Copyright: © 1992 Merit Studios
Genre: Strategy games

Strategy games

Review 1:
Maelstrom is yet another game in which you must colonize a struggling
planet and defend the planet from those who would force their own agendas
upon it. The plot is quite simple but interesting: you control the planet
of Harmony, the last bastion of civilization against the planet of the
'Zokbar J' and the 'Syndicate' of planets it has created. Being inclined
towards conquest, it naturally wants you as part of the Syndicate too -
but despite your peaceful nature, you have other ideas. The game starts
off with you establishing your position on Harmony, eventually converting
resources to weapons and other defences to repel your conquistador
neighbour. Maelstrom begins introducing plot elements and combining the
strategy with an adventure-style game - similar to what Cryo Interactive
did with the original Dune, but in a very different style. The game
doesn't really have its 'own' interface, borrowing from a number of other
games to construct an interface suitable for its format. Echoes of
Civilization, Dune 2, Utopia, Wing Commander and even Alpha Centauri
exist here, even though Alpha Centauri was created after Maelstrom. The
game perhaps goes into more detail than many similar titles, sometimes to
the detriment of narrative thrust. Maelstrom has quite nice graphics and
sound, especially considering its release date of 1992. Of course, it's
not going to compare to the latest space strategy games available, but at
four megabytes, who'll worry if they install it on their hard disk? PAS
Systems borrowed the good points of other game systems to make a good
game of their own, but it doesn't quite ring true. Imagine Mitsubishi
borrowing the good points of Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz to
make their own performance car. It'll be a solid vehicle, but never hold
the charisma of the other names.

Review 2:

Maelstrom is a good example of a great game concept marred by poor
execution. As "overlord," you must transform a planet's mining-oriented
culture to a war-oriented one. The game has many strong points, e.g. the
innovative personnel management, a strong non-linear plot with many
optional sub-plots, and intriguing espionage model. Unfortunately, they
get buried beneath a cumbersome interface. Bear with its idiosyncracies
for a while, though, and you'll find a decent game lurking underneath
despite all the micromanagement and tough time constraints.

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