Videogame (2002). Elemental Games (EG). Platforms: Win.
Space Rangers is a Space Sim game which includes features from an eclectic range of game forms. Notably, menu-driven text Adventures are used for many sub missions, including ones set on planets, and the default turn-based space combat model is replaced by an arcade game resembling Spacewar (1962) inside Black Holes. The core gameplay focuses on exploration, trade, mining, diplomacy and combat within an impressively dynamic universe; the galaxy has a working economy, and many events occur independently of the player's actions. The main display is two-dimensional, serving more as a symbolic interface than as a realistic depiction of space. While reminiscent of Star Control II (1992) (> Star Control) and Starflight (1986), Space Rangers does not have a predefined plot. However, its use of structured missions with complex goals within an independently evolving universe is often successful at creating emergent narrative (> Interactive Narrative). Players are all Space Rangers, recruited to fight an invasion of a Space Opera future galaxy by the technologically superior Klissans. However, budgetary limitations mean that Rangers must support themselves economically; most of the player's activities will be unrelated to the invasion. Throughout, the game exhibits a quirky sense of individuality and a cheerful enthusiasm about its subject matter evocative of such low budget 1980s sf films as Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983). Space Rangers 2: Dominators (2005 EG, Win; vt Space Rangers 2: Rise of the Dominators in the US) is a sequel, expanding Space Rangers' gameplay to include basic Real Time Strategy and First Person Shooter modes. Set two hundred years after the first game, it features another invasion, this time by out-of-control war Robots. The ingenuity and immersive gameplay of the original are preserved.
Related works: Space Rangers 2: Reboot (2008 EG, Win) is an expansion pack for Dominators which adds new missions and equipment. [NT]
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