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Review by: Nick Stewart
Published: March 27, 2000
Space, as “Star Trek” has preached to fans throughout the years, is the final frontier. Or is it? For countless millennia, mankind has looked to the skies in the hopes of one day being able to live among the stars. While interplanetary colonization is not yet possible, human beings have been established in the murky darkness of space within stations and various other observational platforms. In light of these accomplishments, it is on the vast, mysterious expanse beyond Earth’s gradually deteriorating atmosphere that mankind focuses his aspirations to expand. What were to happen, however, if a major disaster were to strike Earth before its foremost sentient race had perfected the art of space travel? Independent developer Bitplayer asks that very question, and uses the resulting answer as a backdrop for its new title, Argosy 2325.
Taking a breath of fresh summer air is more than difficult in the world of Argosy 2325, it’s flat-out impossible, mainly because such a thing no longer exists. In the year 2172, the terrible tragedy foreseen in such films as “Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” occurred, devastating Earth’s surface with a barrage of meteor impacts. The resulting fallout obstructed the skies, not only bringing on the nuclear winter told about in countless stories and scientific journals, but also ravaging the planet with unrelenting storms and continuous 200 mph winds. Forcing the survivors to live underground, this terrible event came to be known thereafter as “the Cataclysm.”
By 2325, nothing is the same as it once was. The incessant winds have blanketed the planet in snowdrifts hundreds of feet tall, creating an immeasurably thick layer of ice where ocean surfaces were once found. Mankind has taken to living in cities both in the ice itself, as well as in domes and underwater stations on the ocean floors. With the weather having extinguished all semblance of life on the continents themselves, political and territorial division of the Atlantic Ocean beneath the ceiling of ice has been separated into northern and southern geographical regions. While the south primarily consists of small, disconnected cities, the north has been organized into some semblance of a collective, termed the North Atlantic Union, or NAU. Into the able hands of the NAU Guard falls the duty of protecting the sea-lanes, its travelers, and their resident communities from the omnipresent danger of the depths as well as the high-tech pirates that inhabit them.
Stepping into the shoes of either Lieutenant Jason or Jacqueline “Jake” Trask, you become a pilot in the NAU Guard, stationed aboard the NAUS Argo. The NAU Guard has fallen on hard times lately, and as such you are one of but two combat pilots on the Argo when it is sent to the southernmost border to defend it from an increased level of pirate activity. What is initially a simple patrol and defend operation gradually escalates into something far more dangerous, as a mysterious string of attacks on isolated stations subsequently followed by their sudden and violent disappearance threatens not only the area but the whole of the NAU as well. It’s up to you and the rest of the Argo’s crew to find out what or who is threatening the NAU’s safety, and to stop it.
Although all of the action takes place in Jake’s boat, a highly maneuverable craft called a SeaHawk, the storyline and inter-character development unfold before, during, and after the missions. As such, you’ll become quite familiar with the Argo’s crew, recognizing their individual personalities, hopes, and dreams. First and foremost is your character, an experienced but somewhat naïve pilot who has become complacent with years of quick and easy runs on pirates. His best friend of many years, Commander Zack Quillman, is the ship’s second-in-command and senior pilot, deferring only to the hard-nosed but fair Captain Christi Leighton. Other key figures include the old-school, down-to-earth chief engineer, Raymond Wisniewski, as well as Ensign Teva Gold, a shuttle pilot with aspirations of being promoted to combat pilot, and the secretly amorous Ensign Michael Brenier. Although this is but a brief description of each individual’s primary characteristics; their inherent complexities become abundantly clear as Argosy 2325 progresses.
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