suddenly activated and is emanating a toxic waste that threatens to envelope the whole planet within seven years. To thwart this impending disaster, you'll need to travel to over 100 worlds within the Spinward Marches galaxy, searching for data and the Ancients' secrets that will eliminate the threat.
MegaTraveller 2: Quest for the Ancients is a role-playing game that includes characters with distinct and reasonable personalities and skills that affect gameplay, a moderately simplified version of combat and plenty of exploration and exotic locations. Your party consists of five characters (human or Vargr) of various career skills and ages. Both of these aspects play an important role in the game and, in fact, characters can be eliminated if their skills are no longer required or if they are injured severely or get too old. You decide whether or not to "renew" your characters for each successive term (4 years). Many of the skills are just window dressing and don't impact the gameplay too much, but some are mandatory (for example, medical or piloting). Combat is repetitive and isn't a highlight but you can try to avoid it where possible. After all, the main quest is exploring the galaxy looking for answers, not blasting your way to riches. You'll control one of your five characters with the other four taking their cues based on what your main character does (this was known as the intuitive PAL system where characters volunteer for duties best suited to their skills). This can be a problem but you have the option to override the PAL decisions if you wish. There are 10 distinct starship types, 35 career possibilities and nearly 200 skills (of which roughly 125 are meaningful to completion of the game) skills. On the more than 100 worlds, you'll visit starports, derelict ships, universities, ruins, casinos, taverns and much more as you explore. There is a vast number of sideplots (normally used for making money) which can be distracting, especially since you're under a deadline to save the planet (about 2700 days). Buildings and ships and most items in the game are simple icons and the game suffers from a serious lack of diversity in many areas.
MT2 has depth and you won't finish it in a few settings. Outdated by today's (1998) flashy RPG standards, the game is primitive in appearance and the gameplay slightly less so. Character interaction is limited and the sameness of the locations and actions are monotonous. MT2 offers a nostalgic look at the early days of role-playing.
Graphics: By today's (1998) standards, primitive, blocky and undeveloped. None of the flashy graphics you'll see in modern RPGs, but colorful and clear and appropriately thematic for depiction of an alien environment.
Sound: Not particularly inspiring and a bit repetitive.
Enjoyment: Too much emphasis on sideplots, not enough on main story. Fun to play at first but the sameness of the locations, artifacts and actions takes it's toll after awhile and the game becomes tedious. Not enough diversity in character interactions or general gameplay to inspire long term enjoyment.
Replay Value: Multiple options in character development and skill selections can make replays interesting. If something doesn't work well the first time, try again.
300,000 years ago, the ancients ruled the galaxy. It's now ~4000 AD and they're long gone. Unfortunately, one of their pyramids has started spewing slime that threatens to engulf the entire planet of Rhylanor. The player's party of adventurers must scour four subsectors of the Spinward Marches looking for clues to solve the crisis before Rhylanor is destroyed.
MT2 is a very faithful adaptation of the Traveller role-playing game with over 100 fully explorable planets (most with multiple cities and each with it's own sub-quests) and a non-linear story line.
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