Title Rules of Engagement Company Omnitrend/Impressions Game Type Strategy Players 1 HD Installable Yes Compatibility All Submission Angus Manwaring Profiled Reviewer Review First of all, I'm no expert regarding this game. When I'd come across the title before I'd always assumed it was another Universal Military Simulator type affair and was filled with gloom and dispondency. Actually, though, RoE is a real time, space fleet commander simulation. "A what?" I hear you cry in unison. Well, put it this way, you remember in the original "Star Trek", where they actually used to get into a battle from time to time, and Captain Kirk would issue orders, like, "Raise the Shields.", "One hundred percent dispersal pattern" and "Return fire!", well in RoE you get to do all that and a lot more besides. You are in control of a variable number of ships, and assigned missions which you must complete in order to advance. I've only scratched the surface of the game, but initially you'll be given tasks like chasing an enemy Transport, destroying her rather feeble escort, then boarding and capturing her. Things obviously get tougher when you go up against more challenging tasks and face a more skilful enemy. Having said that you can play all mission on Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced levels. The game has an intro of sorts, where you are given a brief history of events leading to the current war. Nothing to write home about, and the music is frankly rather primitive despite attempting something of a Star Wars theme once it gets going. RoE is apparently part of an "Interlocking Game System" where you can combine it with the game "Breach 2", and play through from one game to the other, within the same "game universe". Sounds interesting. That's the general idea behind the game, so how does it actually play? Well, the various screens despite being highly functional, actually have managed to be quite pleasing in form. The graphic design, in the way one column of buttons links to another has clearly been influenced by the consoles in "Star Trek NG" and once you become used to the system, and it's conventions, it's apparent that it's been cleverly and ergonomically designed. The main screens you use on a mission are Navigation, Communications, Tactical, and Data Retrieval. Initially the options available are a bit overwhelming, but as I said, the design insures that things soon become intuitive. To give you an idea of the detail, the maps are variable resolution, you can send any of your ships to any object with a wide variety of orders, like "Capture Outpost", "Destroy Enemy" or, heavens forbid "Surrender to Enemy". You can check all the systems on any of your ships, you can order their Captains to give you status reports. You can use a variety of missiles against enemy forces (or friendly) and you can adjust the focus of your laser right down to pinpoint accuracy where you can target specific systems on a ship, like Shields, Communications, Drive Systems or Life Support. I mentioned that you can board and capture other vessels, but you can also change your attitude so that you are presenting a different aspect to the enemy's weapons, useful if your port shield is badly depleted, for example. It should be clear that there's a great deal of game here, and if you're are prone to liking this sort of game, with it's relatively accessible depth, then you're in for a treat. I'd only criticise the game for lacking a little gloss here and there. True, the screens look pretty good, and the system has obviously had much time spent on it, to create a tasteful result, but it could use a little more polish. Sounds in particular are a little scarce, and it's almost a surprise when something happens that generates an audio effect. A little atmospheric background audio sprinkled here and there would have enhanced things a lot, in my view. That aside, RoE does appear to be a very solid game, and I'm surprised I haven't heard more about it.