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Megatraveller 2 logo

Boldly travelling where no alien has gone before, the sequel to Empire’s flawed RPG sci-fi adventure has finally arrived. Forget fisticuffs and get thinking.

Megatraveller 2 I magine living 5,000 years in the future. Try to get your head around the concepts of travelling from star to star, planet to planet. Think of all this as commonplace and a huge Imperial government overseeing the situation. That’s the setting for MegaTraveller. These ideas are not particularly novel – the Traveller role playing game was born in the late sixties and early seventies. It has influence many parts of the science fiction world. The mind behind it was Marc W Miller. After the lukewarm reception of the first computer version of his system (The Zhodani Conspiracy) the inventor was called in to help with the design of this follow up.

The Quest for the Ancients takes a lot of its background details and plots from very early Traveller books. These have been enjoyed many times by pen and paper Travellers, and so were thoroughly play-tested for the computer version.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, an exotic race called the Ancients flourished for a very short time. They did lots of amazing things: like build starships, transport aliens (including humans) around the galaxy, move planets and suns around, and had a technology so advanced that even 5,000 years from now, people cannot fully fathom it.

Then, for reasons unknown, they left. Did a runner, blew town – they vanished. They left a lot of artefacts and ruins for archaeologists to ponder over. It is one such site that the game beings. For no apparent reason, one of the Ancient machines begins to work, producing corrosive slime. And it doesn’t stop.

The planet where it all begins (Rhylanor) is doomed within seven years unless your party can find a means of turning off the machine. Of course, a reward commensurate with saving a planet is offered – but you aren’t in it for the money, are you?

Play the role
RPGs are about assuming the identity and viewpoint of an individual, and making decisions from their viewpoint. They usually have little to do with rocket-propelled grenades. Step one is to invent a group or ‘party’ of such individuals. MT2 lets you play with a party of up to five characters. There are some ready made, but it’s more fun to make your own.

The first decision is the race of your character. As well as humans, evolved canines can also be selected – Vagr characters. Human Imperials refer to Vagr as “doggies” for obvious reasons, but Vagr have certain advantages. Gender is determined next.

After that comes the important question of statistics – how strong, dextrous, enduring, intelligent, knowledgeable and affluent a character starts out. It is very easy to keep ‘rolling the dice’ until a decent set of statistics shows up. A character has to start at age 18, and progress through a pre-game career before being able to adventure.

These pre-game careers vary from being an ex-member of the armed services, a professional (bureaucrat, diplomat, doctor and so on), a criminal (common rogue or space-going pirate), a law enforcer, or for those who like fantasy role playing – a barbarian, ignorant of high technology. Each class has its uses, and a good mixture is important to success.

Daunting at first glance, the character generation is quite simple to work through with a mouse – and it will produce as good a variation in characters as the real RPG. You also get a good, atmospheric piece of music too. All of the MegaTraveller rules are in there, including the Advanced Character generation (overly detailed – definitely not recommended except on wet Sunday afternoons.

Save the planet
MegaTraveller 2 is hard disk installable  MegaTraveller 2 needs 1 Meg to run You can play nearly the whole game with a mouse. To move, point at where you want to go – and the characters walk there. A nice touch is that they don’t stay in a rigid group, but tag along in a random, realistic fashion. Some of the common functions are mapped onto keys. This saves time when you get used to the game.

The main viewpoint is sited directly above the characters. Most of the action takes place in settlements, although the occasional excursion to an Ancient site is necessary too. This view can be zoomed out, which is handy when trying to spot people you have to meet – ‘Non Playing Characters’ or NPCs for short.

Success is achieved by meeting the right people with the right objects in your possession. Included in the box is a clue book, which details the full plot, all minor plots, all objects and all NPCs. This sort of thing costs a few quid more in the average role-playing game – but not with this one!

Space travel is handled entirely through menus. Reference to the star charts in the manual is heavily recommend – but once you know where you are going, getting from A to B is a doddle. If your characters didn’t have a ship to start with, no problem – there are space tickets available in most cities. What makes this game so much better than the original is the scale – the original coped with around a dozen star systems, MT2 has 117. This means that it’s no longer a hop, skip and jump to get to where you want – your route to save Rhylanor has to be carefully planned in advance.

