Deuteros logo Amiga Format Gold

Activision * £24.99 Mouse

Athousand years have passed and still a hundred different rumours persist. Was there ever a moonbase? Did man once span the system or is it a myth? The seven(teen) generation itch has smitten the citizens of Earth City; now they must explore.

Legend has it that Earth City was a mere 'colony' reinstated on the Earth after some catastrophe killed the planet! Now, after years of training and research, Earth City can solve the riddle. A monumental community effort will be needed to organise this space quest, not only for moonbase, but for the exotic minerals that will fuel the conquest of space.

Tinker, tailor, soldier, pilot...
First and foremost people have to be trained so they can build, research and fly the craft from Earth. Drafted in small batches they can be assigned a skill: mariner, scientist or artisan. If a job needs to be done, then one of the three 'classes' will eventually gain the skills. Obviously, a punter pulled straight from Earth City's streets cannot build a star-ship, they need to construct simpler devices to grow in competence.

The ability to design the kit is not God-given either. Research teams start with simple plans for a mining derrick - to the Earth's resources - and a rough plan for orbital factories. Assigning them to research the orbital dream, whilst Production build derricks, which gets two tasks running simultaneously. When shuttle craft have been built, pilots are made orbit-to-Earth ferrymen, which earns them the sill to fly the Interplanetary Operation Ships (IOS) that Production will build, as soon as Research have finished designing them.

This is where Deuteros' time system makes its play. Time only advances when you click the clock icon. This means you can visit as many locations as you own, giving different orders to individuals, then with one click forward in time the jobs are undertaken simultaneously. There is a possibility of having 16 different orbital factories, and the time system means multi-tasking orders is possible, as is maximising your resources.

As your knowledge grows, so does the ability to roam the solar system. Ensuring each orbital factory has the right people, following the right instructions, with the right machines is the first challenge. A mental dexterity test, Deuteros forces players to develop a heavy save game habit - just in case. It is beautifully judged in the pace department though, and just as a job threatens to become a chore, up pops Researc who say they have plans for a whizy piece of kit that will do it automatically.

Novel ideal
Deuteros plays like a well written novel. Everyone of your minions has a name, and as they spread across the sky, they develop a history. Outrageous behaviour results, such as sending pilots wandering simply so they log the necessary hours to become an Admiral.

Along the route are real shocks; jolting surprises that no amount of planning can prepare you for. To supplement this horror factor are teasers: equipment that requires exotic minerals to build. These force an immediate change of plan, as you chase the new materials, in order for the new machine to be built, so that you can find out exactly what it does.

The nature of Deuteros means few plot details are given away, otherwise the anticipation and terror of exploring strange new worlds, boldly going where no man has gone before (or have they?), will not have the full effect. The challenge is huge and the plot twists are totally unpredictable. This taints any feelings of success, when everything starts coming together, with an acute fear of the unknown. The smug feeling of competence when easily manipulating machines that were once unwieldy, balances this tension and increases the enjoyment quota.

Try or die
Deuteros is a learning experience, and those who want instant fireworks need not apply. Just enough information is given throughout to reward those players brave enough to experiment. Try or die, is the Deuteros motto.

Strategy games need to employ more than the Amiga's processing power to be great, they must use graphics and sound too. Deuteros wins through here. Each screen comprises of both easily accessed icons and a theme setting picture, backed up with a particular sound effect. Animated sequences become more frequent and make certain situations real knife-edge affairs, no matter how often they occur.

Deuteros is a massive project. Its character is supplemented with both idiosyncrasies and suferfluous touches - the light switch in Earth City training actually works! It challenges, bemuses and rewards in equal portions. What starts as tentative exploration grows into a personal crusade to colonise the stars; it simply demands to be played to completion. Very few strategy games are actually exciting but Deuteros is gripping. It looks good, sounds great and plays like a dream.

The plot slowly unfolds as a test of nerve, judgement and intuition. As your empire grows so does the game, embroiling you in a struggle for survival and galactic dominance. Deuteros is, as they say, the business. Try it if you dare.

