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Armada 2525 (pc game)
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Space-faring thrills

If the likes of Master of Orion or Star Control float your starship, then Armada 2525, an early example of the 4X space strategy game, should be right up your alley. It's fairly unsophisticated in comparison to later efforts but it remains highly enthralling thanks to its complex gameplay, depth of possibilities and its open-endedness. There is no real storyline to speak of, with players instead thrown into the shoes of a race which is making its first steps out into a hostile galaxy. Unlike many other games of this genre, diplomacy doesn't play a big part in Armada 2525 and instead focuses more on exploration, combat and defence, with a wide range of ships and buildings available (once you hit the appropriate technological level of course). There are five other races in competition with you in the race to colonise the universe while there are also several fields of research to engage in and which can help sway the battle in your favour. Combat itself isn't controlled directly but is more strategic, with the player issuing orders and organising ships into formations. Up to six players can take part in the adventure, with any combination of human and AI-controlled opponents and if you can get some other willing participants, then this makes for a strangely enjoyable experience. As mentioned, it is rather lacking in the visual and audio stakes, with little to speak of in the sound department save for a few beeps and blips, while the graphics are simple but effective. However, it's the gameplay that shines here and it is undeniably enjoyable building up your empire and exploring the vast reaches of space in a bid to construct the ultimate empire. For armchair generals with a need for conquest, Armada 2525 is well worth an investigation but check out the Deluxe Edition for even more of a treat.

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