Starlord is a game of exploration and conquest from Mike Singleton, the author of the similarly-focused Midwinter and The Lords of Midnight. As the title implies, Starlord is set in a science-fiction world, as opposed to the fantasy universes of those previous games.
Your family are Starlords of a single planet, but seek dominance of a vast space consisting of 1000 individually-ruled planets. If you are to come out on top you will have to manage resources across each of your starbases, using revenue to ensure enough fuel, food and minerals are available. Trade with other leaders and form tactical agreements.
To actually take over planets, you will have to lead your ships into space combat, which is played out in multiple-view 3D.
Starlord: The Game of Galactic Domination may at first sight look a bit complicated, but it is a true gem of a game when you get into it. Starlord is set far into a future in which humanity has spread all over the galaxy and divided it under a feudal system. In the general order of the universe, the Emperor commands the Kings and Queens, who have power over the Dukes and Duchesses. They in turn rule over the Earls and Countesses, and under all of these are the Lords and Ladies.
You can choose from three scenarios, all of which offer a choice of rank (from Lord/Lady to King/Queen). You are also offered a choice between Dynasty mode, in which, if you get killed, you assume control of your heir; and Single Starlord mode, in which your death signals the end of the game. At the start of the game, trading is a good way to make money in order to buy and supply your own small fleet. Buy some gunships to defend your home planet, and off you go to wage war. You can then start taking over some of your neighbors until they all fly your family's banner, or you can decide to replace your lord and gain control over his vassal, work your way up through the hierarchy, and one day seize the Emperor's throne.
Combat in Starlord has an interesting twist due to the strength of your ships being dependent on your rank - e.g. the Emperor has the best ships. When you enter battle, you can field up to 255 wings which can be issued orders on the combat map. You can then speed up time and watch the battle unfold - all battles can be fought like this. Once you get your personal star fighter (which is better than the bog-standard ones your wingmen get), you can let the AI automatically fight for you (which allows you to see the battle in 3D from several angles including inside the cockpit), or you can turn off the AI and fight the battle yourself, although admittedly I haven't done this properly.
All in all it's a very enjoyable game which can last as long as you want it to. You can decide that your goal is to simply become Emperor or, having done that, you can attempt to take over the entire galaxy.
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