(This is part of my journey going checking out Star Control 2. You can follow the entire series on the Retro Gaming page.)
I know what you’re thinking at this point: “Dude’s been dragging his feet in the solar system for three sessions now! When is he ever going to leave? Is he scared of the universe or something?”
No, I’m not scared (well, a little… there IS that Ultimate Evil floating out there, after all). And the answer is, “today.” Today I’m going to leave. But first I need more fuel, which means more mining on Mercury. And this time, I am save-scumming like crazy!
With my Mercury haul, I get enough cash (sorry, “RUs”) to fuel up. Time to blow this joint and see the galaxy!
And here is the galaxy map. HOLY CARP that’s a big map. Every dot there? That’s a system that you can visit. I can’t wait to explore this puppy. I like how the Ilwrath and Spathi regions are outlined for me too. That’s helpful as a beginner.
Hyperspace is reasonably easy to figure out. You can use the starmap to punch in coordinates for the autopilot and/or navigate the ship as usual to get from one system to another. I wish you could save coordinates and blow up the star map so it wasn’t a dense field of tiny dots, but it’s not impossible to work with.
You thought the solar system was big? Welcome to Alpha Centauri, my friend, home to a bajillion planets. Where to first?
A silver ship floats by and we bump into it, encountering the Melnorme for the first time. These weird guys are information traders who won’t reveal anything without credits. And to get credits, you have to sell them very specific information. The alien looks like a cross-breed of Kirby and a muffin.
The Melnorme said that they have “thousands” of sources of information and that I was known to them. Of course I was. Everyone knows of Emperor Syp and his grand interstellar crusade!
Ominous what now?
There are a couple of very mineral-rich planets in this system, although they’re also on incredibly hostile worlds. I had to develop a technique in which I’d send my lander down, quickly try to grab just one node, and then instantly evac. If successful, I’d save and go on to the next dot and so on. More often than not, the electrical storms and fire gusts would get me. Took a while, but I got all of the goods.
No sooner than I leave Alpha Centauri than I get sucked into an “encounter in deep space.” I’m both excited and fearful.
I never found out who these guys were. This probe shows up and declares that it’s on a peaceful mission of exploration, and when I say the same, it then abruptly “overrides” its protocols and decides to dismantle my ship. Say what now?
Gotta admit, Star Control 2 keeps me on my toes with these aliens. Well, whoever they are, they’re tough: They blew away all three of my ships without a problem. Reload time!
The probe shows up every time I leave Alpha Centauri and kills me, no matter what I say. I do learn a bit more about it, however. This is a Slylandro probe that’s on a mission to explore the galaxy. It replicates itself by breaking down what it finds for materials (including my ships), and when it hits 10 replications, it returns home. That does not sound like a well-thought-out plan.
It takes me just so many reloads, but finally I’m able to eke out a victory against the probe. Of course, I’m down to a single crew member, so I’m thinking that a trip back to Earth might be necessary. WANTED: RED SHIRTS FOR FATAL SPACE MISSION. MUST PROVIDE OWN BODY BAG.
Happily, all of the exotic minerals I mined at Alpha Centauri paid off — I rake in about 9,000 RUs, which is more than enough to fully fuel my ship, restock all of the crew of all three ships, add two more guns, and refit my flagship with more engines. Oh, and I think I got another storage pod in there too.