Colony Wars Vengeance
a game by Psygnosis
Psygnosis wants to make one thing abundantly clear about Colony Wars: Vengeance. It is not a glorified mission disc for the highly acclaimed original. "We've totally rewritten the Al routines, we've rewritten the collision routines, and we've optimized the code so that you'll see a 30 percent increase in speed," said Lol Scagg, the game's producer, adding that the leaner graphics engine will allow for far more ships and weapon effects to appear on screen.
And that's just the beginning. The Colony Wars team--which has doubled in size since it finished the first game--is adding three new solar systems that'll be packed with more asteroids, more background nebulae and even distant black holes. Your ships' heads-up displays have been revamped with new shoot-assistance cues and enemy-status readouts. You now get 22 weapons, instead of the original's 15. The improved Al means your wingmen will actually help out this time around. And Psygnosis is throwing in more surprises that'll be revealed in the coming months.
The story and six-ending mission tree have been heavily tweaked, too. Vengeance continues the plot established by the original's fifth ending, which saw the League of Free Worlds sealing the wormhole to Earth. Cut off from the riches of the galaxy and with its own resources dwindling, Earth became embroiled in global civil wars until a hot-shot pilot named Kron united the planet's population. Kron's goal is simple: Use Earth's navy of space frigates and fighters to seek vengeance against the League forces.
You play a battle-hardened Earth pilot named Mertens, who'll be introduced to other supporting characters through the game's nearly 30 cinemas (there's even an enemy ace, whom you'll chase in several missions). Each mission now features multiple objectives, thus upping the game's overall length. "We tried to expand the amount of time during the missions," Scagg said. "Where they used to last between two and three minutes, they're now a minimum of five. There won't be any more missions than the original, but they'll be just as many and they'll be longer." Fortunately, you can save between each mission, unlike in the first game.
With the success of the original Colony Wars--which sold more than 150,000 copies in the United States--and with the obvious improvements in this stunning sequel, it looks like Psygnosis is building the best space-combat franhise in console gaming.
MANUFACTURER - Psygnosis THEME - ACTION NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
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Graphically, the original Colony Wars was hard to fault. It had some of the best graphics ever seen on the PlayStation--and even managed to wiggle its perky, well-defined young bottom in the face of a number of similar titles on the PC. As if that wasn't enough, a mere eight months later we now have a sequel well on the way in production ready for release before the end of the year.
A recent trip to Psygnosis' Liverpool-based studio in the U.K. revealed a significantly improved game. Comments made about the original have been noted and acted upon and we now find something that the team hopes addresses any of the complaints that people may have had the first time around.
We've discussed the story line to the new game in some detail in a previous issue of EGM (see EGM #107), so I won't bore you with that now. What you need to know about though are the new features.
The whole thing is now much friendlier to control--the HUD now includes a number of flight sim-inspired features such as weapons tracking, enemy shield strength and even a target indicator showing you where you'll need to fire in order to hit the zippy little League ships as they hurtle about the cosmos. The controls have been subtly refined too in order to make the new-style missions easier to accomplish.
While spending some time with the game we saw missions that required you to cut away sections of a capital ship before it explodes, and then collect tumbling items of cargo with your grappling hook which can be hurled at enemy craft in order to deplete their shields.
Most significantly though...you've probably already clocked the screen shot by now...there are planet-based missions this time. The producers have indicated that there won't be many--but players will be required to take out ground-based targets in a number of missions with a new Drop-Ship. Watch for more details soon.