Escape Velocity 1996 Game Review

Escape Velocity 1996 Game Review

1996 spawned one of the greatest classic shareware games of all time Escape Velocity sent us hurtling out into a strange new universe in a small shuttlecraft, with only the most basic shielding to protect us from the hostile cosmos.

Escape Velocity is a 2d space combat, delivery quest and trading game in which you ascend from being an unknown and lowly shuttlecraft captain into the guy or gal who has to save the Galaxy!

When starting out, you need to fly missions and trade basic resources in order to afford the credits to survive and progress. There are several amazing ships to choose from, the most cost efficient being the long range and versatile scout ship. With enough weapons to make it a solid threat, cargo space to cover most missions and the speed and agility to avoid conflict where possible, you cannot go wrong with it. 

Ships can easily be outfitted with whatever gear you can fit on them. Usually rather than going for combat prowess, I find the best upgrades early on convert weapon space to cargo to maximise the profit from trade routes and add fuel tanks to increase the distance you can travel, speeding up progression.

An honorable mention should go to the Courier which is one of my favorite ships on the game, not so much because it’s a great ship but because it was the first one I bought in the game and I flew it for most of the game the first time I played. The courier is not worth the money if you are a serious gamer but if you want a challenge, it’s an excellent vessel.

If we forget the defender exists, the first combat ready ship at your disposal will be the clipper, which packs just enough of a punch to make it a threat for preying on merchant vessels. You can probably tell at this point that I’m a bit of a pirate. Once you have shot your way through a couple of ships, your combat rating will increase allowing you access to the main missions for the game.

You can either play for the confederation, a bunch of jumped up and officious bureaucrats which wear the tried and tested blue, or be one of the cool kids like me and join the rebellion. Either side will allow you access to a few cool ships and technologies. But terror lurks in the stars above.

I’m the opening text crawl, we are taught that there are aliens which fought against humanity but got drove back into the darkness of space. Now they’re back and meaner than ever and it’s up to you to help to destroy them to keep humanity safe… 

Once the universe is saved and you are the hero, become the villain by demanding tribute from the people you just saved. Destroy everything you come across and become a pirate god, hated by the people who you freed from the tentacles of extinction.

Escape Velocity is fun, simple and enjoyable. You can play the game for hours and not get bored, and I have come back to it time and time again. I find that the universe is not very forgiving, much less so if you are stupid enough to play on hardcore mode. Just… remember that escape pod if you do!

Overall, I rate Escape Velocity as a solid 7.5/10. For the time it was one of the best games out there, and even now… In the far future 25 years later… it’s still a great game to play.

Fly Fast – Get Rich as a Fleet Commander – Star Sonata II

Fly Fast – Get Rich as a Fleet Commander – Star Sonata II

Money makes the world go round, I think we can all agree on that. My experience playing Star Sonata for over 14 years should speak something for my insanity as a human being, but also my tenacity against adversity in the game.

There are two things you need to think about when it comes to making serious money as either a free to play or a lower level pay to play in the game, these are hullspace and speed. I make my money from DGs and sell my items to players either from a shop, undercutting everyone, or player to player for my modded gear.

Your average fleet commander is a slow moving bulky slug that slithers from system to system semi indestructible. I like to look at The FC as being the ultimate harvester, not because of this indestructibility but more so as they have what I see as being very useful abilities for making money fast – if you avoid common sense and aug them for speed.

There are three things to remember:

1: Fighters do decent damage. They are not overly powerful, and they can feel a little lacklustre at times, however I use them successfully to DG as a fleet commander so I’m not complaining.

2: Bots are reasonably strong for a fleet commander. They’re not exceptional but let’s be honest, they get the job done. Whatever you pick, just make sure they go fast and have long range, you don’t want them getting hit much. Sustain is always a useful thing too! Your Wild bots will automatically be fast, so don’t worry too much, unless you’ve been cursed with a heph aug.

