Runesoft
Jon A. Slack
1984
Strategy: Management
£6.95
£5
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

44
Chris Bourne

The author of this game may be Slack, but he obviously allows no slouching, for the average Spectrian (inhabitants of Spectrealm) have to work very hard to stay alive in this strategy game. It may be played against the computer or a second player. The object is to survive one hundred years as Governor of Spectria. From humble beginnings in a land only 200 miles square, a population of 1,000 and with only ? 1,000 in the bank and 5,000 sacks of grain, you must expand into a megapower.

This is no dictatorship. Every five years the population will go to the polls to vote. Elections are shown with your votes mounting up alongside those of your rival. How you do at the polls will obviously depend on your performance measured against your previous election promises.

Elements which affect the game include feeding the population, buying capital plant like power stations and factories, and all this in turn depends on having enough population to cope. Factories and so on may be bought on the world market, but wars crop up from time to time which not only increase your population and land area Of you win), but may add enormously to your installations at little cost. Produce from agriculture and factories may be exported to make more money if there is a surplus to requirements, but in the early stages the main preoccupation is with planting corn seed and with the weather. A meteorological harvest forecast appears as a bar code for each month, showing the success of the harvest.

There are no graphics in the game, only text and simple bar codes. The rather luxurious looking 'leather' insert surrounds a comprehensive sheet of playing instructions and game objectives.

CRITICISM

'Spectrealm is a game that is much more fun with two players than with one, but I did find it extremely addictive when playing on my own. Ruling my own country gave me quite a good sense of satisfaction and achievement - something that I've rarely found with most other strategy games. The game is not totally varied, but the odd war adds a climax now and then and the voting is always exciting because it's constantly changing. Overall one of the best simulations I've ever played, and one of the most addictive. If you like this sort of game you'll love Spectrealm - and even if you don't like the sort of game, you'll probably enjoy this one. '

'This is one strategy game that 1 could keep playing. 1 really enjoyed it. It isn't graphically very exciting but the game just seems to keep growing on me - like the corn! I am normally no fan of such games - this is an exception.'

'There is no winning limit in Spectrealm, you just keep going until the population throw you out or you wear out! There's plenty to contend with but unlike, say, Dictator, your options once used don't run out on you, which makes it a much more realistic simulation. There are a number of neat touches - wars are conducted in nail-biting terse despatches from the front, and elections are even more edge of the seat stuff, especially when playing in two. On these occasions the player who has been in power for the past five years must match his performance against the (often) rash promises of the player attempting to become governor. So it can develop into a real power struggle. Definitely one of the most entertaining rule-a-country games yet. Addictive isn't a word that normally applies to strategy games - perhaps this is the first such.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: general input
Responses: very good
Use of colour: practical
Graphics: text only
Sound: limited
Skill levels: 1
Features: 1 or 2 player games
Originality: in essence a standard type of strategy but with more interactive elements than usual
General Rating: Very good and worth its higher price.

73%
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