They're a morbid lot, these game designers. They always seem to come up with 'bleak future' scenarios for their games. For instance, take the introductory story for Global Effect...
"Perhaps in the not-too-
I don't know about you, but this summons up visions of computer-
Mind you, it would seem pretty silly and inappropriate to have a story lien that went something like this: "Perhaps in the not-too-
You'd be hard-pressed to come up with a good game from this kind of background, wouldn't you? And if someone did come up with a game simulating such a world. I'd bet my entire collection of Mr Bean videos that that person would be French.
Anyhow, the first scenario is that which applies to Global Effect. It may be bleak, but it certainly does make for an interesting game. In essence, Global Effect is very much in the vein of Sim City. You are a government leader, assigned control of either a new or existing world, depending on the options chosen at the start of the game. Your task is to ensure the continued survival of both your people and the environment.
You are given information about the status of your people and of the effects on the environment of any actions you take, such as clearing forests to expand your community or creation of oil or coal mines used to fuel power stations and so on.
Depending on which scenario you chose at the start of the game, you may also have to contend with opposing parties who pose a threat to your own people. In this situation, you have a number of military options to choose from. These including building control centres and early warning radars, as well as constructing air and naval bases with nuclear or conventional weaponry. Of course, any nuclear conflict can also cause massive damage to the environment so this has to be taken into consideration before entering into a major battle.
As mentioned earlier, there are a number of options to choose from that will decide your role and goals within the game. For instance, you can assume control of an existing colony, where previous leaders have ever-so-
When playing the game, the screen display shows a portion of the map of the world which you are attempting, along with various command icons, message windows and status displays. Your build your colony using a selection of icons which represent such objects as city blocks, power stations, water purification plants and even sewage treatment farms! To be able to construct these objects, you need to have sufficient game power.
This is represented by a bar on the far left of the screen and increases if your colony and the environment have a good rating, or decreases if they have a poor rating. If game power gets to a low level, you may not be able to afford to build the required object.
One of the first objects on your list should be a power station. You have the choice of either oil-powered, coal-powered, solar-powered, wind-powered and ultimately, nuclear-powered stations. Of course, these have differing effects on the environment which must be taken into account, but once a station is operation you can build power lines across the land to join up to city blocks.
When you build a city block, it will be dark, meaning there are no people in it. When you hook it up to the power station via the power lines, it comes to life. From there on, your city will begin to develop automatically as new city blocks begin to appear. You have to be careful not to let the development increase too quickly or you will find the game power will start to decrease.
As your colony grows, it will start to require basic services such as waste recycling and water supplies. Any deficiencies in these areas contribute to a poor colony rating. There are ways of controlling the colony and these involve building city limits to prevent expansion beyond a certain boundary, thus keeping the population to a reasonable size.
You can also use green belt boundaries instead of city limits. These are more environmentally friendly and will add to your environment rating. To aid in maintaining a balanced colony and environment, you have a number of information screens that help you decide what measures to take. Via the environment and economic data icon, you can receive information on such things as carbon dioxide levels, ozone layer levels and air pollution to name a few.
There is also a seismic survey mode which allows you to search for natural resources for mining. You can view the entire world map here too. I enjoyed playing this game a lot. There's a fair amount to do, but not too much to make it overwhelming. Of course, you are able to save your game should your omnipotent control of the people have to be postponed due to mum shouting 'dinner's ready'. Sound effects are not abundant, but this doesn't detract from the game at all.
What makes Global Effect so good is that everything you do has a knock-on effect on the environment and economy, so you are kept on your toes all the time. Even natural disasters such as earthquakes can occur, causing unforeseen damage to your colony. Once you master the wealth of control icons, the game is very playable. You may find it a little frustrating at first when you get messages about problems with your colony and you don't know why it's happening, but persevere and you'll be hooked.
There is also my most favourite of features, the good ol' ability to play against a human opponent via serial link. Nice one, Millennium. If you liked Sim City, then this is the game for you.