The rebel McFlanders takes a journey into space, courtesy of Artex Software
Exodus was the first offering from Artex Software, and has the added bonus of being a space-strategy simulation exclusively for Acorn computers. I don‘t doubt that a Network Computer version will appear shortly (unfortunately it hasn't), partly because Artex have made no secret of the fact they‘re developing games with the NC and RISC PC in mind; but partly also because of the ease at which a strategy game can be made multiplayer.
The game is supplied on 3 HD discs (although it can be supplied on DD discs) and hard disc installation is mandatory. 2Mb RAM is also required; as is RISC OS 3 - but if you haven‘t got RISC OS 3 now, you‘re probably having difficulty getting ANY software to work on your computer. The moral of the story is you‘ve got to upgrade now - companies such as APDL still have a few upgrades left, so it will be worth your while to get in touch with them.
Anyway, back to the game ...
You are the leader of a group of rebels who, after stealing a spaceship (from those who didn't deserve it) manage to escape from the corpse once known as "Earth". After drifting through space for 34 years, you come across a galaxy being colonised by four different species, under the direction of the space guild. Your duty is to find a new home for your people. Starting initially at the space guild headquarters, it‘s a good idea to take a wander down to the bar - Exodus features a subgame very similar to Meteors ...
Inside the Stardust bar, remember to play the Meteors game while you're there!
Arriving, as could be expected, in your starship you start looking for planets to colonise, but travelling through space is an experience not to be recommended due to the number of pirates and dangerous beings there are in the galaxy. When you do finally find a planet worth talking to, you can start making idle threats of planetary domination or, alternatively, try to be their friend. Most of them will not want to have anything to do with you, but some will trade - which can be essential for survival.
Playing the game
The game, in play, is very similar to Elite. Wandering around the galaxy, with the occasional animation of zooming through space. All of the graphics in the game are incredibly impressive, but perhaps not as good as they could be if the title had been written for the RISC PC rather than all Acorn computers. This, in itself, isn‘t a major problem but it does mean that the physical presentation isn‘t as good as it could be.
All about the planet Falcon
I‘ll have to admit to not being the sort of person who normally plays this type of game, purely because I usually lack the patience to do so. However, with Exodus I found a game that was interesting (because of the large galaxy size, particularly) and had it‘s own quirks (such as the subgame in the bar). The "speech" sequences reminded me of games such as Dune where you select a response to a given question and the being either talks or it doesn‘t.
Exodus isn't the sort of game which will appeal to those after a quick game of something on the computer - at all - because it will take time to get into, and work out what you have to do. Although the excellent manual is incredibly detailed, the temptation is more to jump straight into the game and see what happens. Probably not a good idea as, initially, very little happens and you‘re left wondering whether Exodus is actually a game.
Of course, Exodus is a strategy game, and hence will take time to work out strategy for dominating the galaxy. Once you‘ve got this in mind, Exodus is a fantastic entry to the Acorn games market and one well worth adding to your collection should you like this style of game.