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A.P.I Review: Colony Wars 2:
Developer: Psygnosis OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Psygnosis 1 Player
Game Type: 3D Space Shooter Memory Card
Review Date: November 1998 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

War is most dangerous when it gets personal. Become involved, and you're sucked into a hideous conflict where, regardless of the outcome, the destruction reaches beyond a few battleships to your very soul.

Since the year 3095 AD, the Earth Empire has spread throughout the Universe like a sickness. Their power is formidable. Dedicated to sustaining life on Earth, it has colonized planet after planet with scant regard to the freedom of the local population or the well being of the environment and this has resulted in widespread famine, drought and death.

The League Of Free Worlds exists to offer resistance and hope. The famous Battle of Bennay proved that meticulously planned attacks could harm the Empire and it's colonial Navy. Now the movement has grown far beyond imagination and this is your chance to join the war and add your contribution to the struggle.

Vengeance picks up 100 years after one of Colony Wars' six endings left off. When the League closed the warp hole to imprison their enemy, they cut the population off from precious resources and consigned them to slow starvation. As competition for the remaining resources grew, so did civil unrest. With no leader to unite them, the people split into feuding tribes … until Kron emerged. A fierce pilot who seemed to rise out of know-where who effortlessly rose through the ranks inspiring and uniting the people. He creates a new Navy, prepared and eager to topple the League and assert their dominance in the galaxy.

You don the persona of Mertens, an idealistic young fighter pilot who believes in the cause of the new Navy. As Merten's piloting and fighting skills grow with the escalating conflict, so does his character and emotional depth. What starts out as a clear-cut choice of right side or wrong side becomes complex as the game progresses. Who, actually, is the enemy?


Colony Wars: Vengeance, Psygnosis' 3D space combat epic for the PlayStation console, is a real-time 3D combat game. It combines arcade action with an intricate mission system in a galactic adventure spanning several solar systems. It launches you into a space war waged in the name of justice, but is secretly about personal vengeance.


The game is dispersed with 26 epic, cinematic FMV sequences that serve to link the intricate unfolding story. The amazing thing about the Colony Wars games are that once again the in-game graphics are actually better than the cinema quality rendered footage. Psygnosis have succeeded in programming visuals onto a 32-bit console video game at a high standard that was previously only possible to evolve from a 'big budget' special effects studio.

The brand new 3D graphics engine offers staggering high-res graphics with a more detailed and captivating space environment that is loaded with nebula, asteroid belts, comets, black and white holes, and mine fields. In fact if you couldn't imagine what it would be like to take part in a colonial space battle then this may be your chance. The lens flare is amazing as every explosion reflects across your cockpit window, while flying into the sun is truly blinding experience. Planets now seem to have atmospheres while crafts and space stations look distinctively advanced from their predecessors.

The game apparently features over seventy individual models and ships, all of which are new to Colony Wars. I cannot claim to have seen them all but those that passed my way were certainly not recognizable from the last adventure. I see no reason to disbelieve Psygnosis' claims that a new model format was used which provided an innovative way of grouping and storing model data for optimal cache processing, while the enhanced model renderer displays the model format 40 percent faster than in the original game. Additionally, collision is extremely accurate and runs four times faster than in the original Colony Wars.

There are now four viewing perspectives which are cockpit, internal and external. The additional angle is an external behind the craft. Each has it's benefits.

Words will only fail to do justice to the effects that follow your encounter with an enemy craft. Everything seems perfect from the glowing trail that emits from an afterburning engine, through the brilliant bolts of colored energy which are fired from your laser turrets, to the most blinding and realistic explosion as the enemy craft breaks up. Colony Wars: Vengeance is as good to watch as it is to play.

Sounds and Effects

The climatic orchestral themes such as "large scale battle" and "chase" are cream to your ears and it genuinely supports the cinematic ambience of the game. Dolby surround sound has been used for the bold sound effects, such as weapon firing, roaring engines and explosions. Extensive use of speech samples convey messages and feedback from other pilots further adds to the sense of being there at the center of high action space-battles.


The gameplay follows a similar format to last years effort. A vast range of possibilities are available on each mission, depending on the path you take and the seniority you build. The game features six endings divided by 19 acts while a new mission tree focuses on ensuring that the player experiences more of the major incidents embedded in each campaign.

The non-linear structure allows for a variety of experiences and the player himself will determine the cause and outcome of the war. Failure in a mission will not necessarily end the campaign as the game branches away and offers you a slightly more defensive task. The expansive gaming universe takes you through five solar systems; Sol, Gallonigher, Cronus, Alpha-Centauri and Boreas, each laden with unique and increasingly difficult enemies.

Examples of missions include defusing mines that lie in the path of the mothership you are guarding. Free floating asteroid rocks must be found and then mined for an essential crystal. Collect radioactive objects with your grappling hook and then drop them off at the entrance to a black hole. Of course there are several dog fights and planet-based missions, where the battles will take place across a range of highly detailed landscapes.

The player sets out as a raw recruit issued with the very basic Navy Fighter craft. It is equipped with several power plants which must be distributed between engine energy, gyros, shields and afterburners. Should you prove successful a fleet of four powerful fighters will become available. Each carries five primary and secondary weapons which may be selected from the eventual 22 on offer.

Many space shooters pretend to be flight simulations by offering a multitude of twists, turns, views and actions. When will development teams realize that this only confuses the average punter. Handling a Colony Wars craft is perfect because of it's simplicity. Controlling the craft using a standard joypad feels fine but the silky smooth analog mode is highly recommended. Shoulder buttons are used to roll left and right, accelerate and reverse thrust. Face buttons fire and change both primary and secondary weapons. Directional buttons or left joystick guide your craft smoothly through 360°. That's it! Simple, but highly effective.

Value for Money

With unbelievable graphics, a resounding orchestral soundtrack and a multitude of varying mission Colony Wars: Vengeance is one of those titles in which seeing is believing. The gameplay may not be for everyone, but this is definitely a title worth checking out.

GRAPHICS: 19/20 Last year I hardly read a bad review for Colony Wars but sales figures hardly made the distributors mega-rich. The same fate will probably befall Vengeance, which is sad because visually this is a stunner. It also has an unprecedented depth of gameplay for a title in this genre and you'll play it for a very long time.
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 17/20


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