Alpha Centauri
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Monday, 13 December 2004

Alpha Centauri is one of those very special games that you always remember after playing it. Roughly the game is like Civilization 2 but in space. The isometric perspective and graphics remain but the landscape; units and buildings are much different.


The story behind the game is that earth is falling apart because of famine and war. The United Nations decides to rescue mankind by sending off a colonization expedition to our closest galaxy, Alpha Centauri. There the expedition is to colonize a planet called Chiron.

On the way to the planet the space ship they are travelling in is damaged, the communications equipment is permanently destroyed so no uplink to Earth is possible, the expedition falls into chaos and when the party lands several factions has been created, and here the game starts.

The story is pretty neat and does the job well. There are a series of factions all, of them have their own special abilities but also things they are not that good at. For example the UN faction is slow to act but when they act they are powerful. Most of the factions are centred on some ideology; there are environmentalists, capitalists, scientists, worshipers, communists and paramilitaries. So the stage is really set for a great game with both diplomacy and war.

There have been extensive work on the technology in the game; there are a number of future technologies such as Quantum Power and others. It can be hard to understand what each technology do, but most of the names are good descriptions on what the technology actually do.

Vehicles are plentiful in the game; they can also be upgraded with new cannons and other technology as your civilization advances. You actually have the ability to choose what your units should be equipped with and you can also name them, this means that you can have unique units that nobody else posses.

In the game there are also a series of diplomacy options, besides all the stuff we are used to there be a planetary council. In the council important issues that concern the whole planet is discussed and voted on, if you handle your diplomacy correctly you can become chairman of the council, which means that you will have veto options to block decisions. Also the council can decide if sanctions should be imposed against a specific faction. I personally love the council, finally a bit more advanced diplomacy than just setting up embassies and alliances.

To gather resources you use terraformers, these units create mines, farms and everything else your civilization needs. There is also a sea version of them, which do the same stuff. A really nice feature is that you can build cities below sea level in the middle of an ocean; this is a great way to control the seas.

Alpha Centauri is a detailed game that even got to me even though Im not a big sci-fi fan. The game leaves nothing to drool for; everything is there, a perfect 10.

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Developer: Firaxis
Website for game: N/A
Publisher: EA Games
O/S: Win 98/ME/2000/XP
Cost of Full Game: From $2.49, Click Here To Buy

Tested on:
Pentium III Mobile 850 mhz, 384 mb RAM, Windows XP


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