Imperium Galactica II: Alliances
August 1997. A turbulent period. The world momentarily loses sight of reality and enters a period of enforced mourning after the sudden death of Princess Diana. There is still another year to go before the sanitised pop sounds and rhythmic gyrating of Steps bursts on to the scene. The nation's gamers eagerly look forward to getting their hands on Daikatana come autumn...
Meanwhile, a little-known strategy game is being roundly ignored by all but a solitary reviewer with a slightly nasal voice and a ponytail that's far too long for its own good: Imperium Galactica - the game the world forgot.
Fortunately developers Digital Reality didn't forget it, and have seen fit to give us a sequel that takes advantage of all that modern PC technology can offer. The beauty of the original game was that it gave you a bit of everything: resource management, space combat, exploration and colonisation, ground battles, and even an ongoing storyline that kept you engrossed in the action and provided a variety of scripted missions to follow.
Imperium Galactica II appears to have retained its predecessor's rich tapestry of strategy gaming and built on it. The graphics are a world apart from the fairly basic visual nature of the original. Fully 3D (with "visuals to make you cry!" according to the press release), IG2 reminds us of the forthcoming Homeworld, certainly in the space combat sections, although there does appear to be more of a 'strategy game' feel to IGII than Relic's effort, with grids, icons and stats, and a suspiciously 'turn-based' atmosphere pervading through it all. However, we'll have to wait and see whether this turns out to be the case.
Digital Reality have gone to town on the features side of things too. First up you get to design and build your own ships, and trade the designs with other races further down the line for more advanced goods or equipment. Furthermore, in the style of Civilization you can discover and research over 150 different kinds of technologies and inventions to aid your plans. IGII can be played in a number of ways: a full-on campaign mode gives you three separate storylines to follow (with three separate races to explore them with), using an engine that mixes predetermined and random events to ensure plenty of replay appeal; custom galaxies can be defined if you just fancy a simple spot of non-mission based expansionism; multiplayer gives all the expected array of network and Internet options, enabling eight players to battle it out at once; and there are the individual one-off scenarios to complete, plenty of which will continue to be supplied after the game is released, further boosting the long-term aspects.
On paper, Imperium Galactica II has a lot going for it. Whether it can withstand the onslaught of Homeworld and Tiberian Sun, however, only time will tell. But if it too gets ignored, then there's no justice in the world.
Download Imperium Galactica II: Alliances
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
2018-12-27 Imperium Galactica II: Alliances game added.
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