History: This is the game that wandered from one company to another from Three-Sixty Pacific to IntraCorp to Mission Studios and finally to Take 2. The game finally released for Christmas and I found it sitting under a "No Refunds" sign at Best Buys Computer Store here in Maryland. Be careful, since the game is highly bugged.
When I originally met Derek Smart, over seven (7) years ago, I was very impressed by his product, screen shots and game play. Derek is a brilliant self promoter and his product was and is beautiful. Perhaps a little aging the product and concept was wide reaching and mind boggling. Derek had done his homework, a man obsessed with a great concept and a potentially great game.
Unfortunately, we cannot report other than a tragic ending to this tail of the seven year quest. The current game is very bugged and even though the brilliant and talented Derek Smart promises to make the game right with fixes and patches, it just does not have the ring of truth. Very few game developers have the luxury of working on a product for seven years, as Derek has. And it appears that Take 2 has also lost faith in the continual schedule changes and release dead lines pushed back. Why else would Take 2 release such a shoddy product.
Don't get us wrong. We wish Derek and Take 2 all the best. We hope that Derek delivers on his promise, because I really want to play this game.
Plot: In Battlecruiser3000AD (BC 3000), the power hungry Gammulan Empire hovers on the brink of galactic conquest. The Galaxy's organization of free worlds, GALCOM, has assigned its most gifted commanders (that means you) to combat and thwart the Gammulan threat. You command a mighty Battlecruiser: part battleship, part carrier, and part explorer.
The plot is wide open. Like Origin's Privateer, you can command your own cruiser, launch interceptors, save planets, trade goods, and manage a crew. Derek had also promissed shuttles, all terrain vehicles and marines as features of the game, but these have not materialized because the game engine cannot implement them.
Game play: The game play is very buggy, but it is improving almost daily with Derek Smart's patches.
Modes: can be played in one of three different modes of play: x-treme carnage mode, advanced campaign mode, and the free flight mode. The x-treme carnage mode is primarily used for training, but can also serve the function of fast-paced hard core arcade action. This will provide the green commander with the necessary training he/she will need to enter the "real world" side of the game. The advanced campaign mode is designed for the experienced commander and provides him or her with full freedom and decision making power. The advanced campaign mode is a non-mission driven mode allowing for extensive replayability. Finally, there is the free flight mode, which allows the player to create his/her own missions and objectives, and gives the game a more linear direction.
Interface: Many of the commands are hot key combinations of the Alternate and Control keys and some letter. And while I love hot key commands and think they should be in every game, there are no mouse or mouse based menu equivalents, which will disappoint many.
Graphics: Advanced 3D modeling and texture mapping compliments a true 3D polygon world complete with texture maps, light source, gouraud and phong shading, all interleaved with breathtaking rendered cinematic sequences. Almost five years ago when Derek Smart first showed me the graphics from BC3000, they were impressive. Since that time a lot of new innovations have developed in the world of graphics and unless major changes were made to the original graphics, the innovations that Derek used may fall behind the graphic brilliance of many of the products today. One of the innovations was the ability to render images on the fly and to generate a more real moving object. One sequence that smart was showing was a ship moving through space. For that time the images were remarkable.
Craft: The battlecruiser holds four attack aircraft and is charged with a multiple mission of exploration, carrier and battleship. The cruiser has a crew of 75 and can hold its own in a fire fight. Also fly the fighter aircraft.
Combat: Little is known. The large capital ships will bash the little ones to pieces with their hulls if you do not turn off the collisions.
Missions: Both space and planet surface missions
Strategy game: You'll need a quick mind and a keen sense of command to negotiate, trade, and if necessary, fight the 12 alien species found in the galaxy. Intelligence, diplomacy, and a thorough knowledge of your ship will all come into play as you strive to bring a lasting peace to the Galaxy. Uses the first ever neural net-based AI system in an entertainment software release. The neural net is such that in real time, the entire game and all of its elements lives and is free form. Sound: Over 1.5 Mb of digitized sound effects and MIDI music
Documentation: The 30-page manual is woefully inadequate for any kind of manual and certainly for a game of this scope. Derek Smart wrote a 100-page manual that simply never got published. According to sources at Take 2, a 125-page manual was printed by Take 2, but all the commands were changed just prior to producing the game and Take 2 found it too expensive to reprint the large manual with the new commands.
Multi-player: currently the game is not multi-player, yet. Derek may hawk this one to the online gaming people since it is made for this venue
Computer Gaming World, number 146, September, 1996, pg. 32.
Bernard Dy, Computer Player, volume 3, number 6, January, 1997, pg. 58, 50%.
Dan Bennett, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 1, January, 1997, pg. 208, 15%.
Talk to Derek Smart, http://www.bc3000ad.com/Commanders_Forum/