Based on David Drake's Fleet novels, this extension of SSI's celebrated Panzer General engine is a big disappointment, and shows that the engine could only be stretched so far. |
As veteran wargamer M. Evan Brooks remarks: "[although Star General] encompasses both space conflict as well as land-based assaults, the two modes were virtually isolated from one another, and the game itself seemed like an unconnected connect-the-dots programming effort."
M.E.B. couldn't be more right-- the great tactical AI and RPG-style "experience-points" system that makes Panzer General a classic do little here to help Star General up from the bottom of the critical dung heap, so to speak. Although there are many ships to choose from, they are extremely *confusing*-- it's very hard to tell a transport apart from a scout by looking at it, for example. The sheer amount of ships that can be on the screen at any given time is also ridiculous-- you will control and fight so many dozens of ships in many scenarios that you won't even know how to maneuver them. The individual scenarios have specific goals, such as conquering planets A and B, and pre-set enemies. There are some problems with many of these scenarios, namely unrealistic turn limits that require you to conquer an armada and two planets in, say, 15 turns. Very challenging, to say the least.
With very frustrating difficulty level, disjointed gameplay, and cumbersome design, Star General is a big letdown for all fans of the series. My advice: play Fantasy General instead if you want an example of what Panzer General engine can do. Or, if you're really in the mood for galactic conquest, good ol' Master of Orion will do just fine. Reviewed by: Underdogs