Buck Rogers is the latest RPG based around the AD&D rules system and the first to be set in a world of science fiction rather than quasi-
If you're tired of hack-and-
Fans of the AD&D game or those who have played any of the three SSI titles already available, will find little to surprise them here. The basic rules are the same as always and the usual role-playing conventions apply to movement and combat.
Players create a party of adventurers of various races, assign them careers, equip them, then start out towards a stated objective. The characters learn by experience. If they manage to survive, experience points are collected and spent on advancing the character to more powerful levels. All very conventional and decidedly underwhelming.
However, Buck Rogers does have a couple of new features which greatly increase its appeal. The first is the inclusion of the enhanced AD&D rule set, around which the game is based, that allows for the use of a skill system.
When a character is created the player can choose how to allocate a certain number of skill points to any of his or her career skills and any general skills deemed useful.
In this way player characters can be personalised to a degree no hitherto possible with previous SSI games, an improvement which allows a player to identify more closely with the alter ego.
The second improvement is in the way messages and events are handled. The process is quicker and smoother than in the older games, and helps keep things rolling along nicely.
Messages are also more informative and frequent, which helps promote a richer atmosphere - often lacking in previous efforts.
The scenario itself is well thought out and quite diverse. It is the year 2456 and you are raw recruits in the New Earth Organisation (NEO) haeded by Buck himself.
You must explore the solar system in an attempt to thwart the plans of the evil Russo-
The only way you can do this is to seek out and destroy RAM's doomsday device. But this is by no means an easy task.
To fulfill your mission you will have to travel to several planets and engage in hundreds of fire-
Interaction with such characters is, therefore, more important than before. Previously, the most complex decision you had to take concerning NPC's was whether to talk to them in the pub to gain access to any gossip they might have, or chop them in half to gain access to their cash. All this helps to give the game more depth.
Buck Rogers XXVc is not a new game as such - rather it is an old one in new clothes, but the clothes are of a good fit and cut.
The sci-fi scenario breaths new life into what was becoming a rather stale series of games, and SSI's tweaking with the gameplay and the rule set gives it enough vitality for it to stand on its own as probably the best of the four.
However, there is room for a lot more improvement if the AD&D style games are to survive into the '90s, but Buck Rogers is at least a good start.