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Supreme Ruler 2010
game: Supreme Ruler 2010
four star
posted by: Blaine Krumpe
publisher: Strategy First
developer: BattleGoat Studios
ESRB rating: E (Everyone)
date posted: 12:00 AM Thu Aug 4th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Thu Aug 4th, 2005

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Click to read.In this tale of a future not so distant - 2010 to be precise - the world has fractured along ethnic and territorial lines due to an un-paralleled economic crash.  The US was the original catalysis to this economic demise.  OPEC tries to counter the downward spiral of the world's economy; however, their decision to change the currency of oil from Dollars to Euros backfires tremendously, and at the turn of 2010 the world is a very different place.  The US is split into independent states, Canada has abandoned its confederation, Europe has gone medieval, and the whole world is in economic limbo.

All of this background sets you up for a very realistic and engaging game in which you play as one of the new factions that has splintered from the motherland.  Gameplay can be switched between either turn based or real time, which is definitely a nice feature.  As you cruse through the mundane, less interesting aspects of the game, real time is the way to go.  However, when a battle breaks out, switching into turn based helps immensely in trying to conquer your opponent, and helps you see the battlefield with greater clarity.

There are a couple ways to play Supreme Ruler.  Upon starting the game you should defiantly play the tutorial, even though it is extremely archaic and only offers endless amounts of information in little pop up boxes, it does cover the basics of the game extremely well.  You may also play single scenarios and mission trees that cover a myriad of different objectives, like trying to unite the Middle East.  Then there is the backbone of the game, conquering the planet!  This is definably the part of the game that will have you burning the most midnight oil as you try to bring the territories and regions of the world under your control.  Each of the 200 different states or provinces modeled in this game come with a unique government, economy, taxes, military forces and so on.  The depth and breadth that BattleGoat, the developer, put into this game is really astounding and utterly engaging.

With all of the complexity that this game brings to the table there could potentially be an unlimited amount of micro-managing.  However, just like leaders in the real world, you will have a cabinet of ministers that will help you conquer, control, build, and research your way into the thrown of world leader.  Your ministers are appointed by you from a group of potential candidates.  Each one has different beliefs, control methods, and views to what should and can be done.  You will hire six different people to look after the aspects of your society.  Be very careful though; read each one's detailed bios before you select a candidate.  Try to find ones that follow the same line of thinking that you do.  This is fair warning, you will be thoroughly amused when your liberal tax collector decides that your citizens need a tax break, and in turn your military ventures suffer because of the nice? tax collector.

Even though this game has the look and feel of war games from the past, the majority of your time will not be spent on the battlefield controlling your troops.  A lot of the game can actually be won with strategy and political maneuvering.  If you step too far onto the side of war and declare actions against neighboring neutral states, the so called World Market will come knocking at your door.  Peace and diplomacy are good things; however, I found it comical how some of the leaders of foreign countries would reject profitable and straight forward deals for no other reason than to say no.  This does add to the difficulty of the game.  Another good feature is the user interface.  It's very straight forward and offers a wealth of information - sometimes a little to much, but hey, this is the information age and you need all that you can get in order to succeed.

There are some aspects that I'm disappointed in, and some which are downright frustrating.  The graphics are simply terrible.  When I first got the game, I was a little taken back by the graphics and pictures on the back of the box.  I thought that they must be low-resolution screen shots.  Suffice to say, I was wrong.  The overall representation of the planet is really cool, along with the use of satellite imagery, but the 2D landscape is blurred and an eye sore.  The user interface has a modern feel to it and is represented well enough, but the buildings, vehicles and other in-game representations are reminiscent of a children's cartoon.  Nothing is to scale and all the units and buildings are about as dynamic as my grandmothers wig.  Even then the wig has better shadows cast on it.  Another let down is the in-game music.  I was expecting some really good world conquering and awe inspiring music to be drawing me further into this world, but alas, like the graphics, the music has a very old school vibe that just wasn't on par with the rest of the game.

When it boils down to it, this game has an incredibly dynamic and captivating world to conquer.  Most of the essentials are there, but a boost in the graphics and audio department would be very much appreciated.  This game is incredibly fun, however, there's nothing that makes this game genre defining.  Still, any strategist with world dominating appetites will appreciate this game; it's good because it overcomes its flaws, not because it doesn't have any.

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