The prequel Millennium 2.2 - A space empire game that was set in the year of the title. 2.2 posed players the task of avoiding mankind's extinction. Watching from a moonbase workstation, the last terrans saw a huge meteorite destroy Earth. It erased all traces of civilisation, save that of the Lunar Base. Through a marshalling of resources, they had to build outwards, scavenging for raw materials across the solar system.
This brought man into conflict with other beings, and war followed. The challenge was survival, the testing ground was the vacuum of space.

Deuteros logo

Blenden wir zurück ins Jahr 2200. Ein gewaltiger Meteorit stürzt auf die Erde und mach sie noch unbewohnbarer als den Mond. Auf letzterem befindet sich glücklicherweise eine Forschungsstation, deren Insassen nun zwar ihre Heimat verloren, aber wenigstens ihr Leben gerettet haben...

Wer "Millenium 2.2" gespielt hat, weiß auch, wie es weitergeht: Die heimwehkranken Mondbewohner versuchen unter Einsatz all ihrer technnischen Apparaturen, die alte Mutter Erde wieder auf Vordermann zu bringen. Und genau dieses, damals nur ansatzweise gelungene Werk, soll jetzt beim offiziellen Nachfolger zur Vollendung gebracht werden.

Es geht also wieder darum, Piloten, Baumeister und Forscher auszubilden, auf fremden Planeten nach Mineralien zu schürfen, Fabriken zu bauen, Fährverbindungen für Raumschiffe einzurichten - mit einem Wort, man schlüpft in die Rolle eines allzuständigen, und deshalb auch ständig gestreßten Astro-Managers. Das hat bereits beim Vorgänger viel Spaß gemacht, aber leider nur kurze Zeit: Millenium 2.2 hätte jeder halbwegs geübte Stratege in wenigen Stunden durch. Gottlob trifft dieser Vorwurf auf Deuteros nicht mehr zu, das Game is wesentlich komplexer!

Technisch hat sich dagegen herzlich wenig geändert: Die Grafiken sehen immer noch ziemlich düster und verwaschen aus (immerhin gibt es ein paar Animationssequenzen), der Sound besteht aus nervigen Brummgeräuschen, und die Icon-Steuerung läßt sich nach wie vor kinderleicht bedienen. Rein äußerlich ist der Fortschritt also nur gering, aber dafür stimmt jetzt der Inhalt umso mehr. (C. Borgmeier)

Deuteros logo

The long-awaited follow-up to famous space epic Millennium 2.2 is finally with us. This time you've got to start a space programme from scratch, and it is not easy!

If there is one thing this review has to make clear, it's don't take Deuteros at face value. Initially it seems to offer no concrete purpose, deliver no discernible enemy. It's a space-bound strategy epic alright (and we've seen enough of those in our time) but the challenge it offers you is surprisingly vague - to explore the imponderable mysteries of space or, if you like, set up your own space programme from scratch. You could be forgiven for thinking that it all sounds like one great big yawn, but don't make that mistake - it's actually one of the best, most complete and atmospheric empire-building games we've ever seen.

But first off, the initial impressions. Deuteros is set on Earth in the year 3000AD. and sets you the vaguest of tasks. Your job is to explore the heavens, but before you get to do that you have to prepare for the trip. It's not just a case of packing sandwiches though - mankind has forgotten everything it ever knew about space travel, you see, (for reasons we'll explain later on) so your task incorporates everything from employing a suitable crew to building your very first space ship!

This is a strategy game, remember, so it's not so much a case of you having to do everything, as of you having to tell everybody else to do everything! From your controlconsole you can access a production centre, a school for the training of scientists, engineers and pilots, and a storage silo. By clicking on the relevant icons on the main screen, you can move into each area and set about making preparations. Hardly any movement takes place on screen at all - it's as if you are moving around a huge complex, checking your employees' clipboards and making positive suggestions. By clicking on any activity centre icon you can move in and start making things happen.

Logically, the best move is to train up the boffins and set them about working out just how they're going to build a space craft. Meanwhile, your production capability must be stepped up by building a number of mining rigs (your maximum is eight) with which to gather the various raw materials you'll need. It's only then that space exploration can begin; it's rough enough without the added burden of enemies or rivals.

