Wie hat Euch eigentlich „Sim City“ gefallen? Toooll, aber ein Gegenspieler wäre halt schön gewesen? Wie bitte, mit der Ökologie hättet Ihr auch ganz gerne ein bißchen exerimentiert? Ja, dann holt Euch doch einfach die neue Echtzeit-Simulation von Millennium!
Denn als allgewaltiger Chef einer außerirdischen Kolonie darf man hier seine städtebauerischen Fähigkeiten wahlweise alleine ausleben, an einem cleveren Computergegner messen oder gar per Nullmodem gegen einen gleichgesinnten Spezi um die Wette zivilisieren. Die Lebensqualität (Durchschnittstemperatur, Bodenschätze ysw.) des zu besiedelnden Planeten kann ganz nach Belieben eigestellt werden; daneben warten acht fixfertige Szenarios von der Eiswelt bis zum Regenwald auf biodynamisch wertvolle Kolonisten.
Wie oder wo auch immer, zunächst setzt man in bester Sim-Tradition ein paar Stadtviertel in die Pampa, welche von einem Wind- oder Solarkraftwerk versorgt werden sollen – denn hier haben Energieverschwender schlechte Karten! Damit wir uns richtig verstehen, die Rede ist erstmal von einer spezifischen Game-Power, dem Mana aus „Populous“ nicht unähnlich. Alles, was man tut oder baut, kostet ein Quentchen dieses Lebenssaftes, andererseits wirft eine florierende Kolonie ja genügend davon ab. Leider gilt das auch für Dreck und Industrieabfälle, welche mit Recycling-Centern und Aufbereitungsanlagen entsorgt werden müssen; andernfalls verpufft die kostbare Energie, ja es drohen gar Umweltschäden bis hin zur Klimatkatastrophe. Gottele, dann bauen wir halt mehrere kleine Städtchen, um an unser täglich Mana zu kommen. Gute Idee, nur leider ist die erforderliche Benutzung von Übersichtskarten, Tabellenmaterial und dergleichen ebenfalls nicht kostenlos, selbst fürs Terrain-Scrolling muß gelöhnt werden! Zudem wachsen die Orte ganz von alleine weiter (auch wenn man sich nicht um sie kümmert), was dem Spieler zwei bis drei Striche durch die ökologisch ausbalancierte Rechnung machen kann.
Damit nicht genug: Erdbeben erschüttern die Scholle, man kann Bergbau treiben, um Kohlekraftwerke zu versorgen, für Atommeiler nach Uran buddeln, Farmen anlegen und sogar (auf rein strategischer Basis) gegen den oben erwähnten Widersacher zu Felde ziehen. Daß derlei kriegerische Aktivitäten jedoch dem Öko-Gleichgewicht nicht unbedingt zuträglich sind, kann man bereits an den ebenfalls verfügbaren Katastrophen-Szenarios ermessen, wo z.B. eine postnuklear verseuchte Welt der Rettung harrt. Aber auch an zuviel Kohlendioxid, Ozonlöchern und vergifteten Böden darf man sich versuchen.
Die Umweltfreundliche Welten-Simulation präsentiert sich wie beim Maxis-Vorbild in grafisch schlichter (und kaum animierter) Vogelperspektive, neben dem großen Terrain-Fenster pflügt die Maus durch ein Feld mit diversen Steuericons. Vom Sound ist eine nette Titelmelodie zu vermelden, die drei FX vergessen wir besser. Fazit: Komplexes Öko-Klimbim für den passionierten Sim. (jn)
Amiga Joker, April 1992, p.14
Game: Global Effect
Do you care about the environment? Do you really? Then Millennium – of all people – may have the game for you...
Authors: Toby Simpson (programming), Rob Chapman (graphics) and Richard Joseph (music)
Release: Mid May
Game: Global Effect
dd, isn’t it, how quickly our expectations change? In the old days, fore example, motor cars were thought of as pretty exclusive, the preserve of the rich; now everyone has got one. Bread and jam was once a rare tea-time treat; these days you can bite into a marmalade sandwich any time you like. And now, thanks to games like Populous, Sim City and Mega lo Mania, even becoming Supreme Master of the Universe can so easily be taken for granted.
Global Effect is a ruling-the-world game with a ‘right-on’ slant. So as well as building up cities and armies, at the touch of a button you can call up global warming charts, ozone layer surveys and carbon dioxide readings. You can also plant sustainable forests and build recycling centres and I’d be surprised if there is not an option for setting up women-only vegetarian drama workshops buried in here somewhere. But, er, back to the armies and things, eh?
The snag is, before your troops can start advancing across the globe you have really got to establish some sort of economic infrastructure to support the industry necessary for producing the machinery of war. And in that respect, Global Effect is extraordinarily similar to Sim City (only not so good). Cities are built up out of just the same sort of building units – blocks of flats, power stations, cables, pipes – although sadly there are no sports stadiums or airports, and no roads with little cars driving along them. (Shucks).
