If you sat down and spent some time with our exclusive playable demo on the March 94 issue of CU AMIGA you'll already know what a great game K240 is, you haven't even seen the half of it yet! K240, otherwise known as Utopia 2, is a massive game, and one that will keep you playing for months But what am I doing telling you to go out and buy it, I haven't even told you what it is yet!
TIGHTEN YOUR BELT
Sector K240 is an uncharted asteroid belt out in deep space, where huge chunks of rock rich in ores move slowly through the cosmos. It's these ores that have attracted you to the belt, where you hope to colonise these mini-planetoids, mine them for all they're worth and sell the lot for a whacking great pile of cash. Oh, life can be so carefree sometimes.
Except things are never that easy in real life. What? You weren't naive and egocentric enough to imagine that humans are the only race in the galaxy who would have a use for these precious ores? Six completely separate races of alien are also interested in getting their hand in, and as usual, aren't prepared to sit down and discuss territorial rights. Just this simple premise alone leaves you with quite a few tasks to uphold, namely: start and develop a mining colony, explore a massive region of space for asteroids and alien presence and win a war against the alien you eventually discover. It's a lot for one man to do, so you're going to have your work cut out.
You start the game with one asteroid, with only one building on it and a modest amount of cash. The first thing you have to do is get your mining colony up and running. For this you have to ensure you have enough in the way of housing and food for all the colonists who are going to live on your bit of rock, as well as making sure that radiation is kept to a safe level, there is enough power to keep all the buildings running, you have adequate medical and police operations running and, of course, that you have some mines actually collecting the ores. Once you have that out of the way, you can start looking at the rest of space.
Switching to a view of the entire belt, from the outset all you can see is a large grey screen with a black circle and a spinning asteroid in the middle of the circle. When I told you it was uncharted, I wasn't |oking. The asteroid on screen is yours, and therefore the only one you know actually exists in the belt. The black circle is as far as your sensors reach, and any asteroids that might drift into that belt will be given a name and displayed. Somewhere out in that inky blackness is an alien, who is trying to do exactly the same thing as you, and all you need to do eventually is locate it.
MORE THAN THE EYE CAN SEE
Combat plays quite a major role in the game, and as a result you're going to spend quite a long time just building weapons and getting them ready for battle. There are various different ways you can attack the opposition, from just firing a few missiles at their asteroid to going in for a full strike with a fleet of heavily armed ships. The sheer volume of aggressive weaponry in this game has to be seen - there are dozens of different ships, from small scout ships which go out and explore empty areas of space and record their findings to huge baltlecruisers with tens of gun emplacements and everything in between. But ships take quite a long time to cover the vast tracts of the void, and a well aimed volley of missiles can sometimes do the job so much better.
Again, you have a massive choice of missiles, provided you have the funds and the raw materials to build them. There are everything from small explosives to napalm and nuclear warheads right up to my personal favourite, a vortex missile, which creates a bolt of lightning that wanders around the asteroid for a limited time wiping out everything it touches.
With all this going on, you would expect K240 to be very tricky to actually play. Your assumption couldn't be further from the truth. A small series of icon banks, brought into being with the right mouse button, control everything in the game, and these are laid out in a logical way, and drawn in a way that makes them easily recognisable. In short, you don't really need to read the manual to get a lot from the game, just a little logical thinking. For example, if it seems to you that you need to do some deep bore mining to really get to the good stuff in your asteroid, simply look for the build icon, which resembles a building being built, and then select the deep bore mine. Want to build a ship? Go to the spacecraft icon, and then select build. What could be easier than that? To make life even easier, clicking and holding with the left mouse button on an icon extracts' it from the menu bank it's in, and places it out on the main display, making it much easier to find the next time you want to use it.
As I said right at the start. K240 is a huge game. There is a lot you won't get the first tew times you play it, and thanks to the unexpected events (see panel), the game will be constantly throwing new things at you for months. Play it for an hour, and you might as well kiss goodbye to half the year. A splendid sequel.
Well designed game from the Gremlin group. It has a sci-fi story, and atmosphere. The player should build up a base and keep an army of spacecrafts. It's a strategy like game.
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