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Game #2183
E.S.S. Mega   (a.k.a. European Space Simulator Mega)
Simulation   Space sim

Rating: 8.69 (49 votes)

E.S.S. Mega box cover

E.S.S. Mega screenshot
Probably the most obscure game ever made by quirky French developer Coktel Vision (Gobliiins, Lost in Time). E.S.S. Mega (a.k.a. European Space Simulator Mega) is a lackluster space shuttle simulation that tries hard to strike a balance between realism and playability, but doesn’t quite succeed.

To be sure, the game has a lot going for it. There is a lot of eye-catching 3D-modelled graphics that makes Virgin’s venerable Shuttle look like a kindergarten coloring book. There’s a wealth of information in the in-game space database, and quite a lot of gameplay depth. In contrast to the mission-based structure of Shuttle), E.S.S. Mega is one long campaign that is similar to Buzz Aldrin’s Race into Space, but with emphasis on micro-level decisions (e.g. how much fuel to carry) then macro-level space program policies. You will first equip the space shuttle with cargo, crew, and energy. Then you will launch, pilot, and land it on a “shuttle carrier.” When your shuttle is safely orbiting Earth, you will send up and maintain satellites, build and manage a space station. All in a day’s work.

Although the separate parts of the game are well thought out, the game as a whole comes across as a repetitive, “dry” simulation that won’t hold anyone’s interest for long. The game is quite linear in a sense that once you try out every option, there’s no leeway to try a different approach. There is only one (or at most, a few) combinations of cargo, crew, energy, and other options that will succeed, and lack of random elements that make Buzz Aldrin challenging. Overall, worth a look for space buffs, but only for historical interest as one of the rarest space simulations.

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Unknown
Developer: Coktel Vision
Publisher: Tomahawk
Year: 1991
Software Copyright: Coktel Vision
Theme: Modern
None that we know of
System Requirements: DOS
Where to get it:
Related Links:  
If you like this game, try: Shuttle, Project: Space Station, Earth Orbit Stations

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