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Games of Yesteryear: The Ur-Quan Masters

The Ur-Quan Masters is an open-source remake of the original Star Control 2: the Ur-Quan Masters, based on the release of the games' sourcecode and materials from Accolade and Toys for Bob in 2002. The game was originally released in 1992, and on PC at the time, was one of the few PC games available at used the PC internal speaker for things other than simple beeps. 

The game follows on from the original Star Control where the Alliance of Free Stars (of which Earth is a member) is embroiled in a galactic against the Ur-Quan Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, hell-bent on subjugating and enslaving all sentient life. At the start of the game, you as the player return to Earth after being stranded on a remote planet  for two decades, armed with a wondrous, but underpowered, alien starship, hoping that this vessel will help turn the tide of war in the Alliance's favour. Arriving at Earth, you discover that humanity has been enslaved and the Alliance has been soundly defeated. From there the game turns into a huge adventure of gathering resources on planets to start rebuilding and upgrading your own ship as well as building more in a large fleet for the final showdown, with a great story of exploration involving rebuilding the formerly defeated Alliance, making new friends and enemies, and discovering the secrets of the universe and the mysterious origins of the vessel which you pilot. Some of the humour might be a bit dated, but most Star Wars / Star Trek fans will get most of the obscure references. 

Ship-to-ship combat is played in a top-down Asteroids-like method where starships will combat one another on a 1v1 basis, in the game mode called Super Melee. This play mode is also available as a separate mode to allow two players to comete against one another, either on the same keyboard, joysticks or over the Internet.

I would highly recommend this game of Yesteryear if only for the nostalgia, but is a great quick game to play 1v1 deathmatch in the office. Indeed, I quickly had a go with a fellow-coworker just prior to writing the review. The game got close with his Chenjesu Broodhome beating my Ur-Quan Dreadnought and two other vessels before I could remember what I set the secondary fire button to!

The Ur-Quan Masters has been released under the GPL Software License, is available for PC, Mac, several Linux distributions and even some mobile devices. You can either download the game from its original site, or you can download it from the GameZone FTP Site. The GameZone link includes all the installation files for both PC and Mac along with the extra remixes.

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