At first the most insidious obstacle is a slackening of purpose - Deuteros eventually kicks into life like a sleepy elephant, which befits the game's magnitude, but the opening sequences can drag. It's rare that a game offers you so very little right at the beginning - the iron and oil isn't even out of the ground...

But anyway, back to the task at hand. One of the great strengths of the game is that while orders are initiated, time literally stands still. It only advances when you click on the colourful 'advance time' icon, so you can whiz around your little empire giving orders, then click on the clock to get them all undertaken simultaneously. At times later in the game, when your exploratory efforts resemble a pan-galactic web. this proves to be very useful indeed.

Unlike far too many strategy games, all the multifarious screens are easy to access at any time, making it a doddle to step into any part of the operation you like. As the game progresses, so does your empire, and new icons are created as new space locations are built.

At first the engineers and scientists are slow (like you, they are beginners). But while the basic tools with which to launch an exploration are being assembled, the canny researchers are coming up with ideas. Turning them into reality is hardly a breeze, since the engineers are rookies, and the tools are basic, but at least in these early stages of the game your only concerns are with the simple construction of space shuttles, space cruisers and space factories. (Don't worry though; you will be able to cope later on too, as I'll explain in a moment).

Deuteros' great strengths are exactly the same things that initially appeared to be its weaknesses - the lack of any clear idea about where you're actually going, the strong sense of urgency and realism it generates simply because there are so many chores to attend to, and so on. Every so often it's important you sit back and think carefully about just what is going on - at first I was horrified at the idea of spending hours bumbling around making mistakes in the name of Lord knows what. All too soon though, curiosity grips you, and the weird workmanlike quality of the game's progress verges on the electrifying. When things start to happen, they really happen...

One nice thing about Deuteros is that as you get smarter, so do your computerised scientists. Whenever you step into the scientists' lab, they will have come up with new ideas represented by little red lights on a large filing cabinet icon. Click on the ideas that are worthy of research and a plan will soon come into being. Better plans will require more resources, which will require more exploration. And so it goes on.

And here lies the uncanny but gripping attraction of Deuteros. While you're busy marvelling at your Odyssey's accelerating progress, the researchers and engineers are coming up with better ideas and better tools. Not only can they, with your guidance, build machines to push you further, they can build cool computers, which take over the more tiresome, mechanical tasks that you have now mastered.

Deuteros' timing borders on the extra-sensory. For many of us, crunching and juggling numbers is a sure way to turn the brain into strawberry blancmange. So just when the low level logistics are starting to get in the way of more grandiose aspirations and bog you down, up pops some whizzy scientist with an idea for a computer that automates the whole process.

Let's have an example. When setting up a distribution chain for the transportation of basic minerals you don't want to be continuously loading and unloading iron onto shuttles. While this is a good way of getting a feel for the game's concept at an early stage, it soon becomes a bloody pain, and it's at just this point that the game offers you an automated solution. It's uncanny, this sense Deuteros seems to have of when everything is needed, it really is.

Here is a game that offers nothing at the beginning, but as soon as one tiny achievement is made, it starts teasing you with the potential for more. There's always something to be cleared up, some tempting world to be exploited. Like a fruit machine there is never any moment when you can honestly say that enough is enough without risking missing out on some pleasant surprise.

Progress isn't made by simply landing on deserted hunks of rock and stripping them of minerals though. There are shocks-a-plenty and no amount of careful planning can ready you for some of the unpleasant little horrors that Deuteros throws up now and again.

Once the first door has been nudged aside and you've peered inside the game, it is utterly impossible to stop messing around. Activision reckons there are 70 hours of play here, but I disagree. There are seven systems to explore, and it'll take you a fortnight just to get out of the Sun's familiar sphere of influence! This is by no means a criticism, simply an indication of the depth and immensity of Deuteros.

If you take up Deuteros then prepare for an arduous beginning, but once the concept and the machinations of the game become clear, it becomes completely enchanting. If strategy is your thing then you'll have a wonderful time organising, building, preparing, protecting and moving on. If strategy is not your thing, but you fancy a challenge, here's your chance. Quite simply, Deuteros will be remembered as one of the games of 1991.


