What have Star Trek: The Motion Picture, cricket, John Major and Fireteam 2200 got in common? They are all wonderful cures for insomnia. Strategy is one thing, but when you could play a game faster using pencil and paper, you know you are in for a dull old time stuck in front of your monitor.
Not that Fireteam 2200 is a badly-written game; you need one meg to run it and it has more features and menus than a thing with, erm, lots of features and menus, but that does not mean it is not just as dull as watching three consecutive episodes of Highway from its over-complex role-playing concept onwards.
The scenario sounds promising - you control troops doing battle on far-flung planets using futuristic transport. Your screen acts as the main screen of your command vehicle, whowing tactical maps, damage, hit and weapon reports and all sorts of other pertinent information. There are enough missions to keep you going for months and your troops grow and become more experienced as you progress.
So where do things go wrong? Well, I will give you a clue. This game was written for the PC and, boy, does it show. There is no joystick control - everything is achieved by typing in commands, and then by waiting for the next 'update' for it to carry out your order. Yep, if you want to move your tank you cannot just press down the cursor key to trundle along, you have to program in a route. You can only travel a short distance each update, so if you have got a bit of travelling to do it can take a good few minutes. And firing your weapons is even more fiddly.
The problems do not end there, either. Graphics are laughably bad, for instance - the sort of thing that gives PD a bad name. The icons are so small you cannot even tell which way your tank is pointing without a good squint, the maps are about as useful as a Jackson Pollock painting and the screen is so cluttered it makes a shared student's kitchen look tidy. Sparse use of sound, irritating large amounts of disk swapping, an incomprehensible written-for-the-PC manual and a tendency to crash all add to the debacle.
This tedium party arises from the fact that the game offers just far too many options and variables for you to deal with, but it also comes from some stupid mistakes in execution. It is all very worthy, and the most rabid of adventure gaming fans might like it, but it is really a waste of the computer's abilities.