Sunday, January 21, 2024

Software Review - Escape Velocity

Title: Escape Velocity
Publisher: Ambrosia
Year: May 1996
OS: Mac OS 7.6 up to OS 9.2.2
Overall Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ah, good games don't die. Escape Velocity was a gem by a local WNY company called Ambrosia. They attempted to buck the trend by offering all of their software as shareware and this one was my favorite. 

Escape Velocity was unlike anything I had encountered. Some place between an exploration game, a trading game, and asteroids with some inventive challenges. You start off with a tiny shuttle reminiscent of a Star Fleet Shuttle and make your way from there. The game has a steep learning curve as you have very limited funds. Purchase some goods here, and try to sell them there. 

Simple, eh? 

No. You can run out of gas really quick. 

Hit the map key to learn what is in store for you. At first, your map is largely blank. You can fill it in one of two ways: A blind hop will show you that system and all of the jump-ways out or purchase a map. The map is super helpful as it will show you the services and features of each system without having to travel there.  

Once you have that down, you can set up an easy path to sell goods. At first, you will be able to earn enough to refuel and then more to refit your ship. The first thing you should buy is the escape pod. If you get blown out of the sky, it's the only way to ensure your survival. The second thing you need is the fuel scoop. This saves money on refueling. It makes you self-reliant. 

Once you have that sure trade route, grind away until you can purchase a new ship. 

Oh, the grind. It's the meat of this game because every time you think you have the best thing, you'll see something else that strikes your fancy. 

As you explore and trade, the galaxy opens up. There are missions, stories, and adventures everywhere. Sometimes, you need this or that to progress, so don't get too used to the ship you're in. 

It's not so bad. As you upgrade your gameplay, you'll also upgrade your ship to the max. Lasers, blasters, 3 types of armor, and other things will make every ship you own unique. It's a blast as not only can you upgrade your weapons and such, but you can also name your ships. 

That is such a simple thing, but it's great. Like Oregon Trail. 

Anyway, you'll work out the factions and the storylines as you go. Soon you might have a fleet of ships, escorting you around the galaxy. That will unlock new locations and stories while freeing you from a lot of the money chase you experienced in the first few hours of the game. 

Trust me, you will be spending hours on this one. 

This is an interesting game as it contains stories and missions while also being very sandboxy. I will leave you here with a few screenshots I took. You see, I knew which ship was my favorite. Then I remembered my other favorite and then a third favorite... 

Escape Velocity is amazing. If you have the means, give it a try. 

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