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|Hyperspeed Box||CGW AD||CGW Review Article|
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Sure, your starship is 15,000 feet long and armed with remote-controlled fightercraft, kamikaze fighters, a devastating plasma gun and high-tech probes, but will all that firepower be enough against The Stentor, ruthless time-traveling space pirates, or the colossal energy beings known as The ZOR?
Alien Combat and Role-Playing Adventure Imaginative graphics and sounds remind you constantly of the wonders; mysteries, dangers and rewards of the strange, sometimes hostile, solar systems you travel among.
Perhaps diplomacy is the answer. The Cicisbeo are vain and arrogant - perhaps that ego can be worked to your advantage. The Broodmasters are sinister, manipulative and seek universal domination, but are they a little too eager?
Perhaps something can be gained from shrewd trading. But that will be tough against the. ever-seeking, ever-hungry Collectors, keepers of the Museum of Time; not to mention the supra-intelligent Jot, who control the minds of everyone nearby.
Whatever choices you make, make them quickly. You're moving at Hyperspeed - second thoughts could be fatal. Intricate role-playing opportunities with dozens of bizarre aliens, each responding according to their customs, hidden agendas and intergalactic relationships.
Four star clusters to explore, each with different alien races and unique challenges, each more difficult than the last.
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Hyperspeed Box Contents:
CGW Cover: December 1991
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But there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes. Alien races of every conceivable size, shape, temperament and sophistication seek to aid, use, corrupt or destroy you - and you don't know which.
Diplomacy. Negotiate with a variety of alien races. Forge strategic treaties and alliances with those you trust. Each alien race is uniquely animated.
Firepower. Pilot a massive starship armed with remote-controlled fightercraft, kamikaze attack ships, a devastating plasma gun and high-tech probes.
Customize the ship's engine and weapons systems. Battle alien warships in Super 3-D Graphics.
Hyperspeed is a dramatic enhancement of MicroProse's popular interstellar action epic, Lightspeed, featuring four giant star clusters to explore, an all-new animated opening sequence, more aliens and more role-playing adventure.
CGW Cover: March 1992
Page 56 (see below)
Hyperspeed From MicroProse
by Stanley Trevena
Protection: Document Look-Up
Designers: Sandy Petersen and Andy Hollis
Publisher: MicroProse, Hunt Valley, MD
Exploration and colonization serve as the foundation for many science fiction stories. In Hyperspeed,players find themselves seeking out alien life=forms in something of the same manner in which a certain 25-year-old television show sought them out. Of course, Hyperspeed will not appear alien to all gamers - many will recognize it as a direct descendent of Lightspeed.
In Hyperspeed, as in Lightspeed (since the latter is actually a part of the former), the player is placed in the far future. Earth is an ecological wasteland and the population must evacuate to other worlds in order to give Earth time to recover from the wounds of humanity. Huge Conestoga-class transport ships are sent out to seed other clusters with human populations. The player, in turn, pilots a Trailblazer-series dreadnought ahead of the transports to explore new worlds, mine resources, make treaties and rid the cluster of any aliens that are a threat to the human colonies.
The player must interact with the aliens and decide how well they will coexist with the human colonies. Hyperspeed's main claim to fame over some space opera-style computer games is this player-directed open-endedness. The player is left to choose which direction to take, which aliens to make peace with and which ones to destroy. There are moral decisions that must be made with no "right" answers imposed by the game designers. Every decision not only affects the way individual alien races interact with the player, but may also affect the way certain other alien races deal with the player.
As noted earlier, Lightspeed is actually part of Hyperspeed. That is, the two star clusters from Lightspeed are the first two of four in Hyperspeed. The keystrokes and commands are also the same. This may disappoint some who have been waiting for a new add-on disk for Lightspeed or the much rumored Lightspeed ll, both of which have been speculated about on the on-line services since Lightspeed first appeared. Hyperspeed is both of these, an enhancement and a sequel. Many more aliens have been added, as well as two very large star clusters. The game has been given a Sierra-style game introduction in which the player is given the history and goal of the game, a preview of some of the alien ships and is treated to a boarding and launching sequence.
The game interface is easy to use and well conceived. The player serves as a one-man crew, handling navigation, defenses and maintenance of the engine room, as well as any piloting. All of these jobs can be controlled with a combination of keyboard, mouse and joystick. The status of ship systems can be monitored from small icons positioned around the main viewer, making it easy to assess damage during battle and decide if a quick trip to the engine room is called for. "Buttons" are used extensively for most operations and flight controls can be toggled between the traditional airplane-style controls and directional control. Navigation is especially easy, since the player is given a 3-D rotating navigational screen and simply chooses a destination and presses one of two "buttons" on the controls. Once the destination is selected, the player uses the spindrive to travel to that system.
