Starflight 2: Trade Routes Of The Cloud Nebula
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7  |  More Like An Upgrade, Rather Than A True "Sequel"
Darryl B. , 6/3/2006 9:04:00 PM
When Starflight came out, it was a pretty amazing adventure -- notice how I didn't say "game", though! -- being one of the earlier "explore a galaxy"-type games (oopsie, said "game" there :P ) to come out, which took 15 man-years to develop. It was a bit complex, requiring you to build up a crew and ship before even being able to take off for the first part of your mission, as there were different alien races to employ as crew members for your ship, all kinds of data to learn as far as recommending colonizable planets, an included Starmap, and one very big instruction book in order to get through a game (which could literally take MONTHS), among other things.

This sequel picks up not long after the first one left off, although in a different galaxy this time around. Most of the graphics and gameplay mechanics have remained unchanged (your spaceship still looks like a pair of scissors at certain angles, although the full-screen graphics for when you talk to aliens were improved), although the goals are slightly different. However, if you're unfamiliar with the original (or versions that were released for other platforms, like the Sega Genesis or a version for one of the Atari computers [I forget which one]), then this review isn't really going to help ;)

As like the original, you start off with some money at the beginning of a game, but you must build up your ship and crew with it. Handling your ship in space and your terrain vehicle on planets' surfaces are pretty much the same as the original, not to mention whenever you encounter an alien race in space and you communicate with them (with no abbreviations such as the "lol" of nowadays to answer their questions with).

However, the goal has changed: in the original, you must unravel the mystery as to why solar flares are getting worse in your galaxy, and what the weird clumps of Endurium (used for fuel) has to do with it.

Picking up where the original left off, with Endurium being banned (I'm not giving away the mystery of the original!), this time around, you must figure out what the "hole in space" is at the far right, center part of your Starmap. There's also a weenie race that were known as the Spemin in the original that were pathetic, quivering blobs (heh, literally!) that said they were superior, and a bunch of other rot...however, challenge them to face your temper and your weapons fully armed, and they would flee faster than any of Paris Hiltons' ex-fiances (who would realize what they were really getting into before tying the knot).

Well, in this sequel, for some strange reason, they've become very powerful. No more burdened with Kryptonite are these guys, they're the evil version of Superman ready to knock your spacefaring, futuristic butt back to the Stone Age where they think you belong. What the hell happened here?

You also can't just dig up a planet for a bunch of minerals and sell them at Spaceport to bring in needed revenue like in the original, either, here you must barter with other alien species to unload your crap. Hence the problem, since you don't know who's going to go for what, it's all random: they could totally ignore your holds filled to the brim with gold and platinum, they could go more for your pathetic 10 meters of less than half the price that it's worth. And try to raise the price too much, and they could go all-cheap Ikea on you instead, if you get my drift. However, certain alien races want certain things, which, if you're able to find and then later sell those things to them (what one race wants is usually found on the other side of the galaxy; how convenient), they will be very grateful and treat you accordingly, should you bump into each other in space later, to the point where they could even write and sing songs about you (and hopefully not put into a country melody, either).

Needless to say, this game is more difficult than the original. It still has it's share of humor and all like the first Starflight -- dig the strange life form that can be found that only communicates by humming the theme to the "ancient" tv show Gilligan's Island, for some bizarre reason -- but I've yet to force myself to get far enough to beat this game to see that the ending is (hopefully) waaaaay better than the awful, 10 second long ending of the original's, after all the time that was spent on it (luckily the Genesis version's ending was a bit better, though).

Hence, this is why this game barely earns a 7 from myself, since not enough was changed to make it feel a lot different than playing the original. However, for those who got this back in the day that never played the first one should have liked it for it's challenge and long playing time, giving you your money's worth (just save the damn game VERY often!). But it's not much more of a step-up from the original, giving it a feel like you're continuing with a different mission and all.

Talk about going where others have gone before. 7/10

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