System Requirements
Windows® 98/Me/2000/XP/Vista
Pentium III 800+, 512MB RAM
3D Graphics Card with 16MB+ Video RAM
DirectX 8.1 or Higher
DirectX Compatible Sound Card
Rated E 10+

Supreme Ruler 2020 is a follow up to Battlegoat Studio’s Supreme ruler 2010. I haven’t played the original, but I must say that this is by far the most complex strategy game that I have ever experienced. If you think our current world is a mess, wait until you see what Supreme Ruler 2020 has in store for you! Every nation is in turmoil and the United States isn’t so united anymore with their states threatening to attack each other. Oil prices are through the roof and many countries are still very dependent on petroleum. Communism is coming back to Moscow and Israel and Iran are still at odds, but this time with nuclear force. With all of these international crises, how will you lead your people? Will you rule by force, diplomacy, or let your nukes do the talking?

So with that lovely backdrop, let’s talk about getting our hands dirty! There are two single player modes, campaign and scenarios. There are four campaign missions that are intertwined and structured to help you become the ultimate ruler. You have to play them in order and complete the tasks to become victorious. If you do not complete the missions and go your own way, the campaign will switch to sandbox mode and let you conquer the world on your own.

I enjoyed the scenarios a bit more than the campaign; I liked picking up someone else\'s mess instead of starting from scratch. There are eighteen scenarios and they are all unique. This is a pretty open ended game play mode and you can alter the victory conditions and enemy AI. Some of the missions can be completed quickly or you can choose to conquer the world while you’re at it.

There is multiplayer support for LAN and internet, allowing up to sixteen people to play together. However, when I looked online I didn’t see any active servers.

Before even attempting to play this game, go through ALL of the tutorials. The interface is very complex and has a steep learning curve. Gone are the days of just collecting wood, food and ore. Instead, you can manage your cabinet ministers of Production, Research, Finance, State Department, Military, Operations and Defense.

Once your game is loaded, you’ll be greeted with a world map, a paused timer and probably an e-mail message or two. You’ll get e-mail notifications to let you know about your approval rating, diplomatic offers, ally needs, territory gains and losses, enemy notifications, and more. Look at each cabinet member and see how each area is doing. You can let them do their job or you can tweak settings and override them. There are so many things to control from taxes (Low Income / High Income / Corporate / Small Business / Sales Tax / Unemployment / Property / Pension Fund.), Social Spending (Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Education, Environment, Cultural Subsidiaries, Family Subsidiaries, Infrastructure), Land Development, Imports/Exports, Diplomacy, and Military/Defense. Once you have things where you want them, click on the play button to start your game.

Chances are your nation will not be self sufficient. You will have to produce or trade for the following commodities Agriculture, Fresh Water, Timber, Petroleum, Coal, ore, Uranium, Electric, Consumer Good, Industry Good, and Military Good. There will be plenty of enemies out there but you can try and make allies by offering diplomatic offers. You can offer Free Trade, Formal Alliance, Air Support, military backup, etc. They may accept your offer, negotiate it or tell you to take a long walk off of a short pier.

When it comes to warfare you can use weapons of mass destruction or standard missiles. You can choose what the tanks, helicopters, and planes are armed with. You can declare war and hot spots with the click of a mouse. Like everything else there is so much to control within the military. You can manage the recon, tanks, anti-tanks, artillery, air defense, infantry, planes, supplies and choppers. It’s not all about blowing stuff up, as you’ll have to think and plan ahead. If you want to get a good first shot, use Reconnaissance.

On the subject of things blowing up, let\'s talk about graphics. The world map uses imagery from NASA which is pretty cool. The graphics aren’t incredibly detailed but you will see individual planes, tanks, ships and buildings. It’s probably better not being able to zoom in on all the bloodshed. The explosions weren’t that impressive and overall, I wasn’t blown away by the graphics in general. They get the job done though.

The sound effects are decent. You’ll hear military vehicles and air craft moving, explosions, and radio calls for reinforcements. Voice narrations on the tutorials would have been a nice touch, and it may have made them more interesting. The menu music was nice and very war-like; it gets you pumped up for battle.

From an appropriateness perspective this game is pretty clean. Yes there is war, and it can be avoidable but not all the time. Fortunately you don’t see blood and gore; just military units disappear when defeated. Although this game is appropriate for a child, I would not recommend it for children because of the learning curve alone. I would only recommend this game for hardcore strategy gamers or control freaks.

Game Play 12/20
Graphics 6/10
Sound 6/10
Interface 2/5
Stability 5/5
Appropriateness 47/50
-3 shooting enemy units
Overall Score: 78%

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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