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In the best tradition of other space combat simulators and movies like “Star Wars,” your fighter is capable of interplanetary and limited interstellar flight. The system 3000AD has devised is a bit more complicated than just bringing up the navigation computer, selecting a destination and engaging the hyperdrive, though. Movement within your planetary neighborhood is conducted with your hyperdrive, with the limitation that it takes some time to charge. Movement between stars and planets that are far apart requires the use of jump gates, worm holes and other anomalies, some of which aren’t two-way and some of which have a random exit point. As such, the mere act of interstellar travel carries with a bit more excitement than sitting back and watching the fancy colors swirl about as you break the laws of physics and traverse light-years in a matter of seconds.
In addition to being capable of fast movement between the stars, you fighter can fly in an atmosphere and even land via a VTOL system planetside. While some missions require such fancy flying, it’s also an option while fighting your enemies in other circumstances. If you think it gives you the advantage, you can sucker the enemy into fighting in the atmosphere. On the other hand, physics still applies. Trying to fly around in the atmosphere of planets like Saturn is hazardous to your health, while actually landing on a planet like Jupiter is 100% guaranteed to kill you and your expensive ship.
Armed with energy weapons that fulfill the role of guns and missiles that give you hard-hitting capability, your fighter is a decent piece of equipment. But it’s also “armed” with its own AI: Mother. Mother, in addition to alerting you to anything that needs your attention (for example, accidentally locking on to friendly craft will elicit a continuous string of warnings from her), also serves as both an autopilot and a fully competent fighter pilot. The strategic situation can get somewhat complicated, and it’s in these circumstances that you can hand over control of the fighter to Mother. Just give her instructions, and she does the flying and fighting while you give orders and assess the strategic situation. This is fairly useful, as the alternative is to just fly in a straight line while getting shot at as you frantically give orders and figure out the next objective.
3000 AD has plenty of experience in science fiction and space combat games. Let’s see if their experience pays off this time around.
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