I know what you are thinking. You are wondering why it is that mankind, in the year 3000AD, has such a struggle getting one measly space ship off the ground, let alone a vast galactic empire. A brief explanation is probably necessary.
Deuteros is the sequel to the two year old Millennium 2.2 (by the same author). That finished off with the earth people taking an almighty slap from some pretty unsavoury aliens, and space explorers everywhere deciding to call it a day. Now some seven hundred years have passed, and the Magellans and Columbeses of the day have had enough of lounging around. It is time to strike out but - oh no! - careless ancestors have lost all the data about their previous space exploration.

This little turn of events presents the modern project project leaders with some nice teasers. They are pretty certain that humankind was once able to stroll around the planets, and some suspect that the presence of a glorious but neglected 'Moonbase' is more than an urban myth. People are hungry for information, and it is your job to retrace history's overgrown path.
And so the odyssey begins...


It is worth remembering that pilots, engineers and scientists are not mindless droids. They all learn, progress and develop discernible personalities. So allocating hands becomes of tactical importance. In fact, the way their characters develop has been likened to the effect created by a novel - each individual develops strengths, weakness, a whole history, as the story progresses and they spread across the sky. Putting the right people in place is as important as giving them the right instructions - this is a management game in the true sense of the word.

Deuteros logo

Set a thousand years after the catastrophic events experienced in Millenium 2.2, Deuteros tells of mankind's 'new space age' and the fortunes of the mutated humans that colonised the solar system in the year 2200. The races are at war with each other and mankind, having recolonised Earth (at the end of M2:2), has grown complacent and consequently forgotten the space technology it developed for survival all those years ago.

The game plays and feels very much like its predecessor. The main screens offers access to a number of sections, each of which controls different elements of the development of your space program. Additional options become available throughout the game, but the initial stages see you assigning people to train as researchers, marines and production workers. Once trained, your researchers must invent the various parts of a space shuttle before it can be assembled and your crew can fly it into space. There are further types of construction that can only take place in space, such as galactic starships.

The graphics may have changed, along with most of the space craft, but it still follows the same linear sequence of events. Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing, but you might feel that the gameplay could have been enhanced, especially when you consider that titles such as Virgin's Supremacy have clearly demonstrated what can be done with this type of game.

Deuteros logo Zero Hero

Millennium 2.2... Sounded a bit like a rather dull PC spreadsheet application, didn't it? And its successor? Millennium 3.3 maybe - featuring enhanced payroll calculation abilities? Nope: it is called Deuteros and it is "a bit of a stonker". Tim Ponting goes all gooey over Activision's massive space think 'em up.

Hands up if you do not remember what Millennium 2.2 was all about... There is always one, isn't there? (Deep breath). Alright, for your benefit, here goes. You played the commander of Earth's Moonbase in a rather knackered Solar-System. Your task was to sort it all out and terraform Earth again. Um, well that was it really.

The plot of Deuteros begins a thousand years later. The Earth colonists have really cocked it up this time. Not only have they forgotten everything their maternal grandmothers told them about why they should not accept sweets off strangers and how they should build space craft, they also turned the Living Planet into a rather large ash tray full of industrial dog-ends. Gone are all links with the colonies and other planets and moons; it is end-to-end episodes of It's My Navel And I'll Stare At It If I Want To. Dire, huh? Your task as Commander of Earth's only city is to... well, you work it out.

What are you going to do? Will you continue making Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle Toys with the world's resources or use them to 'reach for the skies'? The choice is yours. Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward as saying "Alright chaps, show a leg, let's get the space kites up dinkum dory and go show the outer planets a thing or two about how we Britishens colonise a Solar System". Oh dear me no. Someone points out that nobody has invented 'space kites' yet and that, well, nobody is likely to until you start investing resources in Research. And that is where the story really starts...

Amiga review

Tim: Deuteros is instantly recognisable as sole heir and beneficiary to Millennium 2.2. it has the same icon-driven friendliness (if anything quite this complex can be called 'friendly') and economo-strategic gameplay. Blimey! But unlike its ageing forbear, The Next Millennium offers greater depth, variety and a far more prolonged challenge. Just when you have got the hang of things, something crops up that turns your world upside down and it is time to reassess your strategy. Millennium 2.2 was difficult until the penny dropped - then it was a question of how quickly you finished the game, nothing more. A thousand years on, game designer Ian bird has become infinitely more sadistic and unpredictable in his interstellar ramblings.

