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Ready to bring your cargo ship to its destination, your adventure begins when you find yourself surrounded by an intense light that tranports your body into a time stasis chamber. In front of you stands a strange creature who knows your name and asks for your help again. Within 10,000 years, the Microids will wipe out the entire galaxy with all the civilizations present in this part of the universe. Your mission will be to face the Microids invasion in the Echelon galaxy.
With the technology provided by the Hoods, you will travel through time and space onboard the Trans-Time Machine (XTM) to colonize and control a total of one hundred worlds. The ultimate goal is to establish advanced civilizations able to resist to the spreading invasion of the Microids, not only within the Echelon Galaxy, but also the other surrounding galaxies.
What makes Millennia different compared to other space-strategy games is the time travels. In other games, you explore space, colonize or conquer planets and use ressources from the newly conquered worlds to expand your own civilization. This process continues until you control all the planets after having eliminated your enemies. In Millennia, you will still have to fight one enemy, the Microids, but also develop four different alien races throughout the Echelon galaxy. This means you must help them evolve from archaic societies to advanced civilizations by introducing new technologies, resolving internal crisis, etc. Your only hope will be that they acquire the necessary technology to develop weapons and defence systems in order to face the Microids invasion. They will also require the knowledge of space travels to colonize the other planets of the galaxy. However, even if destroying the Microids is your prime objective, returning to your own time safely is one of your other concerns. What you need is one civilization to reach an IQ of at least 300 to understand and realize the design specifications of the ship elements you require.
Once aboard the XTM you will meet ANGUS, the onboard artificial intelligence that stands as your advisor. There are several screens you can switch to during the game including the main view, the galactic map, the transporter, the communication link, the refuel control and the drop ship. The main view has a scanner for planet information, the engage drive button to initiate space and time travels, and the weapons system. The map is where you select your destination in space or time and where you can check out the future consequences of your interventions. The transport room will allow you to transmit objects from your ship to the temple on the planet's surface or the opposite and is also used to seed a planet. When seeding a planet, you will be able to communicate through the communication link with your emissary and to interfere with the local species whenever you think it is necessary. The numerous space and time travels you have to make use a lot of energy. This energy is provided by fuel, and as your tank compartment has only a limited capacity, you'll have to refuel regularly if you don't want to be stuck in space. The only way to regain fuel is to fly by giant gas stars you can find nearby some planets in the galaxy. Of course, this operation presents some risks, but each time you initiate this procedure, you will be given the risk factor and the amount of fuel you can hope to collect. Generally, you will only suffer minor damages that can be repaired easily (I survived a fly-by, qualified as EXTREME by the computer, with medium damages). Finally, if you must destroy structures or alien cities on a planet, you must use the drop ship to make sorties on the planet.
Playing with Millenia will require you to think differently than what you are used to with other games. As each of your decisions will inevitably alter the future, you must constantly check the time line to see if you have made the right choice. It is especially true when you have to solve a crisis, and to give you an example, you will sometimes have to choose a leader for a race among two or three of them. After you have made your choice, you will see how the time line has been changed. If it doesn't show what you wanted, go back to your emissary and choose another leader until the course of events leads to a better future.
In the time lines, you will notice inventions that increased a species's IQ. It is possible for you to use the transporter and take the invention, but it is not always advisable to do so. Sometimes, when no other choice is given to you to protect a race from extinction, you will have to go back in time and remove the invention that caused an inevitable end in the future.
Millennia also contains arcade-action phases during combats with alien ships. Whenever you will encounter a hostile spaceship, the view will switch automatically to the main view where the weapons are placed. When you maintain the right button and move the mouse in the direction that you want your ship to go, you can still press the left button to fire at the targets. These sequences only represent a short portion of the game as most of the time you will be busy trying to keep your civilizations viable.
The game also features several cinematic sequences containing 3D rendered graphics that are activated when you start a link, scan for a temple, make sorties on the planets, etc. The option screen allows you to play without them since once you have seen them all, there is no need to watch them over and over. Millennia's soundtrack is played through the MIDI port of your sound card, so if you want to play with the music turned on, you better have a good one. It would have been preferable to feature a digital sountrack playing through the CD-ROM, but maybe we'll get it in another time continuum!
Millennia surely has some good points that will interest you. The game never repeats itself because of the random elements inside the game (random crisis, random locations for planets, different invasion patterns for the Microids, etc...) and it will take you more than one try to be successful. Some of the crisises that happen to one of the four alien races will not be solved the same way if the same crisis arises in another race. However, even if Millennia introduced a new dimension with time, I found the game to be a bit repetitive after a while. The set of actions was limited to jumping from one time line to another, refuelling and talking with the emissaries accross the different planets so that their civilization acquire higher IQ's.
386 DX-33 MHz or higher,
Min 8Mb memory with 6MB configured as EMS,
MS-DOS 5.0 or later,
Hard drive required with 5Mb free,
Double speed CD-ROM drive or faster,
VGA video graphic card (VESA compatible).
Adlib Gold; Ensoniq Soundscape; ESS Audiodrive; Microsoft Sound System; Gravis UltraSound and UltraSound Max; Pro Audio Spectrum 16; Creative Labs Sound Blaster, Sound Blaster Pro, 16 and AWE32; Roland RAP-10; Thunderboard; Aria Chipset; Sound Galaxy NX Pro 16; Reveal FX/32; Toptek Golden 16; I/O Magic Tempo.
Microsoft Mouse and 100% compatibles; joysticks supported.
Technical Support: 412-539-6407
Fax Suport: 412-539-3195
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Hint line: 1-900-288-2532
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