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Review: Breed 96
By: Ken Anderson
No, don't get excited, it's not Alien Breed 3D 2 The Killing Grounds No
Honestly It's Not Doom At All My God Let's Make The Title A Real Belter
Lads v1.1. It's not even 3D.
Having just landed yourself the plum job of governor on an alien world,
you're given the task of single-handedly populating, feeding and clothing
an entire planet. Then, once it's old enough to stand on it's own two feet
for five minutes, you can boot it up the rear and send it out there to
start making you a few easy credits.
Looking very Sim City-ish at first, you can lay down power stations,
residential units and food cultivators on the planet surface. And - joy of
joys! - you get to join them up with little roads. Everyone loved doing
that bit in Sim City. Fortunately, there's no need to put down power
cables too, which removes the need to check that half the population is
still connected everytime you upgrade a side street.
Once you've got the bare necessities down, you can start researching bigger
and better things. Ore mines make fuel for your shiny new shapeships, and
droids need to be built to take care of the attacking mutants.
Mutants? Well, you haven't got the planet to yourself, y'know. Every now
and again, the mutants get a bit uppity and decide to take a pot-shot at a
few of your choice buildings. They're easily sent on their way, though -
any of your droids can be controlled directly, and are usually more than
capable of seeing off any mischievous mutant. Just in case any damage is
done, they can repair buildings too.
Once you've got the mines built and the spaceport ready, you can leave
terra firma and start talking to the opposition. If you're talking to any
of the other 3 races, you can start shipping goods back and forward, and
sit back and watch the creds roll in. Usually this trading procedure would
mean sending a ship to A to pick up X, then flying to Y to drop off X for Z
creds. Not in this game - set it all up with a few clicks of the mouse,
and your chosen ship will do a repeat run over and over again. Nice.
Of course, you don't get it all you're own way - there's wars too. Sooner
or later, your homeworld will come under the envious gaze of another race,
and then it's bang bang time. There's not much you can do at this point -
sit back and hope that all the defences and battleships you built will win
it for you. There's always any allies you've picked up along the way, too.
During the whole game, you have the helpful advice of an advisor to turn
too, so even when you're caught up in the mother of all battles, you'll
still have time to worry about the peasants being fed.
In the unregistered version, you can only build on one planet, the one you
started on. However, in the full version, any planets spotted by your
observatory can be probed, fought over if they're populated, and claimed
for your own. Then you have another little microcosm to build on, and
ultimately make you cash.
Hang on, unregistered? Full version? Breed 96 is shareware. It's freely
downloadable, and apart from a few minor restrictions like the one-planet
business mentioned above, it's complete. It will certainly give you a good
idea of what the whole game is above.
Breed 96 successfully combines the best bits from Sim City, Doom II and
Supremacy. It's slick, and it is _very_ easy to play - each icon has a
text explanation, and even with the limited documentation, the game
practically explains itself. Within 15 minutes of play - WITHOUT reading
the docs - I had a fair-sized living, breathing city, with lots of snakey
roads. Everyone loves doing the roads.
However, within an hour I had filled my home world. The available area
doesn't exactly afford you lots of space, and once it's full, all you can
do is demolish, rebuild, trade and try to ignore the advisor moaning that
there's isn't enough accommodation available. Of course, this restriction
disappears in the registered version when you can build on other planets.
Finally, this is the first game written in AMOS that had me completely
fooled. Usually I can spot an AMOS program at 50 yards - the chunky mouse
pointers, the lamiga+A task-switching, the jerky graphics. Apart from the
downside that it doesn't multitask, Breed is so polished and classy, I
couldn't tell it from any other game, shareware or otherwise.
You can download the latest version of Breed from
http://outland.cyberwar.com/~zool/Breed.html. The author, Damian
Tarnawsky, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pros: Easy to play and understand. Takes the best from others of the
genre, and combines them into a belter of a game. Try it out for free!
Cons: Limitied long-term appeal, especially in the shareware version.