Universe 3 logo

Omnitrend/Impressions, Amiga £24.99

You live in the Local Group, a colony which has been isolated from Earth for 300 years. You command a ship to re-establish diplomatic relations with Earth. The only problem is that there is a traitor on board. Universe 3 adopts a similar design and interface to Omnitrend's Paladin and Breach games.

Icons are available for a range of actions including movement and dropping objects but keyboard commands are available too. Examining an object is achieved by moving up to it and selecting Examine from the verb menu (where other commands such as Wear, Break, etc are listed).

This list is rather clunky as quite a few are only used once and others restrict your actions - severely on occasion. In addition, when you make some sort of improper action you receive little feedback, giving a rather wooden feel to the game.

There are occasions when you can zoom into an object or person (whereupon a close-up picture will fill the screen) to manipulate objects on a larger scale. However, most of the action is via the look-down, Ultima-type view. Stats give an overview of your character's well-being.

Interaction is noticeable by its absence, dialogues being automatic affairs. Universe 3 is simple to set up but can be a little tricky to use to. I had trouble using the Zoom command from the keyboard although accessing it by mouse was no problem. The plot, while having some depth, is very linear.

Speed can be a problem. Though there are methods to quicken movement things grind to a halt when many characters are on-screen at the same time.

Universe I and II were never distributed over here. While by no means perfect they contained immense flexibility and quite a bit of depth. Universe III however, contains none of these features. Overall, a disappointing game.