Master of Orion: Out with a bang

(This is part of my journey playing through Master of Orion.  You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lanes page.)

As I’m sitting here in Seattle waiting for the PAX craziness to start, I figure it’s as good as any time to have a final Master of Orion session.  I think I’m definitely at a point where I want to move on to a new game and want to quit while I’m still somewhat happy with this particular playthrough instead of getting too frustrated.

So when you know you’re going to go out, you might as well go out with a bang.  I gather up my entire fleet and give them one suicidal order: storm the gates of Orion.  Take on the Guardian.  See if we can defeat him, but if not, just fold gracefully.

final1As my fleet traverses the distance to Orion, the cheerful GNN robot comes on to deliver an upbeat report:

genocideGenocide!  It makes for good ratings, I guess.  You don’t have to look so smug about it, tho.

Since my planets keep churning out ships, I form a second fleet and wing them Ysharros’ way, just for the heck of it.  Sometimes not caring at all can be a joy in and of itself.

So here we go, the final battle with the Guardian of Orion:

guardianHis opening move?  Giant fireball of doom.  Hm.

It… doesn’t go well for me.  At all.

battleActually, my ships do hang in there far longer than I expected.  The Guardian moves really fast and can hit my ships from across the screen, while my guys have to plod over no man’s land just to get within point-blank range to shoot.  Still, the battle lasts for 30 seconds and I see all sorts of neat effects.  My final ship?  A lone Battlechick fighter.  Because MOO doesn’t really show you hit points unless you use certain tech on your ships to show it, I have no idea what the Guardian was at when I was obliterated.  Probably 100% health.

The end is pretty fun, though.  My fleets quickly blitz through Ysharros’ and Ocho’s defenses, bomb those planets into extinction, and then dash away.  My final turn has GNN popping up to give me this happy news:

cometMan, that brings me back.  Those random events do help a lot to keep games from becoming stale.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So we come to the end of this Master of Orion playthrough.  It was, to use a tired term, a blast.  I was a little worried that it wouldn’t retain the same charm that it had in the mid-90s, but that wasn’t the case at all.  There’s still a lot to love about the game: delightfully retro pixel graphics, an easy-to-understand interface, fun tech trees, and the joy of building a galactic empire.

I think a lot of you hit it on the head when you’ve commented that the real strength of the 4X games is the freedom to create and tell your own story, the story of an empire.  The Bio Break empire might not have been successful in the end — for many reasons that are obvious looking back now — but it was a great ride.

Sure, there are several things that I would love to see changed if someone was going to update this for modern sensibilities.  Faster map movement (the click-to-move-the-map thing is so annoying), for one.  More ship icons — there are way too few of them.  A better AI.  A diplomacy system that isn’t just “war” or “not war”.  A trade system.

But overall?  It’s a great game that I recommend to any of you that found this playthrough entertaining.  It plays wonderful today, shining with that Microprose polish that I loved back in my youth.

Perhaps one day I’ll get around to MOO2, a game that I really don’t have much experience with at all.  But not today.

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7 thoughts on “Master of Orion: Out with a bang

  1. “Sure, there are several things that I would love to see changed if someone was going to update this for modern sensibilities. Faster map movement (the click-to-move-the-map thing is so annoying), for one. More ship icons — there are way too few of them. A better AI. A diplomacy system that isn’t just “war” or “not war”. A trade system.”

    I think you just summed up half the changes found in MOO2. You really should play it–one of my top 10 games of all time, for sure.

  2. Aww dang, that was a good run. Worse, now you are making ME want to run Masters of Orion and write about it! It will fit with all the other crap I write about anyway… hehe. :P Thanks for the story!

  3. Pingback: 4x games in space | GamingSF

  4. Was thinking about this genre thanks to this great series of posts. Personally I played Ascendancy instead of MOO and after that moved on to Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain, which IMHO is the best of the genre that I’ve tried. Admittedly I don’t think I ever played MOO2 but I loved Pax Imperia back in the day…

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