Seven years to save a planet may sound like a long time, but every jump from one planet to another takes a week. Even when you have completed the game, there’s still a lot of detail that you will have missed – which makes playing it more than once much more fun than it was with the original.

My complaints are minor – some of the text messages don’t get erased (which means that further messages are corrupted) and the point and click system can leave you jammed in a corner sometimes. Neither of these are major problems, and did not stop me from enjoying the game.

The sound effects are sparse, as are the opportunities for combat – but role-playing is about solving problems with brains, not with brawn. There is some fighting to be done (and some of the futuristic technology is awesome), but violence plays second fiddle in MegaTraveller 2. Recommended!
Pat McDonald

Amiga Format, Issue 38, September 1992, p.p.68-69

INDIVIDUAL PLAYER CHARACTERS: HOW MEGATRAVELLER 2 MEASURES PEOPLE

This game uses a simple screen to show the skills and life story of the individuals you play with. So easy!
Megatraveller 2

A. This shows the former career of a character (Vargr can have more than one) and name of the character.
B. The race and sex of the character appear here. Hits is a measure of how tough they are. Financial status matters; retired characters get an annual pension to boost this.
C. The vital statistics: These vary from zero to 15 – the higher they are the better. Psychical statistics go down with age.
D. Skills are used to measure success or failure at tasks in the game. As a retired doctor, she has impressive skills at Medical – but her combat skills are very limited. Streetwise is used to communicate with persons of low social status (criminals). Dr Shannon Amore has been around!
E. This character has very little in the way of goods and chattels. Her sub-machine gun has been confiscated at the star port (Stealth skill helps to conceal weapons) but at least she has a low passage space ticket in case she needs to get off the planet quickly.

MegaTraveller 2
Empire * £29.99
  • Large, detailed playing area.
  • Simple yet comprehensive controls – it is usually obvious what you need to click on.
  • Plot is enjoyable and different – no dungeons to wander in this game!
  • Rewarding if you are patient.
  • Clumsy interface, with rather poor overhead graphics and some minor bugs.
Verdict: 82%



Megatraveller 2 logo

Digi-Varianten bekannter Pen und Paper-Rollis produziert Empire ja reichlich – man denke nur an "Space 1889" oder eben "MegaTraveller". Bloß überzeugen konnten die Briten damit bislang nicht so recht...

Megatraveller 2 Ein Hoffnungsschimmer zeichnete sich Anfang des Jahres mit der recht ordentlichen PC-Urversion dieser SF-Arie ab, deren Story für den Amiga 1:1 übernommen wurden. Demnach geht es also nach wie vor um die sogenannten "Alten", die vor immerhin 300.000 Jährchen den Weltraum unsicher machten. Das heißt, eigentlich sind uns diese längst ausgestorbenen Kosmonauten mindestens so schnuppe wie ein vermoderter Saurier-Schinken, wären da nicht ihre ebenso vielfältigen wie undurchschaubaren Hinterlassenschaften, mit denen sie die Oberfläche so mancher Welt gepflaster haben. Auch auf Rhylanor stehen derlei Objekte in der Pampa herum, was dem örtlichen Tourismus-Minister auch durchaus gefällt – bis eines von den Teilen plötzlich verrückt spielt und den hübschen Planeten mit tödlichem Schleim überflutet!

Megatraveller 2 Tja, da hilft kein Hustensaft, da muß schon eine fünfköpfige Helden-Party her, die Rhylanor und dessen Nachbarwelten bereist bzw. erforscht. Könnte ja sein, daß irgendwo ein Schalter zu finden ist, mit dem sich die Glibber-Antiquität abwürgen läßt, oder? Das Charakter-Bastelmenü (ebenfalls tadellos vom PC rübergezogen) sollte man hingegen keinesfalls abwürden, denn obwohl die Veteranen des ersten Teils leider draußenbleiben müssen, gibt es wohl nirgends sonst ein so ausgefeiltes Verfahren, mit dem für jeden einzelnen Abenteuer ein eigener Lebenslauf samt Heimatwelt, Karriere und speziellen Fähigkeiten gestrickt werden kann. Weniger akribisch veranlagte Schleimtöter dürfen freilich auch mit einem vorgefertigten Team auf Reisen gehen, um Städte und Landschaften (2D-Vogelperspektive) zu durchwandern, Passanten zu befragen, mit High-Tech-Waren zu handeln oder sich in (Raum-) Gefechten zu beweisen. Kennern des ersten Teils sei an dieser Stelle übrigens versichert, daß dessen haarsträubendes Kampfsystem gründlich überarbeitet wurde und nunmehr durchaus spielbar ist.

