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PLATFORM PC

Startopia Review

GAME INFO
publisher: Eidos Interactive
developer: Mucky Foot Productions
genre: Action Strategy

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS
PII-350, 64MB RAM, 8MB 3D accelerator
ESRB rating: T
homepage:
www.startopiagame.com/

release date: Jun 19, 01
» All About Startopia on ActionTrip


Some two years after they published their first game, Urban Chaos, the British-based Mucky Foot decided to give us a new game to play. Mucky Foot seems to have been disappointed, as their "Urban Chaos" did not become as successful as Miss Croft, so they went back to their roots. The motherly influence of Bullfrog and its successful god sim-games left strong marks on all companies founded by the programmers who used to work for it (Lionhead Studios, Elixir Studios...). Soon after you get into the game you will feel the strong influence of blockbusters like Populous, Black & White, Sim City, Theme Hospital and Dungeon Keeper...

In difference to the mentioned games, Startopia will take us to far space and give you the role of someone who is in charge of a Space Station (which used to be the working title for this game, by the way). These seemingly boring donut-like pieces of metal junk are crammed with strange creatures, and what's more, you'll have to take care of their needs...

On the beginning of each challenge, you get three floors on one eighteenth part of that donut, a smart VAL computer for an advisor, several scuzzer droids in a constructive mood, a certain amount of energy and several crates containing blueprints for basic structures. These basic structures are for instance the Energy Collector, Power Booster and Re-charger providing you elementary existence and giving you a port through which your future inhabitants may come. Once they do start coming, it will be up to you to find a way to keep them there and give them an enjoyable life from which you can profit as well. You will soon get used to the routine: first you build the Dine-O-Mat restaurants, Lavetrons, Recyclers and Sick Bays, and then move on to the remaining two decks of your segment: the pleasure deck and the bio-deck. The Pleasure deck is there to provide entertainment for the inhabitants of your station, and it can hold shops, discos, Love Nests, Music Shops, motels... Last but not the least, the Bio-Deck is a bit more specific as it represents a sort of an artificial botanic garden in which you can play god just like in Populous: you can lower and raise ground, water it, dry it, cool it or heat it. This is where your farmers will grow food, and some of your inhabitants will come here to rest, hunt or swim...

I guess you started realizing by now how difficult it will be to please your inhabitants. Now, to make things even worse, your station will be inhabited by a great number of different races, all of which have specific requirements. First, you get to meet the becoming and smart Grays who are quite good at medicine, then, the Salt Hog worker race, then the Grekka Targ - specialists for radars and sensors, the friendly Space Sirens, the belligerent Kasvagorians, Turrakken scientists, farmers and Zedem Monks... If you do not treat every race properly, you're in for trouble: If the Grays have insufficient entertainment, they lose all motivation for work. If you do not assign enough work to the Kasvagorians they will start fighting other people, if you pay no heed to the Zedem Monks, their annoying chanting will make all other races flee your station... Not to mention all other troublesome things that you can encounter in this game like filth, criminal and espionage...

Now, when you stabilize the situation, you're in for some trade. This segment of the game is fortunately less complicated than in other similar games. It all comes down to buying and selling to different races and the biggest dealer in the area -Arona Dall. You will know in advance what stuff can cheaply be acquired from what race and who is willing to pay handsomely for what merchandise. So, all you have to do is to wait for trade-ships to arrive at your station, and check their inventory for potentially interesting materials.

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USER SCORE
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ACTIONTRIP SCORE
8.0   Very Good


HIGHS
Good concept, playability, humor, graphics;

LOWS
Not impressive, tiny control glitches.

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