Moonbases logo CD32

It's one small step for mankind, but a giant leap for Ben Vost.

Moonbases is the latest C&C-style real-time strategy game to appear for the Amiga. For those without the wherewithal to run Napalm, it might be considered a better game since it runs on our office A1200 with an ‘030 and 4MB RAM, something that Napalm would never do. Its graphics are much more compact and also look much better in Low Res.

However, the Moonbases moniker seems a little inappropriate since there is nothing lunar about the game, other than the dull and unrelenting grey background. The units are so sluggish it’s as if they weighed six times what they would on earth rather than six ties levels, and although pressurization and air-tightness would be my prime concerns for any lunar base, it seems that armour is in this game. The preternatural quality of light on the moon isn’t replicated here with, vehicles only able to "see" one unit around them, even the reconnaissance vehicles which are differentiated by the fact that they are slightly faster than the other vehicles and have less armour and firepower.

Arguably the most important facet to any real-time strategy game has to be the ability of the various units to move to where you point on the screen to attack effectively once there. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy to do in Moonbases, with vehicles wandering off all over the place and only being able to attack the largest buildings four at a time, although there’s plenty of room at the trough for eight of them.

The units are uninspired and lacking in variety, consisting of wheeled and hovercraft versions of the same light, medium and heavy tanks and a mine layer and mine sweeper pair (of which one is a hover vehicles: one wheeled, natch).

The units are so sluggish it's as if they weighed six times what they would o Earth, rather than six times less...

Buildings fare no better. You are limited to a base which is pre-built and positioned for you, a factory a geological survey building which locates areas of ore for you to mine, a satellite uplink so you can see the whole map, plus a solar panel to get the energy you need to supply the buildings with all the light, heat and air scrubbing they need.

Last bad point. Because of the way the panel is set out you just know that there will be no further development of units or variety of buildings. Sure enough, after having played several very similar missions I was quite disheartened.

On the plus side, however, there are quite a few nice touches. These include the ability to play it in two different resolutions (and on a graphics card), over a serial link (which we were unable to test, but promises to be far more exciting than the single player game) and to edit your own maps to play on.

There is also the matter of its much less stringent requirements than a certain other game we’ve already mentioned, but then Moonbases isn’t half as interesting to play either. Perhaps it would be better to save up for a machine that can play the clickBOOM game rather than this one.