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Cinemaware Marquee



Elemental Games



T (Teen)



March 2006



- A wide variety of game styles done really well

- Compelling and fun missions to complete

- The game plays great on legacy systems (450mhz PII as the minimum system!)



- Some bugs and glitches in the mini-games

- The text adventure sections can be time consuming



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Space Rangers 2

Score: 8.8 / 10


Cinemaware Marquee’s Space Rangers 2 is a game that defies description.  More to the point, I suppose, is that it is a game that requires lots of description before the uninformed can have any concept of what the game is all about.  First, and perhaps foremost, Space Rangers 2 is a space exploration and conquest game similar to Masters of Orion or, for the truly old school amongst you, Elite.  Like other space exploration games, SR2 has an economic system built on the buy low/ sell high model and a political system that comes down to whether a race likes you, dislikes you, or wants you dead.  It would be possible for the player to approach the game simply as a generic trading game and still get a ton of enjoyment out of it.  However, SR2 features much more than a dynamic economic model, and it is much more than a space exploration game.  Mixed in with the trading and ship-to-ship combat common to the genre, SR2 has old-school arcade game play, real-time strategy, first-person action, and even text adventuring.  While it would be possible for a game with all of these disparate elements to be chaotic and disjointed, SR2 is not.  Nearly every element of the game is fun and polished.  The overall result is one of the most innovative and engaging games I’ve played this century.


space rangers 2          space rangers 2


Players begin Space Rangers 2 as a low-ranking Ranger.  The game has a morality system of sorts that is based entirely on how the governments and people of different systems see you in relationship to your “business” activities.  As such, though there is an advantage to staying on the good side of the intergalactic governments, the game allows you to play it any way you see fit.  It is a classic “sandbox” game in that respect.  Players can choose to be intergalactic businessmen and trade goods between worlds with different needs.  In doing so, they can choose to make easy money by transporting and trading illicit goods.  This allows for fast money and a quick upgrade to the standard issue ship, but it




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means many planets’ governments won’t deal with the ranger or will require a bribe.  In the worst case scenario, the ranger can be jailed for his activity (but this involves a fun bonus to be discussed later in the review).


Unless the player plays the game simply as a game of commerce, the meat of Space Rangers 2 is the missions.  Nearly every planet that the player visits will have available missions.  These 


missions range from escorting vulnerable ships to bounty hunting a planet’s enemies to transporting rare cargo.  Completing a mission raises the ranger’s reputation and his or her wealth.  The game engine does a great job with the mission options at each stage of the game.  I rarely ran into one that was too hard or too easy for the point I was at in the game, though it was possible to go back and complete some missions that were skipped early in the game after advancing the armament of the ship to the point that the battles were a breeze.


space rangers 2          space rangers 2


Either as part of a mission or part of the exploration process, the element that sets Space Rangers 2 apart from its galactic exploration and conquest brethren are its mini-games.  Invading hostile planets enables a great RTS mini-game that includes the ability to take control of a mech 1st person shooter style.  Slipping into a black hole fires up a old school arcade action game that reminded me of the early vector classic Omega Race.  I enjoyed all of the mini-games, but by far my favorite were the text adventure ones.  For instance, in the aforementioned scenario where your ranger is sent to prison, the game gives you an option of “playing” his or her experiences there.  If you choose to do this, you are faced with a simple text adventure in the Scott Adam’s mode.  Each day the Ranger is faced with a number of choices.  Which choices are made will determine just how damaging or rewarding the stay in prison will be.  I found the whole experience charming.  It was great to drop out of the modern gaming world and into the past for a few minutes every now and then.


Space Rangers 2 is an original and innovative game, but, more importantly, it is great fun.  I’m not sure there is any game this year that I’ve had more fun with.  I imagine it isn’t a game for everyone.  I’m seen some complaints about the length of time that the mini-games take the player away from the core game, but I enjoyed that time so much that it wasn’t a problem for me.  There are also a few bugs and glitches along the way (in my experience these are all in the mini-games—the main game ran flawlessly for me).  Overall, the game is finely polished and loaded with gaming goodness.


- Danny Webb

(August 28, 2006)


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