Der Sound (Titelmusik, Intro-Untermalung und FX) klingt vielleicht sogar etwas schöner als auf den MS-Dosen, doch will das letzten Endes nicht allzuviel heißen. Die solide Handhabung mit Maus, Menüs und Icons stammt gleichfalls ohne Abstriche vom Original; ein paar "Zustriche" in dem einen oder anderen Punkt hätten wir allerdings durchaus begrüßt. Wirklich auf den Hund gekommen ist aber trotz Intro und einiger (ruckeliger) Animationen die Optik: Halbwegs nette Raumschiff-Szenen können nicht über weitgehend graue Städte oder Portraits auf PD-Niveau hinwegtäuschen – umso unverständlicher, daß wegen der uferlosen Nachladezeiten eine Festplatte fast unumgänglich ist!

Und weil sich schließlich die prinzipiell löblichen deutschen Screentexte so holprig wie ein verwilderter Steinbruch lesen, erklären wir das Game hiermit aufgrund erheblicher Sicherheitsmängel zum Riskio auf eigen Gefahr... (jn)

Amiga Joker, December 1992, p.48

MEGATRAVELLER 2
(EMPIRE)
SF - ROLLENSPIEL

58%

"NAJA..."
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
57%
54%
54%
50%
62%
64%
FÜR GEÜBTE
PREIS DM 99,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
3/JA
JA
SPIELSTÄNDE
KOMPLETT


Megatraveller 2 logo

Not content with having a cartoon animation and sporting sim on release this month, Entertainment International (Empire) have their eyes set further afield. Steven Keen takes a step into space, deep space...

Megatraveller 2 THIS TIME IT'S WAR!
It's been almost a year since Entertainment International released their computer version of the Traveller board game and it's due to that games' success that we now have the sequel in our hands. Fans of the first will be pleased to know that the sequel is actually 10 times bigger and incorporates 127 new planets for adventurers to explore. However, as Danny DeVitto said to Dolly Parton, size isn't everything!

Every planet your party of five chooses to visit is a hit and miss affair. Each one possesses its own quota of cities and all differ in their degree of advancement. Some planets will be way ahead in the technical achievement stakes, whilst others will only be able to provide you with a cloudy glass of water if you ask them nicely. It's up to you to glean what information you can get from the inhabitants and acquire as many objects, gadgets and weaponry as you'll need during your mission.

THE PLOT SLOT
OK, so far so good, but why are you chasing shadows the length and breadth of the galaxy? As it happens you and your party are getting some much needed R&R after the Zhodani incident on the planet Rhylanor. Rhylanor is a densely populated world famous for its intriguing high tech artifacts and gigantic mechanical monoliths. The constructions have long since been deserted by an advanced civilization wiped out in an apocalyptic war thousands of years ago. During a tour of one of the ancient structures it erupts and you capture, on your video camera, the cataclysmic scene as the gigantic earthquake suddenly kicks one of the monstrous machines to life. As the entire site shakes and trembles huge streams of toxic slime begin to spew out of the machines' pipes and trundle down the mountainside destroying everything in its path. The area is immediately evacuated and the authorities offer a massive reward for anyone who can stop the advancement of the gunge and save the planet. Upon close examination of your tape you notice the silhouettes of two characters running from the site just after the initial explosion. So, taking up the challenge with four other characters, you begin to track these beings down and solve the riddle of the ancients.

