Space Colony - Video Game Review
Take a tycoon style game, add in one part Sims, one bunch of quirky characters and plant them in outer space to create the PC game known as Space Colony. Created by Firefly Studios, makers of the Stronghold series, and released by Take Two Interactive in 2003, Space Colony will have you fulfilling your mission on a far away planet, repelling aliens and managing a diverse, dysfunctional crew who can fight, form friendships, argue and fall in love with each other.
Making money for the mega-corporation that sent you out to space will require the hard work of your crew who hold the keys to victory and defeat. Managing the stereotyped personalities to get the job done lies in your capable hands.
Upon loading Space Colony, you'll be taken to the main menu where you can click: Play Space Colony, Sandbox Mode or Galaxy Mode. Play Space Colony starts the story line mode with two campaign paths – economics or military. Economics has you focus on meeting the mission goals such as attracting tourists and balancing the personalities of your crew. The missions are pretty straightforward but get harder as you progress. The military story has many more missions and requires meeting your goals while balancing crew problems and the occasional alien attack.
In the storyline each mission has you build on your previous base so what you do in one mission and how your crew reacts to one another will carry over to the next mission, leading to easier or harder missions depending on how you play and initially have the characters interact.
Sandbox Mode lets you play without any goals. As a result, you can experiment and just have some silly fun having your crew go at one another. However, as there is no end goal it can get boring pretty fast.
Galaxy Mode is a combination of story line and sandbox mode where you can choose one of many different planets to start on and have to fulfill your mission objectives. There are usually only a couple missions on each planet and each planet is independent of each other.
There is also a tutorial and map editor available in Space Colony so you can get help should you need it or should you wish to design your own map.
There are up to 20 different crew members who may be assigned on any one mission though Venus Jones, a red head balanced in almost all skills, will be with you for every mission and could be said to be the main character. Each crew member has a unique personality and this is where Space Colony resembles the Sims. All crew members need to eat, sleep, shower, have interaction with one another, etc. Some crew have one or more stars next to certain characteristics like sleeping meaning that one characteristic is the most important to them and raising it back to full will offer the most productivity to them.
It is important to keep your crew’s needs satisfied, because if you don’t then they will not work or obey the tasks you give them. Each crew member has a limited amount of time in which they will work to fulfill a given task. If a crew member has too many unfulfilled needs then their time to work will decrease even faster.
Assigning a crew member a job requires that the crew member have the right skill. If a crew member has no skill in mining then they cannot mine titanium or silicon. You can train your crew members in new skills by using a library, which takes a good amount of time and is based on the person’s intelligence or by using a training pod which costs a lot of money but gives almost instant training.
Each crew member in Space Colony has a different personality and stereotype. Combine it with the voice overs and you'll get entertaining dialogue when two personalities interact. It cannot get much more stereotypical when you have a blond girl named Candy who loves shopping and is unskilled at almost everything. Or take Billy Bob, a heavyset guy with a country personality who likes to stare at things. Can you guess where he excels? Chicken Farming, which is one source of food for your colony.
The relationships in Space Colony are important as two crew members may be romantic, friends or downright hate each other. If two people hate each other and they come in contact, instead of dialogue they will break into a fight leaving one injured and needing a trip to the med bay. Fortunately there are counseling chairs to rectify differences, though you have to send the crew members there manually. Sometimes crew members also go insane requiring them to go to a detention cell or a counseling robot until they are cured.
Tips for Success
1. Build beds right away and assign your crew to them so they can sleep when tired
2. Crew members who require lots of social interaction are best used as cleaners
3. More stars next to a skill means a higher proficiency in it
4. Don’t let crew members die as they won’t be revived until the next mission
5. Use common sense
Space Colony Cheats
Glorious cheat codes never seem to die and I'm happy to say for those of you who seek the shortcut here are the ones available for Space Colony. There are only three but they are powerful. Of course if you beat the game without these, then you will have something to boast about:
Go to the Bridge Screen and select Financials (Financials appear on Mission 2+), then press:
Command + O (Simultaneously) - 10,000 Credits (Mac Users only)
Alt + Shift + O (Simultaneously) - 10,000 Credits (PC Users only)
Skip the Mission:
Click on the Bridge, select Mothership and press:
Alt + Shift + Y (Simultaneously) - Completes the Current Stage.
Space Colony Remastered
Space Colony Original
Space Colony is a lot of fun, especially the storyline. However Space Colony doesn’t have long term appeal. It is great for a while but once beat, you probably won’t come back to it. The music is solid and fits the mood as do the voice overs. Those who love playing The Sims will be comfortable with the characters and meeting their needs, as it is simpler in Space Colony than in The Sims. Managing the mission goals, building structures and fighting aliens add more of the classic tycoon feel.
Yet there are a few downsides that lessened the experience. Camera controls cannot be switched or rotated and crew members would sometimes abandon their post at the most inopportune times due to needing to relieve a need. Overall a pretty solid game. The price on Amazon is really cheap so it's a good way to pass some time.