Stars! Version 2.5
Review by Al Giovetti
Price: $20 - $40
Genre: online strategy
Developer: Star Crossed Software, firstname.lastname@example.org
Programmer: Jeff Johnson and Jeff McBride
Publisher: Empire Interactive Phone: 800-216-9706, 301-916-9302 Web site: www.empire.com Requirements: Windows 95 or 3.1, modem card for online play, 386, 33 MHz, 4 MB RAM, 2 MB hard drive space, 2X CD ROM, VGA graphics, sound card
History: This is one game that improves with time. Many programmers find that it is fun to tinker with their programs and constantly improve them. The internet as a delivery system for shareware fully supports this philosophy, and some developers like Star Crossed Software are taking full advantage of this new medium.
Stars! has been recently re-tweaked and improved from the first version that appeared during the late summer of 1995. Now there is a box and a large thick manual and the game has been commercially released by Empire Interactive. The new commercial version is version 2.70 but expect this game to change as new versions arise.
Plot: You take control of the helm of an alien race and conquer the galaxy. This is a space empire builder and you have your time in space to win the race.
Game play: Lots of things to do and plenty of statistics to monitor as you use the Windows interface to direct your game. Technology upgrades, alien race generator, colonize new worlds, build fleets of ships, and other features . Stars is a very complex game with lots to do and many things to monitor and manage.
Interface: Point and click with Windows pull down menus and a toolbar. The screens are filled with details with a small one-quarter screen window out into the Stars. Most of the windows are numeric and bar chart read outs of the various statistics. Stars has lots of micromanagement to keep up with.
Graphics: Pretty straight forward, mostly windows based menu systems with simple graphics. You can run the game at 640 x 480 pixels resolution and it will work fine on a high end pentium. The game can run at 1024 x 768 pixels which causes the details to stand out and allow you to really appreciate and view the complexity.
Utilities and Help: There is an online tutorial to deal with the steep learning curve. The manual has a great section to get you started quickly.
Multi-player: Up to sixteen players can play over the internet or network. The game also supports play by electronic mail (PBEM).
Daniel feels that the game is like "Spreadsheets in Space," a new cheesy movie by Mel Brooks.
Srtars! Web Site
Jeff James, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, pg. 91, recommended.
Scott Udell, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 61-62, 60%.
Daniel Morris, PC Games, volume 4, number 3, March, 1997, pg. 74, 75%.
Martin E. Cirulis, Computer Gaming World, issue 143, pg. 160 - 162, 80%.
Brett Jones, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 4, pg. 106, 88%.
Dan Nguyen, Games Domain, June, 1996,
Tom Chick, Game Center, 80%.
Mark W. Franz, Gamer's Zone, 100%.
T. Liam McDonald, Game Spot, 73%.
Kevin Perry, Happy Puppy,
Scott Bonds, Gamma Games
Trey Murf, Gamer's Zone
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