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Game #932
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  Rules of Engagement 2    View all Top Dogs in this genre
Strategy   Squad-level

Rating: 7.58 (101 votes)

Rules of Engagement 2 box cover

Rules of Engagement 2 screenshot
One of the most replayable games of all time, Rules of Engagement 2is about strategic starship combat that could be integrated with the tactical-level Breach 3. The interface, although logical, is dauntingly detailed. Those who take the time to scale the steep learning curve, however, will find their patience well rewarded with deep and challenging gameplay. This sequel is even better than the original, with a campaign builder and integration with the strategic-level Breach 3. Angus Manwaring wrote an excellent review of the Amiga version:

"It does seem to be more of an updated version of RoE than an entirely new game, so if you have the chance of getting both, you're almost certainly better off just buying RoE2. The second game is definitely a lot bigger weighing in at over seven megs whereas the first game was less than three. It's also nice to see that they've organised everything into proper directories on your hard drive rather than just dumping the lot into a single directory.

So is it an updated version of the first game with all the bells and whistles that should have existed before but didn't? Well, not really. In RoE, there was at least a scene-setting intro and some (admittedly rather dodgy) title music. Nothing here, bar a couple of title screens. I wonder if these things were lost in the conversion from the PC version. Before you can do anything you'll need to go into the separate Builder program and generate a character. Having done that you can enter the game proper and go about a training mission or two. As with RoE, there does seem to be rather a lack of background sounds, I know they don't actually change the gameplay, but they can really add to the atmosphere. Perhaps the most obvious difference between the first and second of the RoE games is the control method. It's the same in principle, clicking on colour-coded, labelled control buttons, or using the keyboard equivalents, but in RoE different prompts, Tactical, Comms, Navigation etc. had their own screen that you could call up. In RoE2, your screen is divided into four rectangular areas that you can arrange all the prompts inside. You can have Data Retrieval on the top left and Tactical on the bottom right, and so on. I know what you're thinking (punk), you're thinking this makes a lot of sense, and you're going to be able to access the various functions more quickly and effectively, ideal in a combat situation. The trouble is that all the sections have several different screens for their various functions, so if you want, for example, to send a radio message to one of your ships, that's fine except if you haven't got one of the other radio screens that displays the incoming radio messages, you won't see any acknowlegement or know if your orders have been complied with. This principle holds true for all the sections: one of your tactical screens controls firing missiles and laser weapons, but a separate controls the shields and mines. If you have to have two tactical screens up, that's half your monitor used up already, so I'm not entirely convinced that it was as clever an idea as it sounds. I suppose though, that when you're used to it, and you have a clear idea of what systems you'll need to use in a hurry, it probably works pretty well. There are also four pre-defined setups, representing different defence conditions, so I suppose I should give the system the benefit of doubt.

To sum it up, Rules of Engagement 2 is, like its predecessor, a rare chance for the player to engage in involved and detailed space warfare. It's obvious that the game system has not been whipped up in a hurry, and that the programmers have really made an effort to provide us with a game of epic proportions and plenty of depth. In my view though, they have not completely taken advantage of the opportunity to bring more "sexiness" and immediate appeal to what is already a very solid game indeed."

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: Thomas Carbone & Maurice Molyneaux
Developer: Impressions
Publisher: Impressions
Year: 1993
Software Copyright: Impressions
Theme: Science Fiction, Epic
None that we know of
System Requirements: DOS
Where to get it:
Related Links: RoE 2 scenarios (archived)
If you like this game, try: Breach 3, Rules of Engagement, Paladin 2

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