Exodus 3010 (Second Review)

Title           Exodus 3010 (Second Review)
Game Type       Action Strategy
Publisher       DMI/Demonware
Players         1
Compatibility   All (but problems above 020)
Disks           2
HD Installable  No
Submission      Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer

I feel a bit of a fraud writing this review because despite my best
efforts I've made very little progress with Exodus 3010, but then I don't
think many other people will have either, given the game's lack of a
reasonable manual, so that hopefully makes this less than comprehensive
review a fair and valid reflection of the game.

Exodus 3010 puts the player in control of a spaceship that has recently
left the soon to be destroyed Earth. The Mothership (as it is referred to)
contains hundreds of frozen humans that will become the new future of
mankind when the chosen planet is reached. The journey will be long and
difficult and encounters with aliens, some of whom are hostile, will be
frequent. Resources on your ship, the Starlight, are very limited so you
must plunder asteroids etc in the hope of recovering vital minerals and
certain other supplies. The intention I believe was to create a sort of
Space Ark based version of Millennium 2.2 or Deuteros.

Presentation initially appears to be very good, with a nice high
resolution title screen, and atmospheric and well arranged music. A short
and simple intro animation shows the fate of the home planet and the
mothership racing off for a safe haven. Clicking the mouse exits the
credit sequence and the game itself starts. This is quite impressive
actually because the main screen is composed of several rectangular
displays, and these burst out of the screen at you leaving the impression
that the programmers were familiar with the inner workings of the Amiga
hardware. In conjunction with the look and feel of the intro sequence it
seems likely that the programmers were former Demo coders, but I'm only
guessing here.

The main screen as mentioned above is broken into several rectangular
areas including an Info window, a Located Areas display, an Alien Objects
display and a selection area that allows you to access other parts of the
mothership, and to load and save games.

The engine room shows something more reminiscent of a WW2 U-Boat engine
than the power unit of an advanced spaceship; full of complex mechanical
parts moving back and forth. These can be clicked on and their damage
assessed and repaired when necessary.

The Pilots screen is similar in appearance to a music software package,
and shows your 46 frozen pilots in graph form. In other windows on the
screen you can access 102 tapes which will program the pilots with various
levels of skill and personality traits, or, if you so choose, you can trim
these by hand.

The Products screen shows all the various materials you have to hand, as
well as the equipment you can manufacture with it, so for example if you
wish to make a Blue Giant Fighter, you will need three items; iron, a
computer and an impulse system, although some of these in turn are
composed of simpler components. You must find out what your chosen item is
composed of and set about putting it into production. The problem is that
you have a very limited stock of components and it is not clear how useful
your chosen item will turn out to be.

There is also a Laboratory screen where you can combine three componets
and force a reaction, hopefully creating a new and useful material, but
all too frequently damaging your ship instead.

After you've produced a ship you'll be able to send it out on a mineral
recovery mission (assuming you are near an asteroid) or a combat mission
(if appropriate). Once you've succeeded in launching your ship you are
initially presented with the ship control screen where up to 10 ships can
be controlled at once. This is quite well designed, with separate windows,
each with tactical displays and some simple objectives to give the
corresponding ship. Flying the mission yourself though would seem to be a
more challenging endeavour, and this presents you with a cockpit based 3D
display. Suffice to say, that had David Braben been exposed to Exodus
3010's 3D specification it is highly unlikely he would have felt
intimidated. It is not that special. Although it is fairly functional
while flying and turning in a horizontal plane, any vertical movement
(pitching up or down) is far more sluggish and raises concerns about the
capabilities of the programmer involved, or perhaps the amount of time he
was allowed.

I can't tell you much more about Exodus 3010 because I was unable
to progress further. My feeling is that while the idea for the game was
sound, the designers failed to combine the various screens into a
cohesive game that captivated the player. The necessity to search for the
correct method (or key) for achieving even basic objectives felt more like
frustration to me than well designed puzzle elements. The necessity for
disk swapping (only DF0 is used) does not help things either. Sadly then,
for me at least, this game failed to realize its considerable potential.

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