'MoOving In': A Detailed Preview of Master of Orion III MoOving In: A Detailed Preview of Master of Orion III
By Daniel Quick | Apolyton CS Co-Owner/Administrator

While I am readily familiar with several turn-based strategy game series, those bearing Master of Orion (MoO) titles are not one of them. Outside of others' written documentation, discussion and screenshots of the first two incarnations, my only exposure to MoO was witnessing a friend briefly demonstrate his well established empire in Master of Orion II: The Battle of Antares shortly after the game came out. I did not follow-up on this title because I simply did not have or at least felt that I did not have the time to adequately explore this game on my own; of course, having negligible disposable income at the time was also a real and disappointing factor. It was 1996, the same year Civilization II was released. Now, almost seven years of waiting and three-and-a-half years of developing, Master of Orion III is on the very brink of going gold. Developments in the days preceding the publishing of this writing have only further fuelled my speculation that MoO3 will be in the hands of strategy gamers by the end of the first quarter of this year.

Whether you're like me, a relative apprentice in the Master of Orion spectrum, a hardened veteran of the intergalactic gambit or somewhere in between, it will serve us all well to gain pertinent knowledge about our potential enemies before engaging in diplomacy, espionage, combat or otherwise. With this in mind, and without giving away too much of the story that sets the stage for MoO3, a brief but meaningful look at the dawn of the Orion Sector is appropriate for inclusion here. The following pages should provide you with at least some insight into the species vying for power and, perhaps even, your adept leadership. Where possible and deemed appropriate, I have provided the occasional reference to both the Star Trek and Stargate franchises in an attempt to further understanding of the discussed material. True, my own interest in these small and big-screen titles influenced their inclusion here. However, the realization that other fans of science-fiction based and inspired computer games may also be followers of science-fiction shows such as the two mentioned also played a part. Let's begin.

The Orions had sought to resolve a most engrossing conflict by analyzing the fallout among more primeval species. At this time, their territory included numerous planets already occupied by native life forms of some description and sentience had already emerged in some of them. Accelerated rates of development were the direct result of genetic manipulation at the hands of the Orions. The purpose here was to expediently observe these base cultures' histories in, as the manual states, “an effort to gain insight into their own dilemma” (Page 23). The goal was to reproduce the elements that led to the Elder Civilizations' conflict on a smaller scale. Whether such research led to discoveries sought by the Orions is unknown. What is known is that these pain-staking efforts would lend rise to no less then five distinct races. Two of these, the Klackon and Psilon, are playable civilizations in MoO3. Another race, the Humans, adamantly rejected suggestions that they too would found their origins within the universal petrie-dishes of Orion whims.


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