Escape Velocity Override 1.0
Company: Ambrosia Software, Inc.
Mike: Ambrosia’s slogan for the release
of their sequel to Escape Velocity was
“Rediscover Addiction.” In my case, it
was discovering addiction for the first time.
I didn’t spend too much time with Escape Velocity when it was first released, but after playing the sequel, I had to go back and see what I had missed in the first installment. I ended up getting addicted to both games at the same time!
Adam: I had never heard of Escape Velocity, let alone played it. However, like Mike, I am now completely addicted to Escape Velocity Override (EV Override).
Gamers new to the world of Escape Velocity (EV) need not worry; both games can be enjoyed on their own, without any knowledge of the other title. Fans of EV will also be glad to know that EV Override contains many of the little touches that made the original game so popular. So Mike, tell us a little about Escape Velocity and its sequel, Override.
Mike: Well, Adam, the original Escape Velocity casted you as the owner of a shuttlecraft in the mid 21st century. Through the process of trading, buying, selling, carrying passengers and cargo, and embarking on special missions, you could earn enough money to buy a new ship, outfit it with your preferred capabilities, and control your own destiny. You could remain neutral in the interstellar war between the Confederate government and the Rebels, or you could take a side and join the war. You could remain a simple merchant and amass a fortune, or you could become a mercenary and accept dangerous missions. You could even become a pirate and make your living plundering other ships.
Override is set 100 years later than the original EV. The Confederate/Rebel war has long since ended, and the human race has reached out even farther into the uncharted vastness of space. In the process, it has discovered new worlds, new technologies, and new enemies. Another war is at hand — against an alien race known as the Voinians. The war is expensive and trying, and some people have become discontent and restless. The universe is torn between interplanetary war and civil unrest, while being on the threshold of exploring amazing portions of deep space and making enormous technological strides.
You have just graduated from the Academy, and are ready to make a future for yourself in space. You have your trusty shuttlecraft — a newer model than the one featured in the first EV game — and 10,000 credits with which you start to make your fortune. Will you become a merchant? A trader? A fighter pilot in the war? A rebel or a pirate? An explorer into uncharted space? As the saying goes, the choice is yours…
Adam: That choice is not always easy or clear, especially at the start of the game. It’s easy to become overwhelmed playing EV Override, since the universe is so vast and there are so many things to do.
Mike: You can land on planets and browse the mission computer while having a drink at the local bar. You can hail other space ships and trade greetings and tips. You can fight battles, hire escorts to aid you in your travels, board and search disabled ships, or gamble for more money. Best of all, your actions have effects on the rest of the game: complete a mission successfully, and you will gain favor with your employer, increasing your chances of more exciting and better paying missions. If you mess up, or if you do something to upset the government, you may find yourself in hot water when you try to return to certain planets.
Adam: Gaining extra credits also means increasing your chances of survival. After hyperspacing into a certain system, especially ones farther away from Earth, you will jump directly into battles, and ships will attack you, even if you don’t fire on them. With extra credits, you can buy missiles, rockets, or even new, more powerful ships to combat these unexpected attacks.
Mike: EV Override is very nonlinear, offers a little bit of everything, and is a blast to play. The universe is five times larger than the original Escape Velocity universe, there are all new ships and weapons to try out, and plenty of new subplots and inside jokes to enjoy. It’s a little unfortunate that the user interface wasn’t expanded or improved a little bit; hailing a ship or going to the bar brings up the same old (somewhat boring) dialog boxes as they did in the original. Not to say that’s bad, but it definitely lends a slightly dated feel to this otherwise fresh, brand new game.
One thing that has expanded along with the EV universe is the RAM requirement. EV used 6.5 to 8.3 Mb of free RAM, but the sequel wants at least 12.5 Mb. A little hefty, and be warned: the more physical RAM, the better. I experienced a little slowdown and occasional freezes on my ‘040 LC 575 with 8 Mb RAM and RAM Doubler enabled. However, on my PowerBook 1400 with 64 MB of RAM, it ran flawlessly.
Adam: Good advice, Mike. Also expanding in the sequel is the shareware fee, from $15.00 in the original to $25.00 this time around. But when you’re addicted, no amount of money will stop you from playing, and asking $25.00 for this top-notch game is not unreasonable.
Escape Velocity Override requires an 8 bit (256) color screen that is 13″ or larger, and it recommends a ‘040 or PowerPC processor, but judging by the way it played on Mike’s old computer, I recommend a PowerPC.
Mike: For fans of science fiction and adventure, and EV veterans, Override provides an immersive experience that does nearly everything right. For newcomers to the genre and gamers who have never tried EV, Override should be a pleasant surprise. Ambrosia has really outdone itself this time around — it definitely is time to “rediscover addiction”.
Adam: When a shareware game comes out, the way to really judge it is not by its graphics, sound, or even storyline; it’s by the degree the game has you addicted, and EV Override has me addicted 100%. Whether you’re rediscovering or just beginning, chances are you’ll enjoy Escape Velocity Override.
Download Escape Velocity Override 1.0