Review by sundancekid
Reviewed: 06/11/00 | Updated: 06/11/00
Old RPG classic with a great storyline
Okay, all those who have played the original Buck Roger's Countdown to Doomsday game for the PC or genesis, please raise your hands. Yeah, I thought so, not too many hands. Well, Matrix (1989) is the sequel to the above game and takes place in the Buck Rogers universe and is based on the original Buck Rogers roleplaying game.
The game has a futuristic sci-fi setting that depicts several factions fighting it out to take over the milky way galaxy. All of the planets in our solar system are depicted in this game but with a twist, there are specifically alien races on each planet! YOu create and then control a group of guys from the good faction and try to stop a madman from destroying Earth. Even though the plot is very run-of-the-mill, and the graphics are very primitive, the gameplay is extremely rewarding and is essential to any good roleplaying game.
GAmeplay (9 of 10): Okay, first let's start with character creation. You pick a name, a gender, a race from a choice of six (Human, Marsian, Venusian, Mercurian, and two others), a specific class from a choice of six (Engineer, warrior, medic, rogue, tinkerer, or rocketjock), pick your skills and attributes from a list of over 100 (I'm not kidding), equip yourselves and you are off. Depth of gameplay is what stands out in this game. YOu can choose to follow the main storyline and complete your somewhat linear quests like a good little boy or you can just explore your huge universe and have fun. Fun and character development is what this game is all about. Unlike most RPGs where skills (besides lockpicking) don't matter a damn except being there, this game gives you hordes of situations where you must employ your skills to survive. If you employ them successfully, you get more experience and can increase your skill. For example, you see a suspicious character, do you want to ''shadow'' him or ''track'' him? It's little choices that abound in this game which it makes it such an enjoyment to play. To succeed, you must buy lots of heavy weaponry, and special equipment. The equipment is actually interesting and unique(just try out the jetpack, the plasma thrower and the various gas grenades). To do that, you need credits. To get credits, you loot the bodies of defeated foes or gamble or become a space pirate for a while or....the possibilities are endless. The main story is very involving (you'll travel to lots of different places) and actually makes the game feel like a live sci-fi world and there are intriguing puzzles thrown your way to dampen the large amounts of fighting you must inevitably engage in. Fighting is fun, very tactical and there are two modes: ground and spaceship combat.
Sound/Music(2): Not much but the weapons effects are adequate though primitive. The sound of your walking may try your temper after a while so I would just turn off the sound all together.
Graphics (5): Primitive but there are some good cut-scenes a la Monkey Island series. The game is modeled on the old SSI gold box games graphics system.
Replayability (7): After you finish the main storyline, you would probably go back to the game just to find all the locations and little sub-plots you may have missed the first time around. It is a lot of fun to ignore the story and make a career out of say...gambling(you actually play out games of draw poker) or space piracy (ship-to-ship combat is very challenging and requires actual planning).
Overall: Great game and a must-buy for fans of the classic SSI roleplaying games. In many ways, this game is better than the AD&D licenses SSI tried to milk for cash. Its sci-fi theme is a refresher in a genre dominated by orcs, dragons, and wizards. It's storyline is engrossing, and if you can stand the old graphics (better than Ultima anyway), the gameplay will make it worth your while to purchase this game.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
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