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Game #2754
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Battlecruiser 3000AD v2.09    View all Top Dogs in this genre
Simulation   Hypothetical

Rating: 7.17 (2336 votes)

Battlecruiser 3000AD v2.09 box cover

Battlecruiser 3000AD v2.09 screenshot
Battlecruiser 3000AD v2.09 is an epic space simulation game that, after multiple false starts and a bug-ridden first release, fully communicates designer Derek Smart's visionary design to the public. If you are one of the gamers who were frustrated with Version 1.0, forget the past and give this release a try: it is much more playable, polished, and fun than the notorious first game. Although arguably not as polished and consistently fun as freelance classics such as Elite, BC3K v2.0 is still a must-try for any die-hard gamer who is interested in exploring an expansive, dynamic universe where the choices are virtually unlimited. Games Domain elaborates on the game in more detail in their review:

"Battlecruiser 3000 AD V2.0 is the Star Trek-like game that I searched for these many years. Let us understand something at the outset of this review. BC3K is a command level space simulation strategy game. It is not an X-Wing, Tie Fighter... or even I-War type of game. You will initially command a battlecruiser and later an entire fleet that has internal dynamics (a living crew, ships, and other logistics) and external dynamics (a living universe with all sorts of events occurring in real time) that is not to be found in any other space simulation that exists on the planet Earth. Some games may attempt very limited parts of the BC3K whole, but each of them is minutia to the sum of BC3K's parts. Furthermore what really strikes me about the game is that it simulates so well the drudgery of patrolling duty. I spent a few years in the United States military and part of those years were either in a submarine patrolling or as a member of a Marine detachment onboard a naval vessel. BC3K V2.0 plays like I believe real-time patrolling would be in space based on my sea experiences. There is much that is fairly routine that can be punctuated by a flurry of activity and then more "cutting squares" in the ocean. It is this aspect of BC3K V2.0 that really shines and may be the cause of many players' disappointment because they expect a simple space combat game with flashy graphics and non-realistic physics models (although even BC3K violates this to a certain extent which shall be discussed below).

There are three types of BC3K games. Extreme carnage is a mode used to attract the arcade crowd and I guess could be used to hone one's combat skills. The name pretty much says all you need to know about this part of BC3K. Free flight mode is probably my favorite because here the player commands a ship or later a fleet and moves around the galaxy exploring areas. While you travel there are all sorts of little encounters you can get into. This is the mode that I spent most of my time playing while reviewing the game. The advanced campaign mode (ACM) is pretty difficult. The BC3K help site is filled with pleas for help, hints, and grumbles about ACM's difficulty. Free flight mode (and ACM mode) includes an experience point system that rewards your accomplishment of certain tasks by promoting you to different ranks. The game story revolves around Galactic Command (GALCOM) which is an alliance of Terrans, Empirians, and Vesperons. You take command of a battlecruiser and GALCOM and travel through the universe gathering resources, patrolling for hostile enemies, and accomplishing assigned missions.

There are a number of emotional critics of BC3K and its developer, but when asked to judge the game in an objective manner one cannot help but notice the brilliance of what Derek Smart is both attempting to do and what BC3K accomplishes. This game is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. This is a very deep strategy game with even deeper tactical elements wrapped in a package with a somewhat confusing interface and system that takes a while to learn. You will spend a lot of time floating around doing mundane logistics tasks, patrolling, and exploring the BC3K universe but this really should be expected because it is Derek's attempt at creating a real space simulation. I must say that I think it is odd that I can control my battlecruiser with a joystick (and if you have a digital joystick enjoy learning how to use it with BC3K). You would not expect James T. Kirk to pull up a joystick to fly the Enterprise through space. I do not think that battlecruisers should be controlled in this manner because it detracts from my simulation experience a bit. I also think that interceptors probably should have a different physics model than the battlecruiser (I did not notice a difference), but these are minor quibbles. If you have the time to spare and put some effort into learning the BC3K system, I believe that your efforts will be rewarded with a space strategy simulation experience whose depth cannot be matched by other PC games."

With the next entrant in the series Battlecruiser: Millennium under way, designer Derek Smart has decided to release this version 2.0 as freeware 2 years after its initial release. Two thumbs up, way up!

Note: the official site linked below also advertises other similarly themed games by the same developer, so check them out if you're interested in this!

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Derek Smart
Developer: Freeware
Publisher: Freeware
Year: 1998
Software Copyright: 3000AD Inc.
Theme: Science Fiction, Freelance, Epic
None that we know of
System Requirements: Windows XP
Where to get it:
Related Links: Official site
If you like this game, try: Battlecruiser 3000AD, Elite Plus, Wing Commander: Privateer

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