Review by General Raynor
"The Republican Guard stood a better chance."
For some reason, whenever a game gets delayed excessively for ''Bug Repair'', the day when it finally hits the shelves is the day many of us find out how much of a horrible game it is, even after all the long waiting. Tiberian Sun, Mech Warrior4 come to mind. Master of Orion 3 is the next generation in horrible, overhyped games, and unworthy sequels. Quicksilver delayed, lied, and finally came through on February (On a date which they said there was absolutely no chance of taking that long), and trust me, this one is bad. Even the most Die Hard Master of Orion fan will have to admit it.
What do you call a game where it's more of a challenge to lose then it is to win? A bad one, that's for sure. Master of Orion 3 has this flaw and more.
The number one problem is that this game is far too automated. The ''viceroy'' does most of the building and researching for you. That's ok, because of the massive amount of stars and planets in each galaxy. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow much fun or flexibility other then telling him what type of buildings to make on a planet (Recreation, Research, Mining, ect).
Even worse is that, despite all this automation, the learning curve is ridiculously high. When learning, you basically need to figure out which menus are useless (75% of them) and which menus are vital. Once you figure out how to set Development Plans, ''Auto-Build'' (Automatic Customization) Ship Types (And the obsolete mark), and tackle the giant that is the DEA system, you'll be mass clicking the turn button while the viceroy leads your empire to victory in no time.
Diplomacy is also pretty bad. It's almost pointless to build a relationship with a computer player, thanks to the fact that they like to randomly declare war on almost any ''effection'' level. Even worse is that you'll learn to never take war seriously, as the HORRIBLE AI in this game likes to send 3 ships max to get slaughtered by your Indirect Fire task force.
Speaking of Indirect Fire (Which is a fancy way of saying ''Missile Ships''), missiles are the TRUE ''Masters of Orion''. Their counter, ''Point Defense'', is so weak and buggy it's not even worth the effort to click ''Auto-Build'' in the Ship Design screen. They'll sit idlely while a barrage of missiles does 12987412872 damage to your Dreadnought fleet. Carriers can also be ungodly, as once you throw in a few Titan-size Carriers, the battle will consist of a swarm of fighters smothering the enemy task force, while pieces of their once ships expand outward.
Ground combat and bombardment are a little better, except for the somewhat dull method of commanding them. We'll get to that later...
The only sounds here are the poor quality laser sounds in ship combat, the repetitive commander guy in ground combat, and the VERY ANNOYING menu sounds when you open them. Music? Pah, unlike MoO2, it's barely even noticeable.
If this was around the time MoO2 was released, this game would have revolutionary graphics. Unfortunately, a game like this pitted up against the big boys like Battlefield 1942: Road to Rome or even the less-then-mediocre Warcraft 3, simply doesn't stand a chance.
The star menu is alright... But the stars a little fuzzy and small. Also, I barely even noticed the Star Menu was 3d until I explored with the view keys... And it only makes it more confusing. You're better off leaving it at the 2d overhead view.
Ship combat is so bad it makes Contra for NES look like Desert Combat. It's 3d, but has no background, and the ships are so small they make the pixels on a Gamecube look like Atari material. You can zoom in, thankfully, but unfortunately you won't be able to see both the enemy ships and your ships since space combat tends to take place very far away. Ground Combat/Bombardment are no prettier... They basically consist of a pretty view of a planet, with various 2d explosions going off on the surface when you begin the attack. Even this games version of ''Planet Destroying'' would make MoO2 hang it's head in shame and disgust. It looks like a very ugly fire storm which causes the planet to become ''Red 2'' (As in, uninhabitable) instead of the ol' Asteroid belt.
Though there are different 3d models for each group of ships for each race group (Not each race, and when I say ship group I mean about 3 ships with similar models, one bigger then the next), they don't even have unique research or even building images. A step WAY down from MoO2.
How can I rate it? It was too buggy for me to even get it to work.
An insult to the fun game that was MoO2. The only reason you should buy this game is to give it to a friend or brother as one of those ''Joke Gifts''. And with MoO3, you might want to put the car keys to a 2003 Mercedes-Benz under it if you want to have any chance of keeping your friendship.
Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 04/12/03, Updated 04/12/03
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