3: What can’t hit you can’t hurt you. The most common argument against my setups is usually that people are afraid that they will be destroyed. This is a natural fear, especially if you are on DSF and you are used to losing battles against Space Rats and Volcoms in the Nexus.

My main statement on the fact is that if you don’t stand around being hit by everything and it’s mum, you are going to be absolutely fine… Stand there like a Wally and you deserve to get poned.

Fleet commander ships tend to be quite slow and bulky, but there are some faster ones. I do like the look of the Zeus throne plus, though that’s out of most people’s price range. It has a nice size and decent speed

For a tech 20 player, I’d recommend the PBF for it’s disgusting internal speed and three augs. It lacks defences but as a flagship, one can throw an advanced blocker and Warper onto that puppy and get it through level after level of most DGs without issues.

A Hera, Bouquet and Speedy Sup. Capacity augmenter will give you elec regen, mobility, speed and hull so you can DG quickly and efficiently. You will want to outfit your bots for a similar speed, and you can put a speed shield on it if you have the skill to survive with it. The PBF will allow for some awesome speed and quick farming relatively risk free.

Your Prog Rosies are the best wild bots, you can pay a player for them, or cap them yourself. If you’re poor or lack the stylin’ moovz to cap them, Basils will suffice.

You will want to aug your bots for range, speed and sustain. Damage isn’t so important. For years, I thought it meant everything but over time I learned that I generally get decent damage anyway from them.

A cheaper player will want the Lyceum Exploration cruiser, as there are decent tech 19 fighters with 1 Bouquet augmenter and 1 Hera or you could go with the Hybridized Battleship, for those tech 20 fighters and auras. Both are viable for fast farming, just bring an Afterburner and warper, or a blocker and warper to ensure safety. You will be fine.

Hera augs do reduce radar, but you should be fine with a decent radar on your cap ship. Most galaxies or systems, whatever you wanna call them have suns in. Enjoy the light adum gave to you.

Bots can be anything from your cheap Mzungu Liquids to tech 18 Anthos ships if you’re begging to get nerfed. Heck I love F Wings myself for their insane resists. Just chuck range and speed and sustain on them along with OS4s if you can afford them. Bingo. Abstructors with mining control are rather nice for just about anything if you are a cheapskate like me. Invest in your bar skills, invest in hull and speed upgrades where you can get them. Invest in everything you can skill wise. Ships, items etc can be replaced but you can’t. You will always benefit from them.

Learn about the control skills if you haven’t as they will make you strong.

So where do you DG?

All of warp 2 and 3 in earthforce. If you think warp 2 DGs are bad, they’re not. Lots of surprisingly nice things to get from there. Things most players want but can’t be bothered to go for. There are always people who want these items. They’re rare but heck, it’s worth having a play around, and they are very, very safe.

Warp 3 in earthforce is a garden of treasures just waiting to be mined.  You don’t need money to get this kind of setup working. You can probably hammer a decent setup together for a few billion if that. Just get a ragtag fleet together and chance it out.

The Lyceum Exploration Cruiser is awesome and very beautiful. The only drawback being that it’s Tech 19, meaning your fighters won’t be as bench, remember the Hera and Bouquet setup. They have a great inbuilt aura but it eats elec like Remdghast eats abuse. Once you are making money, upgrade where you can and max your first 5 bar skills for speed and hull before anything. Boom, now you are making money faster. I’d personally avoid trying this as anything other than FC. Shield monkey lacks the range to be effective, and it’s bots are sadly squishy by comparison.

Wild Bots are your main damage. I think everyone can agree that Prog Rosies re the best thing to ever happen to FC although if you have 20 RC, I recommend  Bana spears for the speed. Basils are good if you don’t have the tech for them. Their elec regen is great and if you have the brain for it you can exploit the hell out of that.

You will want to upgrade every bot skill you can along the way for more resistance and faster ships. Liberty is a must.

Maximise your range zen as well for the lols and just enjoy making money.

As a side note, Gunners can also clear things quite effectively if they are auged well but lack the hull to make them viable. If you work with a partner though this can be more effective… But you are probably gonna have to split that loot.

