Starfleet 1: The War Begins! logo

WHEN you're asked to review a product which has a quick reference guide longer and more detailed than many games' full instructions, you know you've got a problem. Star Fleet 1 is a case in point.
Complete with a 68-page Star Fleet training manual, not to mention a 100 page officer's training manual, this is a combat simulation and roleplaying game of mammoth proportions.

Set some time in the future, Star Fleet is a strategic war game between two opposing forces. Naturally enough, you represent truth, democracy, the American way of life, the universe and everything. The baddies are the evil and incredibly hostile Krellans and Zaldrons, empire builders on a galactic scale.

You begin as a cadet, still wet behind the ears, but hungry for every scrap of knowledge you can gain from the Star Fleet Officers' Academy. There, you will be given command of the training ship UGAS Republic. If you prove yourself a worthy enough student, you will have a choice of 36 starships to command.

Missions are many and varied, but all involve the location and destruction of enemy craft. A typical mission briefing might go something like this:
I. Effective immediately, you are to assume command of the USAG Duke of York. After relieving Captain Bertsch, you will proceed directly to the Antares III region.
II. You are hereby ordered to seek out and engage the forces of the Krellan and Zaldron Empires which have invaded the Alliance territory. In so doing, you are to deplete the enemy fleet sufficiently so that our main battle fleet can be assembled and defeat them before they can reach our colonies.

Each briefing ends with the specific requirements of the mission which include the number of enemy warships you must destroy and the time in which you have to do so. Finally you are given the number of starbases in the region.
If you can locate and dock with an Alliance starbase - providing they'll drop their defence shields long enough to let you through - you'll be able to refuel and re-arm your ship, as well as carry out repair work.

Your ship is controlled from 23 different command menus, which embrace 13 separate computer systems, as well as other functions such as emergency hyperspace, self-destruct sequencer and starbase status readouts.
Computer systems are used to control damage, navigation, shields, torpedoes, phasers, tracter beam, transporter, internal security and reconnaissance probe launches.
Within each of these systems are various menus and sub-menus used for controlling that part of the simulation.

The amount of detail is almost bewildering. Take security for example: This can be compromised in one of three ways.
Enemy agents can get aboard, hidden in the supplies you pick up at starbases. Prisoners captured during battle, can escape and wreak havoc throughout your ship. Finally, agents can be beamed aboard if their ship is within two sectors of yours.
Internal security control gives you the latest information and allows you to start or stop searchers to apprehend intruders. You can also opt for a maximum security deck situation, in which one deck is given blanket cover at the expense of all others.
Should you outguess the villain, and he goes on to this deck, he will almost certainly be caught, or at least prevented from sabotaging any vulnerable systems.

The same attention to detail can be seen throughout Star Fleet 1. Whether such a mass of information, documentation and display amounts to a great game, you could only say after spending plenty of hours on the bridge.
Certainly the package is impressive, the depth of the game unquestionable, and the scenario one that most gamesters hold dear to their heart.

Although the lack of graphics may put many off, this shouldn't necessarily deter Amiga owners from considering the package, especially if they like pure simulations or role playing games. But be prepared to work hard at getting the most from this game.