12 November 2013

Millennium:Return to Earth (DOS Game)

Thanks to a great application for OS X called Boxer, I am able to once again enjoy old computer games I haven't been able to play in 20 or more years (thanks to Windows not being backward compatible) ((I booted Windows out the window for good when stuff written for an earlier version of Vista wouldn't run on a version a year later))

Millennium:Return To Earth is a 1991 DOS game in the "resource management" genre. It is somewhat simplified compared with titles such as Masters of Orion and the Sid Meier's Civilization types. It is a remake of a 1989 Amiga game Millennium 2.2 by the same author, Ian Bird, would years later give us the very odd Millennia: Altered Destinies.

In the game, humanity has colonized the Moon and Mars. However a 20 trillion ton asteroid has collided with Earth, making it uninhabitable. All that is left of humanity is a small, self-sufficient colony on the surface of the Moon, and a race of mutant humans on Mars. As the commander of Moonbase, it is your job to ensure the survival of humankind by exploring the Solar System for other habitable planets and moons, and ultimately re-establish life on Earth. However, the Martian mutants consider themselves the superior race and want Earth for themselves. A war is inevitable.
Mutant Martians will constantly be messing  with you until you take the fight to them!

The only break from the resource management simulation comes when the player is under attack by Martians. Combat is represented with a space ship fighting mini-game with basic 3D graphics. Initially the game is a race against time as each attack is heavier than the previous. The player eventually must find the necessary technology to attack Mars to make the attacks cease, establish a base there, and while there discover the terraforming technology.

The player needs to balance manufacturing output with the available solar power, and many minerals are only available from certain planets or asteroids. Depending on planetary orbits, colony ships and probes can take longer to reach their destinations. As time progresses, colonists will adapt to different atmospheres, and after Earth is terraformed, secede from the player's control (this event will also strand any of player's ships that may be docked on those planets).

Explore and use the planets and moons of the solar system

All that is left of Humanity is sheltered in these domes, which you must protect.

You must mine the resources you will need to make weapons and spaceships. Some can only be found on other worlds!

Research new spaceships and weapons systems

Energy must also be allocated to Production

Sometimes your exploration brings bad news

You can travel the solar system in a number of ship types

The beauty of this game is that it not so complex as some of the others that came later in the genre...it is much more fun and less like work.

Identical , it seems, to the earlier MILLENNIUM 2.2 (referring to the date the game begins)

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