Infinitrap: Rehamstered – More than Just a Game…

Infinitrap: Rehamstered – More than Just a Game…

They say all great adventures begin at a point where we never see them coming, and this is where I begin my tale of Infinitrap, a game I have been a part of for quite some time. For those of you who don’t regularly read my stuff, my name is Alex O’Neil, and I work as a composer under the name of Chan Walrus. One day I was trying to hawk my dreadful music on Reddit, and I had the good fortune to stumble into a gentleman by the name of Yanick Bourbeau. Yanick happened to be developing a computer game with his company Shadebob Games, and he liked the music I had written and asked if I could join his team.

Maddened by thoughts of power and riches, I allied myself with him and his fantastic artist, the mysteriously enigmatic Stefan. What I didn’t know at the time was what I was getting myself into. Infinitrap was more than just a mere game, and these were more than mere developers. I had become part of something scarily brilliant and fantastic, but at the time, I had no idea what it was.

I had signed on as a composer, my mission to write some music for the game and give it a nice cool sound. I really enjoyed working on the music and nailed track after track, mainly thinking in a very 80s style, and they let me do what I wanted, which is rare. Like an aggressive case of the measles, my music grew on the helpless team of Shadebob, and before I knew it, they had become firm friends.

Yanick is an exceptional coder and provides the backbone of the gameplay coding. His work is absolutely wonderful, yet his level of sheer sadism in creating levels a person of my lacklustre skills can barely handle terrifies me. The thing that scares me about it though is the ease at which he can defeat his own levels, and having watched his playthroughs, all I feel is shame at my own gaming inadequacies. Yanick works hard on the game, fixing the bugs where they appear and making the game the exceptional game it is. He has performed some truly amazing feats during his playthroughs, and I am humbled by the fact my inability to play well has made the difficulty curve for the game a lot friendlier for players like myself.

Stefan is the game’s artist, providing some of the best pixel art I have ever seen. His work on Infinitrap is not only incredible in the way it looks, but it also fits seamlessly into the game. Nothing looks out of place and the game has a beautiful retro feel to it, which is one of the main reasons I loved the game when I was originally shown it for the first time. Stefan’s art is beautiful for many reasons, my favourite parts being the gore and gruesome death animations he made for Jack, the game’s unfortunate protagonist.

Both Yanick and Stefan outside of Infinitrap are exceptional human beings. The past couple of years have been some of the hardest of my life and they have been there for me. Through my personal struggles and missing my son, everything I have experienced that has been ultimately horrendous, I have had both of them there to support me. Yanick has helped support my science fiction series and work by being a solid patreon online and Stefan has brought my vision of a book cover to life for my novel. I am so grateful to have these two wonderful human beings in my life! I could not ask for better friends.

My work as a composer has given the game a lot but not only that, they have listened to my ideas and suggestions adding amazing new enemies into the game in the form of my hedgehogs. Hedgehogs are one of my spirit animals, and Stefan produced some amazing artwork to bring them to life. Cute and deadly, they wait for any adventurer in the game we have poured our lifeblood into.

So what is Infinitrap? Ohio Jack (No relation to Indiana Jones or Duncan Idaho) is an adventurer in search of an ancient cup that grants the wielder immortality. He must dice with death minute by minute as he runs through a network of caves perused by killer hedgehogs, zombies, spikes and flames, a potentially future girlfriend and the odd mer-person (no relation to Ariel). Jack must uncover the mystery of the caves, perform several missions I’m not going to spoil and defeat the evil banished within the cup. If he can do it successfully, he will gain something he never could have hoped for… But at what cost?

Infinitrap is the collaboration of three minds, all very different. Myself, Stefan and Yanick are all very different people, all philosophical and insane in our own way. We have different ideologies and backgrounds and are jointed together in the hope we can create something that will make a difference and make players happy. I could not have asked to work with a better team of people or asked for better friends! We hope you will enjoy playing the game as much as Yanick enjoys watching me fail at it.