Preview by Al Giovetti, 12/20/96
Genre: war game
Publisher: Strategic Simulations Incorporated (SSI)
Company line: The latest title in the 5 STAR SERIES from SSI, Star General uses an enhanced Panzer General engine, that allows the player to wage war through the galaxy, fighting both in space and on planet surfaces. Success will require more than just Generalship - fail to properly manage your planets and technology bases, and you'll find yourself unable to defend your planets from the hostile races of the Galaxy. Not a micro-managing nightmare, the resource management aspect of this game is well balanced: Important enough to win wars, but easily managed without tedium.
History: Strategic Simulations Incorporated (SSI) has been around for many years. After the demise of Strategic Publications Incorporated (SPI), who did paper map based war games using the hexagonal movement space, SSI was one company that took up the hexagonal movement space and took it into the arena of the computer.
SSI followed with such solid fantasy titles as Phantasie I and II and others including Eternal Dagger and Wizard's Crown. But basically SSI was first and foremost a computer war game company who used the hexagonal grid. With the new general series of Panzer General, Allied General, and Fantasy General, SSI reasserts its leadership in this format, and quells the concerns of the war game player, that the hex-based game is here to stay.
Plot: Star General pits up to seven alien races against one another in a galactic battle of conquest. The seven races include deceitful Cephalians, reptilian Dragonian, feline Hressa, unusual Human, barbarian Khalian, fascist Schleinel, and insectoid Xritra. Like all true real time strategy games, each race has its own unique characteristics and weapons to increase the game play.
The Schleinel have a death blossom which reminds me of the Star Pilot movie from the seventies, which is actually a long range artillery that decimates weakened ships. The Khalian's have Raider infantry units that quickly eliminate planetary production units. Cephians have the ability to develop new devices quickly that can throw the balance of any encounter into their hands.
Xritra have a very high reproductive rate and an in depth knowledge of biology that gives them the edge in producing biological weapons. Hressa are exceptionally fast, tenacious, and skillful fighters who concentrate their attacks on the most powerful ships in the opposing fleet. Draconians are paranoid, cautious and usually build ships out of natural asteroids and add as many weapons as will fit.
Game play: Technologies and weapons are upgradable like in Civilization giving some races who concentrate on these upgrades faster advantages at the cost of army strength or other factors. What is a two level combat system?
Scenarios: There are twenty scenarios, where you must use limited intelligence to determine where the enemy is and destroy them. The universe consists of over 100 planets to conquer.
Units: There are 90 different types of units from ground forces to space ships. Ships include mine , hunters, assault, transport, recon, battleships, missile boats, battleships, carriers, destroyers. On the planet surface you have space docks for launching ships, mines to produce monetary units, factorys to manufacture ships, plant, and biodome to support population.
Graphics: All the graphics are in three dimensions with rendered vehicles and units.
Animation: Cinematic battle scenes help to set the mood and involve the game player with the action.
Voice actors: none
Sound effects: Limited to eplosions.
Multi player: Seven player simultaneous TCP-IP Internet and IPX Local Area Network play. Two player direct connect through null and phone modem.
Brad Craig, Boot, volume 1, number 5, January, 1997, pg. 97, (90%).