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Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar


Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar

Platform: PC Games
Category: Strategy
Author: Murray G

All I can say about this game is, “Wow, what a game it is!” Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar doesn’t disappoint in any way shape or form. This game , I don’t even call this a expansion pack its way beyond that, is all about quality gameplay.

Dark Avatar is the stand alone expansion pack to Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords. When expansion pack is heard, most gamers, including myself, tend to think, “Ok a few extra maps maybe, a couple of cool new toys and some new scenarios...” man was I in for a pleasant surprise. This in no way resembles an expansion pack if anything it’s a game unto itself.

The story line continues from where Dread Lords left off. For those who didn’t play the original, basically the bad guys won. In Dark Avatar there are bad guys and really bad guys — the difference between the two factions is that one takes prisoners and one doesn’t.

This game is chalked full of new features and add-ons, making it more of a new game over a traditional expansion pack. Many developers see expansion packs as a cash grab; they promise you the sun, but deliver very little in the way of new gaming excitement.

In Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar there are many new options available, such as: new maps; new units; new scenarios; new campaign; new races; mine-able asteroids fields; covert agents; player designed opponents; civilizations now have a unique special ability; near-complete replacement of graphics with enhanced graphics; advanced AI algorithms; streamlined technology tree; new ship designer/parts, each race has its own unique set of ships; mega-events; planets with environment classes; diplomatic treaties and starship intelligence reports.

Of the above, I found several new options key to enjoying this game more than its predecessor. Here they are in no particular order:

Workin in a coal mine going down down

The addition of mine-able asteroid fields. These asteroid fields are excellent sources of minerals and play an essential role in the game. Make sure you set up as many mining posts as you can as they will help your neighboring planets’ productivity levels. Heed this advice though my friends — guard these fields. Make sure you protect them because many a field has been lost to alien hordes that need them as much as you do.

Make me a planet now

In the previous game it was fairly easy to take over planets. Not so in Dark Avatar. Here, if you don’t have the technology then “No Planet for You.” This does make you think a bit more before you go running whilly nilly around the universe. So take your time to smell the dilithium crystals and develop the technology that will allow you to overcome certain planets’ unique environmental issues. This does slow the game down, but it’s a good slow down.

The double “O” factor

Spies are now part of the landscape and play an important role in the game. They are not game breakers but their services will help immensely in your quest for control over the universe. You can place your spies on another planet and have them gather intelligence and destroy resources. Be careful though, because what is good for the goose is good for the gander; make sure you have plenty of extra spies because the only way to stop a spy is with one of your own.

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