- Lightspeed (video game)
Infobox VG| title = Lightspeed
IBM AT, IBM PS/1, IBM PS/2, Tandy 1000
media = 3.5" or 5.25" floppies
input = Keyboard, Mouse,
Lightspeed is a 1990
computer gamereleased by MicroProse. The box describes the title as an "Interstellar Action and Adventure" game. The game features space exploration, trade, combat and diplomacy in the same vein as 4X games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) such as Master of Orion. Lightspeed, unlike the popular series of turn-based strategy games, plays out in real-time. It also features space simulation and action game elements with an emphasis on strategy and exploration.
The game's premise is that the player must help recolonize the human race after the Earth's habitability is critically reduced by an ecological catastrophe. The entire human race is presently housed in huge "Conestoga-class" colony ships, which are waiting for the player to secure at least one planet with an Earth-like environment and to also acquire enough material resources to ensure that the colony or colonies in question can build a fledgling industrial base as soon as possible. The player's time to accomplish this goal is limited. In addition, the player must contend with the alien races living in the area that the player is exploring. The mission's success requires diplomacy to acquire allies and the elimination of races that may be potentially hostile to humanity. The player may also deem it necessary to destroy a friendly race in order to secure enough resources to successfully complete his or her objectives.
Spaceflight is similar in style to the Wing Commander or titles. Most races initially adopt a neutral stance towards the player, unless they ambush the player in between star systems. The player can then choose to attack or hold their fire, which can influence future relations with that species. The player may also choose to launch an unguided probe to initiate communications with neutral or friendly species. The player-controllable vehicles consist of the main "Trailblazer-class" cruiser (top left screenshot on box back) and small spacecraft chassis that can be quickly reconfigured for three different roles (that of a space superiority fighter, a powerful self-guided
kamikazemissile with poor maneuverability or a weak homing missile with excellent maneuverability). The player can also launch an escape pod when their "Trailblazer" is hopelessly crippled.
In addition, the "Trailblazer" is also equipped with a fast moving turret with which to shoot down lightly armored fighter craft. While this weapon (along with the weapons equipped on a fighter-variant chassis) cannot penetrate capital ship armor, the "Trailblazer" is also equipped with a powerful front-mounted main gun to deal with larger threats. Guided missiles and kamikaze craft can also damage capital ships. Interestingly, some aliens are equipped with shield generators that can negate main gun attacks. However, these generators are vulnerable to fighter and turret fire, as they are attached to the exterior of the ship. The shield component, along with certain weapon turrets, can be targeted by precision fire - a revolutionary feature for the time. This also ensures that no one weapon system becomes redundant at any point during the course of a game.
As an interesting and innovative gameplay element, the "Trailblazer" cruiser can only be crippled and not destroyed. The ship also contains a view the ship's engine room, which allows the player to enhance the ship's performance by upgrading or replacing the ship's components. The engine room is split into various areas including the "Spindrive" FTL engine, main cannon,
sublightengine, turret, and deflector shielding. These components can be destroyed in battle or by the use of the "Emergency Spindrive" function in order to retreat from battle and head to a safer star system to recoup and repair. If the "Spindrive" is running without additional components its fuel efficiency could drop to the point that it could become impossible to reach a friendly base to re-equip without running out of fuel. In this situation, the player would be forced to use the escape pod and return to main base for a replacement "Trailblazer". This however would cost precious mission time.
The game gives the player the option to choose one of two
star clusters in which to play in. The Hyades cluster is the easier of the two, while the Cerberus cluster offers a challenge for expert players. One can also engage in practice ship-to-ship combat from the main menu, or can elect to view a 3D gallery of some the ships in the game.
The game featured groundbreaking
polygonal 3D graphicsfor its time, running at 320x200 256-color VGAresolution and quality if played on capable hardware. While it could run on a CGA-equipped IBM XTwith PC speaker, it looked and ran best on an Intel 286-equipped machine with a VGA graphics card. The game also supported several sound cards of the era, such as the Roland MT-32, Adlib, and the Tandy 1000audio chip.
elected listing of species
*Broodmasters - an ugly, sinister and cowardly race who manipulate others to reach their goals of total domination.
*Cicisbeo - a genetically and physically perfect race of
humanoidswho are totally self-absorbed and arrogant, but also have an air of elegance. The name is a reference to the 18th century Italian term Cicisbeo, the professed gallant and lover of a noble woman.
*Didinium - a mysterious species that resembles
jellyfish. They crew ships equipped with powerful tractor beams.
*Lutin - an ant-like insectoid people. Quite militaristic, and they have no memory or any concept of future tense.
*Stentor - this pirate race vaguely resembles a colorful trumpet. Asking for a peace treaty will eventually provoke them into war. They have the ability to travel through time and do so constantly to repopulate their species. If the player cedes control of his or her primary base to them, they will use their time travel technology to significantly upgrade the player's "Trailblazer".
*Fel - a peaceful, elephant-like race. Mastering the cluster can prove difficult if the player befriends them, as they control many natural resources.
*Halicot - a species of puppy-dog-like people. Always friendly.
*Monad - an ethereal entity capable of wiping out any other race in the cluster. It seems to be all-knowing, and admonishes any behavior that violates the
seven deadly sins.
*Balathide - an ancient race of parasites that are quite knowedgeable.
*Athdalde - a destructive pirate race that turns star systems into husks, stripped of all resources.
*Vorticella - a fun-loving pirate race, good for trade.
*Jot - leaders of the Love Alliance. They are powerful
telepathsthat can will the player into performing certain actions.
*Venge - a vengeful race of lizards. They hate the Broodmasters, the Vorticella, and the Acari in particular.
*Automata - a robotic race. They require a special microchip in order to trade with the player.
*Dignee - leaders of the Peace Alliance. They resemble Llamas, their starbases look like castles, and their starships look like wooden sailboats.
*Cicisbeo - same as Hyades cluster, except slightly more aggressive.
*Acari - a race with resemble Imps. They are intensely lustful - their first question is "Are you the female of your species?", though they soon prove to be unparticular as to the sex of the character.
*Broodmasters - same as Hyades cluster, and the leaders of this alliance.
*Dacians - a batwinged race who are the thralls of the Broodmasters.
A sequel, entitled "
Hyperspeed", was released by "Microprose" in 1991. It was nearly identical to "Lightspeed", except that it included two additional star clusters for veterans of the first game. It also included an enhanced introductory cinematic.
* [http://www.mobygames.com MobyGames]
* [http://www.planetmic.com/orbit/hyperspd/hspd01.htm Hyperspeed Base]
Master of Orion
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