Here’s something old I decided to return to. Recently, I decided to re-indulge in some retro goodness, and of course, my first stop was grabbing the STeem engine to play Atari ST games, which I grew up with as a nipper.
Specifically, Millenium 2.2 holds absolutely fabulous memories for me: it’s the first game I ever completed (at 7 years old!), so I decided it would be a good test experiment for this, a ‘retro-diary’ type post that is similar to my old ‘visual-novel diary’ posts. The slight difference in this case is that; because there is distinct lack of info for this around (which I feel is a travesty), I’ll also put up a summary and strategy guide.
So what’s this game? I guess its an early prototype of a 4x type space strategy sim. Basically, on the 30th of January 2200 the Earth suffers a huge environmental catastrophe, annihilating the billions living there. You are the commander of the Moon Base, whose 100 souls represent the entire remains of human race:
Earth is pretty much fucked. What actually happened is anyone’s guess (they might have told you in manual, but I don’t remember, since I was 7 when I read it last…lol). And that’s not all. Just in case you actually try to move a finger:
In other words, the martians, whom have had their genetic stock mutated, nevertheless feel it is their right to have to have the Earth; and instantly go to war with you over it. Twats.
Build me a base
Of course, initially, the Moon Base is in a pretty shoddy state as well. Your first goal is upgrade your ability to produce power and resources. You have a measly super battery pack to start, the SolaGen MkI, so kick your scientists to start researching better options. In the meantime, you also want to start mining and think about building a probe to find out just what went down on Earth. The early game is about juggling your power resources as, usually, you can’t run the mineral refinery and the production centre at the same time. Your early production of photovoltaic cells is also shoddy, and your first set of solar panels is often liable to explode (!). Although [Spoiler: This is a scripted event that can be dodged if you're intelligent...]. Anyway, with a little time, you should be able to research and hold a decent staple of Solagen MkV or so:
You’ll also need to start researching other kinds of transportation; starting with Grazers and Waveriders, though this is discussed later.
The War on Mars
Also, the Martians are very serious in their threat to attack you. You absolutely mustn’t forget to spend some time looking into constructing some defensive weaponry. You can build Fighters immediately, and having a bunch of them is highly recommended. Though the early attacks will be merely one of two ships, you actually pilot the defense yourself (apparently your commander is multitalented!) in a rather primitive 3d dual against an enemy ship:
This can be a bit tough your first few times, as you pilot with the mouse, so you may lose a couple of your fighters. Eventually, you’ll get the hang of it though; its really mainly lining up the correct axis and holding down the shoot mouse button.
Unfortunately, it seems that no-one else ever bothers to pilot fighters…so you have to deal with the rather ridiculous thing of continually landing and taking off again. It can be taxing, dealing with waves of enemies like this, and you also have a time limit. I’ve personally never managed to best more than about 8 enemy fighters before they reach an attack vector (whereupon they’ll kill a chunk of your population, destroy mineral stores, and wreck your power generators). Whilst you’ll only see stragglers to begin with, it eventually becomes impossible to avoid damage, so upgrading your defence is a high priority.
So, that means one thing: orbital laser platforms. These sweet things can be researched immediately, but not built, because the Moon does not have a good source of radioactives (i.e. Uranium). Hence, things start to come together: your next priority is finding a place that can mine Uranium before the Martians become overwhelming. [SPOILER: The most efficient option is Jupiters Moon, Leda. It's fairly close by and also provides Copper which you need for your space fleet. Even if you know this from me, you'll still need to send a probe first, mind you..].
To do that, you’ll need a Colony (S.I.O.S.) and a means to ferry supplies around (Waveriders & Carracks). This is the start of your transport fleet. Of course, to build these, you need Copper for both and S.I.O.S. also needs a stack of Platinum. Neither of which are available on the moon. This is where the Grazer I mentioned earlier comes in:
Basically a huge grapple and tug with a cockpit, you can send these to the Asteroid belt, where they scan for good sized ‘roids and tug them back, complete with their wealth in resources. This is the only means to get Copper and Platinum until you establish colonies that can mine this.
You can eventually have up to 600 people, which marginally increases production/mining performance, and perhaps more importantly gives you a larger pool of population to use on crewing ships (they can pilot normal ships well, it seems, just not fighters, sigh).
Fortunately for you as well, the population breeds ridiculously quickly. Seems like about 1 new person every couple of days (!). Perhaps clones are involved (?).
Colonies cannot produce or research, so you’ll need to send SolaGen’s to them for power, as well as defences. Waveriders are great for quickly shuttling small bits of equipment to the outworlds, like lighter weight SolaGen’s and single Fighters or Laser Platforms. SolaGen MkIV’s are sufficient for Jupiter’s moons, fortunately, but the further out you go, the less energy solar generators make (obviously). You’ll need the vast storage space of Carracks to shuttle larger generators to Saturnian moons and further colonies.
Take that, you fiends! It’s terribly fun to hear that laser charging sound and then see a silent radar as a result. BANG!
Orbital Lasers will easily take out 5-15 enemy ships per shot of their Valefor laser. Unfortunately, doing so always causes them to overload and explode, so they’re disposables. Since they can be precious early on until you have lots of Uranium, take out the vanguard of the attackers with their shot and mop up stragglers with your immense piloting skills in a fighter. LOL.
Well, I don’t want to spoil anything further, but continue to develop your colonies and obtain all the missing resources. You’ll eventually need Silver and Chromium, which are pretty rare and hard to find. There’s also a few more scripted events for you to look into as well. Having a diverse transport fleet helps later on. You’ll also notice that certain places have strange effects on your colonists, causing them to mutate into new strains of human (like the martians have already done). Of course, these ones are under your control and benevolent [SPOILER: Well, until the sequel to this game, Deuteros, anyway. Methanoid bastards.].
This game and its sequel, Deuteros, are the brainchilds of Ian Bird. He also went on to make Millenia: Altered Destinies, for DOS in the mid 90′s, but that marks the end of his original produce as far as I’m aware. (This is also an amazing game that involves dicking around with time, though hardly anyone has heard of it~ it doesn’t even have an entry on GameFAQ’s…though you can watch a rather silly video review on Youtube)
In the days of yore, my old geocities site actually had a downloadable copy of millenium (which is considerable abandonware); but of course, that’s long gone now. Instead I point you to here and here, where you can download Roms of the game’s two floppy disks. You’ll need an emulator, like STeem, and a relevant TOS, to play.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this blast to the past.