Emperor of the Fading Suns review by Al Giovetti
By Al Giovetti
Emperor of the Fading Suns
Often the beginning animation of a game is used to sell it to prospective publishers. This animation must tell the story and be aptly impressive. And so it is with this game, the beginning is a stunning cut scene of beautiful animation.
The Fading Suns universe and Emperor of the Fading Suns are the game world and game set backbone to an excellent paper and pencil RPG. Find out more about these non-cyber varients online at the Holistic Design Web Site
Holistic Design Inc. has been known for games such as Machievelli the Prince and Hammer of the Gods two games that Emperor of the Fading Suns resembles. Games in the strategy science fiction space opera category have had a rescent resurgence. One comparitive game is Microsoft's Master of Orion 2 (MOO2).
Company Lineor half a millenium, humanity has lived among the starts in darkness. Humans reached the stars long ago, building a republic of high technology and universal emancipation -- then they squandered it, fought over it, and finally lost it. A new Dark Age has descended upon humanity, for the greatest of civilizations has fallen, leaving ignorance and fear scattered among the ruins of many worlds. Now, even the stars are dying. Then, from the ashes of our ruin, Vladimir halted our decline. Proclaimed Emperor by popular decree, he united the Known Worlds of Human Space under his cunning and charismatic rule.
Vladimir created the great charter, declaring how the powers of rulership would be divided and how his successors would be elected. Five scepters for Mother Church, protector of our souls; five for the Merchant League, heralds of our past; and five for the Noble Houses, holders of our future. But each of these powers wished to rule in their own way, and schemed to gain complete power...at any price.
Vladimir's military might convinced the Noble Houses to concede his rule, for they could not stand in battle before this master tactician. The Merchant League, last remnants of the Second republic, made little pretense of their disdain for the charter of Vladimir. But they accepted his rule nonetheless, fearful of his popularity among the people.
The Patriarch of the Universal Church accepted Vladimir's rule on the condition that the Church present him the crown, thus ensuring its ritual role on approving all his succcessors. Vladimir's coronation as the first Emperor of the Known Worlds took place on Byzantium Secundus, which has been declared the Imperial Throne World.
In the year AD 4550 , Vladimir crowned himself with his own hands... ...and died an agonizing death at the hand of unknown powers. With Vladimir's death, his great union fell apart. Noble house turned on Noble house... ...igniting a war for the spoils of Vladimir's empire. The commonwealth of humanity was shattered, overcome by iron-fisted feudal lords. As the suns fade, so dies humanity's hope.
This the backdrop for the beginning of your Emperor of the Fading Suns game, and the images on theses pages have been captured from the actual rendered introduction animations.
The game involves diplomatic, economic, and military strategy. Like Dune, Civilization and many other games you build cities one structure at a time, research new technologies, and build armies and fleets of space ships. Exploration, like Colonization, is of undiscovered worlds, but instead of on earth, they are in space.
The game slows down the further into a game you go. Many moves can take over an hour to compute when you get up to about 300 moves due to the massive number of units involved. Conquering a planet can take from 25 to 45 turns to give you some perspective.
Technology maximums are reached relatively early in this game, as they are in many other games, and your technology centers are just wasted space with nothing to do. The game needs to have more levels of research, perhaps infinite levels in proportion to game play.
A high technology human civilization that enjoyed universal freedoms fell. The fall was followed by centuries of a dark age of desolation. Without the guidance of a strong hand to take the role of emporer the world will remain in this dark age.
You take the role of the heir to a nobile house. Your goal is to get elected as regent of the empire. Once regent you can declare yourself emperor.
Other houses oppose your rise to power and hence the land has been in the throws of a stalemate. The stalemate has prevented the world from returning to its former glory. The other powers include the Universal Church, and the Merchant League. Your goal is to gain the votes and favor of the other houses to support your rise to power.
The graphic presentation is standard overhead oblique perspective of two dimensional graphics
AnimationOther than the excellent cut scene animation, especially the opening movie, there is little animation in the game.
Music ScoreGood to exceptional music score.
Sound EffectsGood but not exceptional sound effects.
UtilitiesThe manual and tutorial are the bare minimum required with little in the way of real help or background. The install program overwrites your drives without asking your permission - a serious flaw in any game. Some claim there is a bug in the research portion of the program.
Multi-player FeaturesHot-seat five (two?) player and five-player play by electronic mail (PBEM) support only.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
JournalistsMartin says this one should only appeal to spaceploitation grognards. Hey bartender, make me one of those too. The reviewers seem to agree that this is a good game for those who like this sort of thing. It is a highly detailed and exhaustive simulation that takes many moves to do a simple battle.
ReferencesJeff James, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 12, May, 1997, pg. 93, 70%.
Martin E. Cirulis, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, May, 1997, pg. 174 - 178, 60%.
William R. Trotter, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 138, 75%.
Robert Mayer, Computer Games, issue 78, May, 1997, pg. 74, 80%.
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