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.