Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Utopia

This early civilization sim is still fun today.
Review By Ken Inferno
Utopia as the name suggests is about building your own ''perfect'' civilization, you start off with an empty island and some funds and you work your way up from there. It feels kind of strange reviewing this great old game considering it was around a good three years before I was even born, however no matter how old it may be Utopia is still great even to this day. 

SOUND: It's an Intelivision game, therefore we should feel lucky to have anything more than a few beeps. However this game has more individual bleeps, gonks and booms than the majority of Intelivision games and most are relatively non irritating. There's really nothing more we could ask for considering the capabilities of the system. 

GRAPHICS: Compared to most games that appeared on the Intelivision this one is rather pretty, the islands are a crisp attractive green with well defined coasts. The structures are easily told apart and the boats look vaguely like boats, Rains storms, crops, schools of fish and hurricanes also look like what they are supposed to be. All in all it doesn't look too shabby for it's time. 

GAMEPLAY: When you first turn on the game it asks you how many rounds you want to be ''in office'' and how long you want those rounds to be. Like I said earlier the game gives you an island to use (there are only two and they have the same ammount of space so it doesn't matter) and some money to start with. On your island you can build a huge variaty of things including houses, shools,  factorys, hospitals, forts, boats and a few other things. What you buy, in what quantities and where you place them is where the strategy comes in. If you build a bunch of houses but don't build any schools or build your schools along ways away from your houses the populace will not be happy. if you build a huge civization but don't build enough crops everybody will starve and they don't like that either. 

One main thing is money, to build things you need money. There are too ways to get money, one way is to hope to have a raincloud sprinkle on your crops, the other way is to build a fishing boat to pursue wandering schools of fish this way is a lot more reliable. However when fishing you must watch out for pirates and other hazards which will sink the boat. At the end of each round you are graded by the computer on how good your doing, you also receive taxes and rebels too if your doing a bad job. 

Rebels are little black men who appear on a random square of you island destroying anything that might be built there, they eventually go away if you clean up your act or if you have a fort nearby. Hurricanes and bad storms will also periodically move across the map and often destroy structures or boats. The only major flaw in this gameplay would have to be that the islands are too small, if you are really good you'll probably have your civilization as big as the island can support within thirty fifty second rounds. 

MULTYPLAYER: The multiplayer mode is the same as the single player mode except the other island goes to the other player rather than lieing there uselessly. In this mode you can also build patrol boats to sink your opponents fishing boats or buy rebels which will trash a random square of his island. You can't actually invade each other but you can compete to have the best civilization. There are however a few flaws with this mode however, if you park a patrol boat in your opponents harbor he can't build any more boats and that's just cheesing. 

OVERALL: If you are not a fond of really oldschool gaming this is definitely the game for you, you can't really rent it since it's so old but you could probably get a working Intelivision and this game off of Ebay for not very much if you really looked. 

NAME: UTOPIA
SYSTEM: Intellivision 

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