Rules of Engagement 2 logo

Being a Fleet Commander patrolling your space beat for the Federated World Force should be a fairly happening business - but not, sadly, in Rules of Engagement II. Though the game has many nice touches, such as being able to change the configuration of almost every part of the game, when the proverbial hits the fan this is a rather dull and boring strategy exercise.

The theme of RoEII is that you are given a number of ships to deploy and a number of captains to... well, captain them. In your space sector there is a vast array of outposts, waypoints and enemy ships and a variety of missions. The most basic of these is to destroy two ships full of drugs and piloted by the alien Basree race. The missions get more sophisticated and much harder as you go along until you are involved in a full-blown intergalactic warfare.

The game is controlled from a plit screen where you can call up four screens of tactical information at any one time. Each of these tactical screens deals with a different aspect of controlling your fleet, ranging from ship attack and defence capabilities, to communications, navigation, troop orders and information screens. This novel control panel and the flexibility of information it provides is probably the best feature of this otherwise turgid game.

All right, so you can choose the kind of aliens and ships you will be fighting, the missions and campaigns you will be playing and the physical aspects of the systems you will be patrolling. But in the end Rules of Engagement II is just plain dull. It does not take long to realise that no matter how successful a Fleet Commander you may be, there will never be a great deal of satisfaction to be had from erasing monochrome dots on a screen.

Big fans of Public Domain Star Trek games may well find themselves hooked, but us ordinary mortals will have to look elsewhere for our kicks.

Rules of Engagement 2 logo

Teil eins dieses etwas biederen Weltraumstrategicals verstaubt trotz aller Komplexität seit etwa zwei Jahren in den Händlerregalen - der Nachfolger hätte ein besseres Schicksal verdient...

Sicher, spielerisch hat sich in den vergangenen Monaten kaum etwas im All getan. Freilich, satte Space-Action such man auch hier wieder vergeblich. Und dennoch ist das ausgeklügelte Gameplay durchaus nicht ohne:

Um das von menschen bewohnte Universum vor bösen Aliens zu beschützen, bekommt der Spieler die Befehlsgewalt über eine Raumschiffflotte und wahre Menüberge.

Nach dem Zurechtbasteln eines Commanders darf er sich bei den vier Szenarien mit jeweils rund acht Einsätzen bedienen, wobei die Raumarmada vom Hauptschiff aus gesteuert und immer dorthin beordert wird, wo es gerade brennt.

Die Flotte sorgt dann für die unverzügliche Vernichtung des Aggressoren, anschließend geht es zwecks Reparatur und Aufrüstung zurück ins Trockendock - im Erfolgsfall winken gesteigerte Commander-Fähigkeiten und eventuell auch Beförderungen.

Mit dem beigefügten Editor lassen sich auch eigene Szenarien stricken, so wie überhaupt fast alle Elemente der Weltraumrangelei frei variierbar sind.

Im krassen Gegensatz zu der gebotenen Komplexität steht die reichlich karge Präsentation aus (von den wenigen Zwischenbildern mal abgesehen) spartanischer Grafik und mickrigen Sound-FX.

Dafür sorgt die übersichtliche Maus-/Menüsteuerung für Durchblick im All und das flexible Gameplay für ein Maximum an Bewegungsfreiheit.

Und somit landet Impressions' Raumvehikel das übrigens mit dem Space-Oldie "Breach 2" erweiterbar ist und ein Zweitlaufwerk oder eine Festplatte benötigt, halt doch auf den mittleren Bewertungsrängen. (md)

Rules of Engagement 2 logo


Why do companies believe that strategy games must be as graphically exciting as watching paint dry? I do like pitting my wits against the computer once in a while, but why should I have to put up with poor-quality static images? When will publishers realise that you cannot just port a game across from the PC and make no real code changes to it.

The space trade/war game could have been a colourful and tuneful affair if only some thought had been given to the Amiga's specific chip set. Instead, what we have is a flat, lifeless game with no sound apart from the occasional effect ripped straight out of Star Trek.

The strategy elements are well thought out and the logic impeccable. The main display is divided into quarters and you can have four out of 20 screens open at once.

There is everything a budding space commander could want from navigation maps, tactical firing and defence consoles to communications panels and docking layouts. There is even a choice of enemies to battle, each with their own way of approaching conflict. And, when you have completed all the set campaigns you can design your own, complete with new space ships and races.

If you can forgive the poor-quality graphics and virtually non-existent sound effects this game is quite good fun. If you can fathom the huge manual (set aside at least a day to get through it!) and work out what all the buttons do, you might manage to find a playable game underneath.

That said, it is overpriced - the Amiga market just won't stand for the same prices that PC owners have been forced to stomach. Play before you buy.