But that is all boring stuff. I know what you want to hear about: BLOWING THINGS UP. Er, I would not hold your breath, but there are some basic facilities available. Once your ‘power meter’ is high enough you will be able to start building air and naval bases, from which you can send out planes and boats to attack the enemy. These can be programmed with courses, and then switched over to manual if any precision bombing is called for. Boats are a bit crap, as they take ages to get anywhere, but planes can be loaded up with bombs and flown in huge formations towards enemy cities. You can probably imagine what happens when they get there. (Do not get too wild with anticipation, though. There are no explosions or anything. Buildings just vanish, to be replaced by brown wasteland).
Global Effect’s graphics are a bit useless all round, actually. They look okay from a distance, but when it comes to actually working out what is what you begin to realise how hastily they must have been knocked up. A nuclear power station looks pretty much like a block of flats, as does a recycling plant and a coalmine. And electricity cables are practically impossible to make out against the background, and never seem to connect up to things properly. (Neither do pipes).
Another annoyance is that the map does not have wrap-around (so much for ‘global’), so to bomb something on the other side of it you have got to fly all the way around the world, even if your target is technically just round the corner. Tch. Oh yes, and every time you want to put something down on the map you have got to spend ages scrolling through a list of options, one by one, until you get to the one you want. Pull down menus would be miles easier.
BUT IT GETS WORSE!
And that just about sums up Global Effect if you ask me – flawed. The environmental angle is admirable, and has been quite well integrated with the basic Sim City sub-structure. And the military side is great, getting the job done without becoming too wargamey. But, when it comes down to it, monitoring holes in the ozone layer just does not make for a particularly riveting game (even if you do get to grips with the power meter). I never found myself wanting to stay up all night to play it (like I used to with Sim City), or being moved to tears when one of my settlements was overcome by the enemy (as with Powermonger), or getting really annoyed when I kept swallowing bits of tin foil (as with those new ‘chunky’ Dairy Milk bars).
I must admit it feels a bit weird giving such a big, complicated game from such a highly respected publisher such a weedy mark, but I would be fibbing if I did anything else. Sorry.
Amiga Power, Issue 13, May 1992, p.p.66-67
As a peace-loving earth child with flowers in his hair, Martin Pond skipped and danced barefoot through the forests on hearing he was to review Global Effect from Millennium. My, what a jessie!
Global Effect is one of those smart games that lets you create your own utopia and then surround it with nuclear power stations and sewage works. The computer generates a world for you with continents, oceans and ice caps. It places a smattering of mineral deposits beneath the land, traces out a web of seismic fault lines, and creates an atmosphere with a certain temperature and ratio of constituents. Et Voila! It's like a Pot Planet, it's that instant.
There are a number of stock scenarios featuring stuff like Ice Ages, nuclear winters, global warming, earthquakes, volcanoes and pollution. The remedy for these situations usually revolves around planting trees, switching to non-fossil fuels, refraining from detonating weapons of mass destruction and putting the population on a strict vegan diet. You can also introduce an 'evil empire' to spice things up. This is played by the computer - as an economic bully boy seeking world dominance through industrial blitzkrieg, or as a warmongering junta who would sooner nuke the planet than share it with anyone.
Anyway, your main aim is to build up a civilisation without treading on Mother Nature's toes. Building up a settlement involves piecing together components such as city blocks, farms, mines and power stations. You'll also have to furnish each city with a fresh water supply and sewage works.
You can put your nation on a war footing via the Battle Menu. The first thing to do here is to set up your own bunker, an air-conditioned stronghold from which you can conduct thermo nuclear Armageddon. Then you can construct missile bases, airfields, naval dockyards, early-warning radar and anti missile battalions. A battle map shows the current positions of your active units (up to 25 at any one time) and the coverage of your radar network. You can also use it to program in the co-ordinates of that small collection of enemy trees you want to wipe off the map.
Zero, June 1992, p.32
Martin: By the nature of the subject matter, a world sim tends to be a bit on the complex side. While ideally it should be realistic, you don't want the game to suffer through being over-complex. As part of their global warming studies, the Meteorological Office uses Cray super-computers to model the atmosphere, with programruns that can last months. Now, although gameplay is far from addictive, scientists still take the results with a pinch of salt.
At the other end of the scale, Global Effect simulates, on a 16-bit, the interaction of industrial, environmental and military factors in managing the world balance. So as you can imagine, Millennium has cut a few corners to make it user-friendly. It's certainly easier to use than Sim Earth, so you don't need to be Jonathon Porritt to understand what's going on. However, the game does suffer from trying to spread itself too thin, and the choice of which environmental factors have been included and which ignored seems to depend on what's fallen off the bandwagon.
However, for all that it is great fun to play, I have to admit I was a bit of a fascist meathead and played it as a battle sim. But I'm sure that it would be just as much fun if you were to smear yourself in Body Shop products, put an album of whale music on your Walkman and set about turning back the rising sea levels and plugging the holes in the ozone layer.