Along the way, the player may be attacked or have a ship enter into its space. Being attacked drops the player to normal speed. Then, the player must either meet the aliens' demands or defeat them in battle in order to continue to a selected destination. The player is given the option of attack in the case of another ship crossing the player's path.
It is possible to escape from any combat by using the escape pod. However, using this method of escape destroys ten components from one's engine room. Using an escape pod will return the player to his or her home base and a new ship. Naturally, this maneuver consumes valuable time and the player loses all inventory from the previous ship.
Orientation for Pilots (Game Play)
When entering a new system, the first order of business is to launch a probe. If the system is unoccupied, an information screen with the type, temperature, atmosphere and resources of each planet will be displayed. Resources can be mined from planets by launching mining complexes. The ship can only carry three mining complexes, so some systems will require several visits in order to claim all resources.
If alien ships are present and no probe is launched or any movement is made toward the aliens, combat will automatically result. Therefore, communication with alien races is vital to the success of any pilot. The communications interface may look simplistic at first, but it offers plenty of information. One can get descriptions of aliens, initiate trading transactions and forge peace treaties. The player must not only read between the lines of communication, but also watch the body language of the alien itself. A clear example of this is found in the third cluster, Sassanid. In this cluster there is an alien race of doglike creatures known as the Halicot. Inquiries about either the Zeveult or Automata cause the Halicots' ears to stand up, and they duck for cover. Obviously, these races strike fear into the Halicot but what that means to the human race is for the player to discover.
Trade is the only means by which the player can enhance his ship with new components and obtain rare planetary resources. The trade screen is split in half, with the player's resources on the left and the alien offerings on the right. The player selects needed items while offering items from his stores in trade. A slide bar indicates how well balanced the current trade is; acceptance comes only when the trade is balanced. Once an equitable deal is arranged, the player accepts the trade and can go directly to the engine room to use the newly acquired parts or return to the communications screen.
The engine room is a wonderful part of the game. All systems in the engine room are constructed from components. Many components can be used in several different systems and extra components are kept in reserve for future use. To fill an empty space or replace a damaged component, the player clicks on a component space and a new component is taken from reserves and inserted. The spindrive, thrusters, forward and rear screens, blaster turret and main guns are all systems which can be accessed on this screen.
At the start of the game, each system isat some fraction of full power. So, to reach maximum efficiency, the player must add to and enhance each system. For example, the player will want to enhance the spindrive system early on, since this will increase fuel efficiency. Players will soon learn that shifting components between combat and drive systems can help a player early on, as long as they are ready to make some quick changes should combat be unexpectedly encountered.
Combat, while not the main focus, does become necessary. The Trailblazer carries a ten-missile chassis that can carry either guided missiles, fighters or kamikazes. Naturally, each type of weapon has its particular strength. Guided missiles can be launched in a "fire and forget" mode at moving targets; precision runs at alien ship's defenses can be executed with a fighter and defenses can be neutralized when a kamikaze delivers the maximum amount of damage.
All of the alien ships are unique and have different defenses, so each one is its own puzzle. As for defense, the blaster turret is the player's primary weapon, since it allows for fast 360-degree movement and is good for attacking enemy fighters and incoming missiles. Because of the Trailblazer's size and speed, the main gun is relatively ineffective against agile fighters and is best used for long-range attacks on large ships and star bases.
Time is of the essence in the protagonist's quest for a new home for the colonists, since they can only survive so long in transit. The colony status screen displays the number of claimed resources; in each cluster the player will have to secure a set amount of each resource. Also displayed are the races that have been eliminated from the cluster, peace treaties secured and the availability of a suitable planet for the player's colonists. A perfor mance rating lets the player know how well he or she is doing in the cluster.
New players will want to establish trade and fuel supply routes early in the game. Most will find trade to be useful in accumulating parts and stocking extras. One should always use the component value screen in order to exploit differences in component values between alien races (arbitraging); this will save trips back to home base for additional data casings.
Also, one should always take the time to secure alien-specific resources before attacking or eliminating an alien race. When access to specific components has been cut off, a last-ditch escape pod trip can restore the needed components to your ship at a heavy price in time and lost stores. The player is allowed a large number of saves and can use them to explore what-if situations, allowing the player to take a step back from a wrong decision.
Should We Get "Hyper?" (Conclusions)
With so many space-related games on the market, it's hard for players to decide which ones to add to their collections of software. Shoot-'em-up-style space arcade games and pure strategy games are abundant on the software shelves. Hyperspeed offers a refreshing change of pace to this genre, a kinder, gentler one that centers around exploration and communication, with combat playing a secondary role. Hyperspeed will reward players with smoothly animated graphics, excellent sound and a well-developed, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, storyline. -CGW
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