The biggest problem with RPGs of this type and size are that they're not easily accessible. What with every game trying to out boast the competitors with incredible claims of detail, statistical tables and itineraries they often forget that the whole point of putting the game out in the first place is to have fun. Wading through scores of introduction scenes or fiddling with the level of speed that a storm trooper can tie up a loose boot lace in a tight corner is not really what it's all about. So, with Megatraveller 2 a group of preset characters come as standard which lets you get straight into the action. Great! Now your only problem is finding some.

Most of the game is viewed from above whichever planet you've surfaced on. Whereas in the original your party is reduced to a single representative blob, here they've splurged and invested in five, recognisable by colours that correspond to the character boxes at the top of the screen. The screen can be zoomed in and out of, but the closest you'll ever get is a bird's-eye from about 150 feet up. Planetary travel is achieved by walking or by one of the numerous forms of transport available for rent. Two of these are the ATV, a fast tracked car restricted to ground travel and the Grav version that can handle the most treacherous conditions as it actually hovers above the earth's surface. By using these motorised modes of transport you'll be able to cover the cities faster, enabling you to visit all the shops, building and NPCs needed for you to collect clues and equipment. There are at least 23 of these locations including hyper-markets, banks, airports and taverns. If you want to travel to another planet you'll have to buy your own ship or, more viable at the beginning, buy a ticket for a space shuttle. Although everything costs a lot, extra credits can be picked up pretty easily and give rise to the game's many sub plots. By interrogating the populous you soon find out where a shady deal or two can be made and most people have something for sale that can be resold for a higher price. The only difficulty is finding the elements necessary for pairing the two off with each other.

VIEWING PROBLEMS
Megatraveller 2 When arriving on a strange planet you'll probably have your weapons confiscated, but a quick visit to Mr Migginin's International Arms emporium will soon set you right and you can pick up an awesome array of weapons on most worlds. Once you've become equipped you can check in at the local police station for what bargains are laying around the neighbouring planets. By tracking them down and collecting their dog tags the police force will pay you handsomely.

Combat has been vastly improved from the first game, but it's still flawed. To fire your weapons at a victim you must first go into a menu and place the cursor over all the targets you want to shoot, then press attack. You then sit back and watch the outcome. However, if one of the enemy should walk off the screen after targeting you won't be able to see what happens to him until it's too late and a huge pile of purple slush stands where one or more of your companions used to be.

HARD ON THE EYES
Control over the characters is by mouse and the combination of small sprites and scrappy graphics incorporated in the action screens produce a lot of frustrating mistakes. Building are particularly hard to enter and you are often left wandering around outside just trying to find an entrance. Once inside the scene switches to the one on one representations presented in most RPGs when coming into close contact with an interactive character. These can be very scrappy affairs as a lot of the sprites are used more than once for different locations and in some instances, when a text entry is required, the computer doesn't bother to wipe out the previous text shown and just writes over the top of it making it very difficult to read. Another instance of frustrating play is when trying to talk to a NPC. It's necessary to corner them and bunch them in before they'll speak to you. When travelling in the car you have to go through the palaver of parking it, getting all the players out and then chasing the NPC just to see if he can be talked to, of which invariably he can't and you simply wasted your time and have to pile back in again.

Megatraveller 2 is big, and if you ask me it's too big. Although there's literally thousands of things to do, tasks to perform and sub missions to negotiate, it just didn't grab me. I need more to fuel my enthusiasm than a few miniscule sprites and the occasional flash of laser fire.

However, I'd recommend it to board game fans as it definitely brings their game to life and is superior to the first in the series. Some nice touches, like characters volunteering to perform tasks they have a particular aptitude for without being asked, add a certain amount of character, but RPGs of this detail tend to lose out on playability – and Megatraveller 2 is no exception...

CU Amiga, August 1992, p.p.61-62

SPACE RACE Until you've amassed around 3 million credits you're going to take a buss, a space buss. However, if you do succeed in getting the readies you'll have no end of intergalactic weaponry to choose from and strap to it's roof rack. The best to buy are any lasers that come in threes, as they give maximum fire power for all those space battles.

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk:
memory:
 
July 1992
RPG
Paragon
M,J,K
3
1
Yes
512k

 

EMPIRE £29.99
Detailed, but ultimately not all it could be...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
69%
60%
70%
69%
OVERALL 70%