The Universe is ending. Please logoff now.
   The Universe is ending. Please logoff now. Thursday - 25th May, 2017 - 03:00:36 

Site Menu  
Web News
Case Gallery
Contact Us
About Us


   Review : Strange Adventures »  


 Strange Adventures
 Date  : Apr 21st, 2002
 Genre  : Strategy
 Developer   : Digital Eel
 Author  : Jin-Ning Tioh

Simple, fast and fun games with fairly low production values and very low prices - A relic of the past? Not necessarily. Designers Rich Carlson and Iikka Keranen have managed to create a strange yet fun little game which comes mixed with a dash of strategy and adventure entitled Strange Adventures In Infinite Space. And while the concept and mechanics of Strange Adventures are very similar to those games which most old school gamers grew up on, almost everything that is fun about this type of gaming has been translated into a style that is extremely attractive today. Okay, so the graphics are extremely dated, sound is minimal, but the basic idea and implementation are outstanding to say the least.

Click To Enlarge

In the 22nd century, colony ships were programmed to search along trajectories calculated to visit stars with the best likelihood of hospitable worlds. One such ship with its crew and passengers in deep cryosleep traveled over 2300 light years before a suitable planet was found. Called Hope by the colonists, this temperate world is located in the Glory system on the edge of a vast nebula some refer to as the Purple Void, filled with a great many curiosities and attractions on dozens of different systems. It has been a hundred years since then. Technology has leaped forward and mankind is on the verge of a golden age of space exploration. However, there's a catch. According to the Exploration Pact of 4578, no ship is to explore the void until the new thorium fission drive has been perfected by the Galacticorp labs on Solace.

Lextor Mucron, notorious robot smuggler, Tiberian moonshine baron and wise guy plans to ignore the pact and send you on a mission to explore the void for ten years, bringing back as much neat stuff and other trinkets as possible. To this end, he has supplied you with a modified military corvette and crew, with its standard armor, weapons and drive intact together with a larger cargo bay to store all the neat stuff you come across. Thus begins your strange adventure in infinite space...

Click To Enlarge

The basic idea is simple enough. Players begin their space-faring adventures in the Glory system. From there, they proceed to explore other stars in the universe to discover planets, new alien races, exotic life-forms and collect valuable artifacts. Along the way, they'll also have to deal with a whole slew of problems including black holes, thieves and hostile aliens. Traveling from star to star is measured in days, and passing through a nebula will significantly affect your travel time which is limited. Passing too close to black holes will end your adventure rather quickly. Therefore some planning is required in order to return to the Glory system alive and on time. Entering a previously unexplored system will also lead players to discover a planet in orbit around the star. Knowledge of new planets is profitable information and will be tallied in your favor when the mission is complete. Higher rewards are given for the discovery of temperate planets as opposed to more rugged or inhospitable worlds. Players will also find valuable and at times useful alien artifacts. Clues as to their usage are often found in the item description. However, most items have no practical use and is simply considered as "treasure". Weird life-forms can also be captured and "cashed in" at the end of the game. Dangerous or tenacious life-forms may require many days to track and capture. Advanced systems for your corvette can also be found on the planets you visit. Friendly starships might even join your flotilla. The game ends when you return to Hope with your cargo hold filled to the brim with neat stuff, or die trying. In either case, you're given a total score. If you take too long, a late fee is deducted from your profits. If you die your score is cut in half. On the other hand, if you return safely, the game tells you what kind of career path you'll end up on, with your new wealth and status.

Click To Enlarge

Four main components are required to propel and defend your starship - A star drive, thrusters, shields and weapons. A star drive allows for travel between different systems at many times the speed of light. A good star drive is essential for exploring a larger area of space in a shorter amount of time. Thrusters is mainly used for tactical maneuvering in combat. Better thrusters will allow your ship to better maneuver and evade incoming fire during space battles. Shields are your primary defense against incoming fire from enemy starships, absorbing damage and protecting your various ship from harm. Better shielding absorb more damage and recharges faster. Weapons can be installed in the two weapon hard points located on your ship. Weapons can be divided into three categories - Missiles, projectile weapons as well as beam weapons. Guided missiles and beam weapons are good for capital ship encounters, while projectile weapons offer a good defense against smaller and more maneuverable enemies. Other ship systems include combat computers to improve the accuracy of your weapons, ECM devices to divert incoming missiles as well as other exotic systems and devices. With the right components, your little armada of ships can become quite formidable.

Click To Enlarge

In your exploration of the Purple Void, you'll often come across hostile alien races guarding planets and their respective discoveries. This leads to combat. Starship combat involves a pauseable real-time system that takes weapon ranges, ship speed as well as other factors into account. Each weapon has a different range - Projectile weapons usually have a shorter range but compensates with a rapid fire rate; Beam weapons have medium range and an average firing rate while missiles and torpedoes have a longer range but a slower rate of fire. Therefore each weapon has its own strategy and your explorer is particularly versatile in the sense that it can carry and use two. There's a combat simulator for you to test out various weapon combinations and strategies against different enemy types, which consists of basically fighters, scouts and corvettes. It's often a good idea to experiment and find out which weapon combination works best for you. If the odds are against you, you can choose to either call a friendly alien ship in for backup or beat a hasty retreat. If your ships manages to outrun the enemy, your armada will retreat to nearest explored system for safety. Either way, combat ends when one of the sides is destroyed or manages to escape. If you are victorious, you'll get to explore the planet and discover whatever treasures or surprises it might have. Which is why I hate it when my hyperdrive gets stolen after a particularly difficult battle. Grrr...

The randomness and short length of each game is exactly what makes Strange Adventures so engaging. The short length of each game, which usually lasts from five to 15 minutes, makes each session a little adventure that you can lose yourself in for a few minutes at a time. The randomness makes it difficult to plan a strategy, since so much depends on what your encounters present to you. If you're lucky to find an improved interstellar drive early on, you'll likely be able to explore most of the planets and get a high score. If you get yourself waylaid by a previously undiscovered black hole on the way back - Well, too bad. An addictive little game which will probably end up being a classic you fire up every once in a while you need a quick gaming fix.

 Print this article Home

 E-mail this article

 Discuss this article


Copyright 2000-2005 BlueSmoke. All rights reserved. Terms, Conditions and Privacy Information.
Site Design by Jin-Wei Tioh