Supremacy Four Paths to Power PC CD-ROM
Published by Matrix Games
Developed by Black Hammer Game
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £18.99 (or £13.99 for download)
Supremacy Four Paths to Power, an introduction.
Fans of turn-based space strategy games have had it rough over the last few years. After years of waiting Master of Orion 3 turned out to be a big disappointment and after only a month on sale the game headed for the bargain bucket the world over. The prequel (MoO2) had once been acclaimed as Civilization in space but Master of Orion 3, whilst not a complete disaster, didn't live up to expectations. In fact the last classic turn-based space game was Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Here we have Supremacy Four Paths to Power the latest space flavoured turn-based strategy game.
What's the game about?
Supremacy Four Paths to Power, like most turn-based strategy games is an explore and conquer game, although unlike some titles in the genre it doesn't have any diplomatic options and there isn't any scope for trade agreements etc. There isn't any story to the game either which may come as a bit of surprise. You don't get a campaign and instead you'll have seven game variations where you can either square up to an AI opponent, play a hotseat game against a friend or take part in a network game (LAN or Internet). You get to control one of four races who each have a commanding officer. There's Kra'Ag of the Cha'Ar, Kaj of the Fvost, Mhaal of the Groth and Vagell of the Altans. Game modes include Conquest, Rescue Hero, Capture Home Planet and Ground Battle modes. When you attack a planet with a transport ship, the action switches to a land battle and it is here you'll get to see those units, such as artillery, tanks, snipers and infantry that you've created, in action. Naturally resources play a part in the game too and these are provided by the planets you conquer. You can build factories on these planets but building too many will cause a meltdown which effectively destroys a planet so it's wise not to get too greedy in this respect.
What's good about the game?
What I liked about Supremacy is that it felt comfortable straight from the off and had the gentlest of learning curves I've seen for a while in a strategy game. Each of the four races within the game have a good selection of units (units are a mix of common to all races and unique to a particular one) and the units all seem well designed. The interface has been kept clean and is easy to understand. Building units and transferring units from the planets to your transport ships is simplicity itself and the game makes a great use of drag and drop mouse control which definitely contributes to the games great ease of use. There might be no campaign but it's good to see the developers have included seven game types and a good collection of maps for you to play on. Whilst the single-player game isn't anything special the multiplayer game can be fun as the main problem with the game, the rather uninspiring AI, is completely removed.
What's not so good about the game?
Basically it's not that great an experience as a single player game. With no campaign mode you'll want to play against friends rather than the AI. The AI isn't bad but it is rather predictable and once you've played against it a few times, in order to get to grips with the game, you're going to want to play against human opposition. The tutorial can only by played if the game is in windowed mode because you have to read an html file to follow the instructions. This feels clunky and the game should have had a build in tutorial. Thankfully most will be able to do without the tutorial or you could even print the tutorial off if you don't want to constantly flick between windows. Finally I felt the land battles lacked that special quality that keeps you interested. Had it been of the quality of Laser Squad Nemesis or the earlier X-com games we would have really had something special.
How does it look?
Supremacy Four Paths to Power doesn't look bad at all. Whilst in space you can rotate the camera anyway you like, the map is actually fully 3D. Of course with the game being turn-based the ships move on a fixed plane (because of the movement grid they are bound to) but nevertheless it still looks good. The ships themselves look OK although if you zoom in close you can see that they aren't that detailed. However, they look good enough. The Land battles don't look so good but again they are sufficient and get the job done. The game allows you to play in a vast selection of resolutions (full screen and windowed) and you can also turn on anti-aliasing if you want to which serves to sharpen the look of the game.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Like most strategy games there are not too many problems with Supremacy Four Paths to Power. Most of the information in the game is given in text but there are a couple of exceptions. When you begin a game you are given a brief speech about your mission from your commanding officer and this is not subtitled. Likewise if you attempt to place too many factories on a planet you'll receive a scolding from your commanding officer and again this isn't shown in text (although you do receive a warning in text informing you of the danger). Otherwise though there aren't any problems and any information (such as when you control click on a ship or planet) is either shown in just text or delivered in speech and text.
We said in our introduction that fans of space flavoured turn-based strategy games have had it rough over the last few years with there being no truly great game being released and sadly this is still the case. Supremacy Four Paths to Power on the whole is a good game but the main appeal of the game will be the multiplayer element. The single-player game doesn't really have enough to keep a sustained interest. A lack of a campaign forces you to play one-off games against an AI that becomes predictable after you've played against it for a while. That said it's certainly not a bad experience but it's not a memorable one either. As a multiplayer game though this problem is removed and is more enjoyable.
Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification
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If you like to play your turn-based strategy games against your friends on or offline then Supremacy Four Paths to Power is a game to enjoy. As a single player game though it's lacking and could have done with a campaign and an AI that offered greater variation.
To visit Matrix Games click here.