The world's most popular and longest-
The game achieves a commendable balance of playability and depth, such that although players of the original paper-and-
The first step in any RPG is character generation, and it's this dice-
Players are given a set of physical and mental attributes which they can accept or 're-roll' as they please. Once a suitable set of figures is reached, the bare character is enlisted in the Marines, Navy, Army, Scouts, or Merchants to serve a four year term.
If the character survives the term without injury or death, a number of skills are awarded according to whether the character was promoted or served on special duty, and the player chooses which list of skills to roll on for the particular skill.
The skills available depend on which service the character enlisted in, so individual characters can be generated quite easily. After the initial term, a character can re-enlist in order to obtain more skills until death, old age, or retirement forces him or her to quit. The player therefore has to balance the advantages of extra experience against the physical effects of aging.
Character generation is one area in which Empire have stayed very close to the original rules, allowing full characters to be developed, but the whole process for a party of five can still be over in ten minutes or less, allowing the player to concentrate on playing the game itself.
The action opens in typical fashion. The group is approached in a dingy spaceport bar by a woman identifying herself as an agent of one of the powerful mega
To thwart the traitor Kiefer, the group must raise the two million credits necessary to equip their star-ship, the Interloper, with a Jump Drive capable of reaching the Boughene system, where another agent is awaiting the vital information entrusted to them. The marvelous thing about MT1 is that the way in which a player raises the cash is entirely his or her own decision.
Unlike other games, whose gameplay consists in the player discovering the correct solution, MT1 allows the player the freedom to do anything he or she wishes in pursuit of the objective. If you have a group with extremely good combat skills, for instance, you might try to fight your way to riches, killing and robbing everyone you meet. You might decide to hunt down the ten or so dangerous criminals for the extravagant bounty on their heads, or hoist the Jolly Roger and prey on defenseless space traders.
If, on the other hand, your group has good vice or interpersonal skills, you could try your hand at smuggling and forgery, or gamble your vacc suit away in the casinos.
You can even, if you have high trader skills, attempt to ply the interstellar shipping lanes for profit, just as in the classic trade-em-up Elite, which incidentally was inspired by the original Traveller RPG. Just about anything is possible, and when you discover that many of the individuals you meet will pay highly for particular items or for the return of, for example, a stolen family heirloom, a wealth of sub-plots opens up before the delighted player the like of which you will find in no other computer RPG.
During my first session of play, I found myself looking for a man who would buy a bronze sculpture from me at a decent price, and ended up knee deep in the swamps shooting alien lizards because their hides fetched 800 credits in the local bar.
I only later realized that it cost more in ammunition to kill the tough beasts than I could recoup for their skins, so I gave up in disgust and robbed a few rooms in the local Starfarer's Rest (a sort of omnipresent galactic Holiday Inn) to make up my losses. In the act of burglary, I happened across a bag of emeralds, which if my memory served me right would fetch a high price on the planet Efate. I had, unfortunately, just left that planet in alarm at the number of assassins who seemed intent on collecting the contract put out on the group by Kiefer and Co.
The group was in a rather embarrassing cash flow situation, however, so was I forced to run the risk of a bullet in the back to seek out the emerald dealer.
I located the fellow in the museum on Efate, only to discover I had the wrong man, though he did offer to pay handsomely for any diamonds I found. I consoled myself with the fact that we received some interesting information on steel prices in the Menorb system, but I feel Mitzy, our only casualty before we managed to evade the assassins, would have rather we'd stayed in the swamps...
Get the picture? This game is huge, and the universe through which the group adventures is extensive enough to keep you going for months. When you think that Paragon Software, who actually coded the game, are hard at work on MT2, it's not hard to see MegaTraveller setting entirely new standards for computer RPGs.
Gameplay is intensely friendly. Everything can be accomplished with nothing more than the mouse - there-s no need to type or use control keys. You move the group in real by pointing to where you'd like it to go on the scrolling overhead map and holding down the button to keep them moving.
Once combat is initiated, the group is broken up into its five individual members, who can then be given their own orders on what to do, where to go, and who to shoot at, which they'll continue to do until the fighting ends or they are otherwise instructed.
Interaction with other characters is simply and effectively carried out with the aid of a choice of options on whether to buy, sell, talk, bribe, and so on, and is more or less at the right level of complexity. The personality of such computer-
All I can say is that if you've ever played and enjoyed RPGs on paper or silicon, buy this game immediately - it's too good to miss. If you've never managed to get into games like this on your Amiga because they have previously been rather dull in their presentation and strait-