This is all good new for the game player. The icon system is superbly put together - hardly original these days but who cares when it works? And it has obviously been heavily playtested to eradicate those "if only you could access the Immersion Heater Control Panel in the shuttle bay of one of Venus' moons whilst asleep at the controls of an IOS deep space near Pluto" type of design flaws. Not only that, but everything is animated - right down to the main icons, adding to the overall feel of interaction. Graphically, it is highly atmospheric and has a few extra special touches - like the battle sequences when... oops, almost gave the game away there. You see, I cannot really tell you how good it is without letting the cat out of the bag. You are going to come across loads of problems, and the further you progress the bigger and harder it gets. It makes Millennium 2.2 look like a pee in the ocean.

If there is any criticism at all, it lies with the basic concept of all games like this. Unless you are a bit of a closet economist, the thinking aspects can be distinctly underwhelming. I mean, if you are not worried about mineral production on Gannymede, then you probably won't enjoy Deuteros much. But do not expect sympathy from me; this is a game that demands a lot and gives you as good as it gets. If you are a newcomer to this genre, maybe you should sniff out Virgin's Supremacy first; it is simpler and gives far more instant gratification. But if you want to go straight for the jugular, Deuteros is the one to... erm, 'suck'.

One of the nicest things in Deuteros are the computerised automated chappies. The ACC - Auto Cargo Computer - lets you program shuttles to pick up and deliver between orbit and planets. The same goes for IOS craft. Another toy that you can build later in the game - the AOC or Automatic Operations Computer - allows you to set your production facilities to build certain items as desired. Whatever will they think of next.
Deuteros: Chubby Boil He could not organise an explosion in a methane factory...
Deuteros: Research
1) Home sweet home in the year 3100 and 000.01 thousandths. (Whatever happened to h/m/s?)
Blimey, we are lapsing into a bit of a Tory Age by the look or all this urban decay. They tell me I should invest in Research. Alright, I'll try anything once! Ho ho!
Deuteros: Log
2) Phew! Professor Biggs has been working overtime and now Moore, an apprentice Producer, is ready to start building Derricks and not Rodgers, I am not sure. Anyway, he says that we can extract more raw materials that way. I think he is extracting the urine! Hur hur!
Deuteros: Space Dock
3) Golly, Admiral Cooper's got a space shuttle up and running! Says something about building 'Orbital Factories'. I mean you don't need orbital production facilities for rubberwear. Chortle! Still, it's a basis for expansion isn't it? Fnuk!
Deuteros: Interplanetary Map
4) They want to know where they should send the new interplanetary space things they have built. I've found out that there's loads of helium on Jupiter - we could have a real laugh making loads of party balloons and stuff! Swing your pants everyone!
Deuteros: Master Icons explained 1) Advance Time: moves the clock on by a few thousandths of an hour or so.
2) Stock Taker: lets you check out personnel, your raw materials and their locations, plus where you left that elusive grappling pod.
3) Disk Access: save games, etc.
4) Earth City: moves you back to the gold ol' hme screen.
5) Master Icon: moves you to the overall master screen showing all your Orbital factories, IOS spacecraft and what they are currently doing.
6) Deposit Analysis: allows you to check out the resources on each planet or moon.
7) News Bulletin: a vidi screen update with details of all the current affair, like aliens just whooped your bottom near Uranus. Gosh!
Deuteros: Master Icons explained 1) Production: here you control what is being made by the Orbital factory.
2) Shuttle bay: orbit to Planet/Moon surface and back again.
3) Access to shuttle: fill her up, take her to bits and all that jazz.
4) Stores: What's in your, um... you guess.
5) Space dock: this is where your IOS spacecraft reside.
6) The factory itself.
7) Planetary shuttle bay: the same as in orbit but its surface counterpart.
8) Resources: what minerals are available to mine on the surface.
9) Surface stores: what you have got down below. (Oo-er).