Game Info:

Flatspace II: Rise of the Scarrid
Developed by: Mark Sheeky
Published By: Cornutopia Software
Release Date: December 2005
Available on: PC
Genre: 3D Top down space trading and exploration.
Single Player
ESRB rating: Unavailable
Retail price: $24.95

System Requirements• OS: Windows® 95, 98, ME, NT, 200, XP, Vista, 7
• CPU: 500 MHz Intel® Pentium® processor or equivalent AMD® Athlon™ processor 
• RAM: 128MB
• Video: 8 MB DirectX® compatible or better video card 
• Available Hard Disk Space: Approx. 60 MB• Other: 3-button Mouse, Keyboard and Speakers.

Flatspace II is a space trading game. It\'s the usual story: lone pilot with little ship and some guns and missiles takes on massively hostile universe while trading cargo, bounty hunting, attacking weaker ships, performing missions or just exploring. Missions involve delivering cargo, capturing or assassinating other pilots, and just plain making a nuisance of yourself.

Flatspace is set in the distant future, when the universe has expanded so far that planets and stars have disintegrated. Humanity still exists in space stations, of course. You can\'t get rid of us that easily. (But with the right cannons you can get rid of individual humans very easily)

The Scarrid are a pack of aliens that hate the humans and want to kill them all for various important reasons etc. and vice-versa. You can play as a Scarrid if you want, but it\'s not much different from playing as a human. Depending on your race your ultimate objective in the game is to destroy all the Scarrid or Human stations, but considering how much firepower destroying even one station requires, this is a goal on par with fixing the BP oil spill, creating peace in the Middle East, and finding an honest politician in Washington D.C.


Strong Points: Great music
Weak Points: Unbalanced and difficult game play
Moral Warnings: Option to slave trade

To make a profit, you could opt to trade cargo between various space stations, or become a space pirate and steal cargo. You can join the police force, or become a bounty hunter and track and destroy or capture the criminals in the galaxy. You can mine asteroids, act as a high speed courier or taxi paying customers from sector to sector. 

Making a profit on these activities is not guaranteed, however. You\'ll need some very nice(and expensive) equipment to track any criminals and some very nice weapons to have a chance in heck of killing them. Mining asteroids pays about as well as sweeping up hair in a salon. And paying customers? Hah! I\'ve seen taxi drivers in New York get better wages.

As a space captain you can fly any of over a hundred ships in the Flatspace universe, providing you can afford the price tag. But that\'s unlikely. Let me warn you right now, this game is very, very hard.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 68%
Game Play: 10/20
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 10/10
Interface: 1/5
Stability: 5/5

Morality Score - 70%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 7/10

Combat is difficult and unforgiving. Making money is hard. Everything is expensive and there aren\'t millionaires handing out buckets of cash for you to deliver a crate of plastic toys to their apartment in a station five hundred miles away(they generally pay about $500 for a mission like that, whereas a fairly low end ship costs $100,000).

Ships can be customised with many different fittings, all of them expensive, even the worthless ones. Weapons, shield units, generators, trackers and scanners, tractor beams, stun beams, mines and missiles and many more items are available and they all cost a fortune. And to top it all off your ship can only hold so much, so you have to make a tradeoff between what items you need and what items will actually fit. Unfortunately most of the good equipment is either really big or really expensive, and without good equipment the game is even harder.

Combat involves shooting up the enemy ship with lasers, cannons, machine guns, and whatever missiles you can afford(there\'s a dozen different kinds, all expensive), all while avoiding their own offensive weaponry.


Problems quickly surface: the AI in this game is a little wonky. They\'ll fly at you and exhaust every single drop of ammunition in their ship(and all their missiles too) - and then they\'ll just follow you around, rather than retreating or letting their lasers recharge.

Missiles, too, are messed up. They fly in huge circles rather than just going straight for the target, and if any other ship or asteroid gets in the way, they\'ll smash right into it.

This has the nasty side-effect that you can shoot yourself down with your own missiles if you accidentally get in the way. On the plus side, if you don\'t carry a flare launcher(takes up a lot of room) to shoot down missiles, you can evade the missiles pretty easily.

The major problem with combat is this: for such an integral part of the game, it\'s not very fun. If you\'re flying a small ship, it only takes a few laser strikes or one missile to practically disable your ship, and once that happens you\'re dead. Dead dead dead. And flying one of the larger ships is a lesson in masochism. They turn about as quickly as the Empire State Building on roller skates, so you usually encounter half a dozen small ships that unload a staggering amount of firepower into your engines before you can even turn around. They then sit there and watch as you explode.

It gets worse though. If you do a bad job fitting out your ship(very easy to do, very hard to do right), you\'ll end up with a laser cannon that takes forever to recharge and depletes itself in about five seconds. And if you decide to go with a machine gun, you\'ll have to carry around boxes of ammo in your hold or you\'ll be running out of bullets every five minutes or so.

That\'s not the only problem with this game though. Bounty hunting? Without a really expensive scanner you won\'t even know where your targets are! Not to mention you need a good tractor beam and room in your cargo bay for the enemy pilot if you\'re capturing him alive, and those are two things that are rarities in Flatspace.

Another rarity is law-abiding pilots, which means most of the ships you encounter have criminals at the helm. And they have bounties on their heads, so you can kill them without provocation and get paid for it! Unfortunately the bounties are never more than a thousand dollars or so, so becoming The Punisher of Flatspace is a good way to end up in debtor\'s prison. 

Travelling around the universe is also difficult. It\'s quite large, but without a really big(and expensive) hyperdrive, you can only jump a few sectors at a time, and it takes quite a while for your hyperdrive to recharge before you can jump again. In addition to that, travelling across space using your normal engines takes forever even if you\'re in a fast ship. 

The interface is also terrible. Scrolling through lists of equipment and weapons takes absolutely forever. Buying and selling items is made as difficult as possible. You can\'t just swap your core generator out for a new one. You have to find your old one in the list of items, sell it, then scroll back to the new one and click buy. Only to be told that there\'s no room on your ship because you installed a hyperdrive that isn\'t worthless. Or that you don\'t have enough points in whatever guild to buy it. Or that it\'s not the right size for your ship.


The worst part about this game is that there\'s a wonderful game experience underneath all the problems screaming to be let out. Flatspace 2 could have been so much better, but it\'s basically ruined by several decisions the developer made that should never have gotten past the beta testers. 

On a positive note, the musc is in this game is awesome(and composed by the man who programmed the game and created the graphics, so he\'s quite talented in some ways). The graphics are also really nice, while being low-key enough that this game will run quite well on almost any computer running Windows. Unfortunately it requires an unbelievable amount of time to actually get anywhere in the game, and once you get there you find out the game gets even harder!

Check out the demo, you may find something you like about it. You may also find yourself smashing your head into your desk time and time again. Don\'t say I didn\'t warn you!

Appropriateness: No cussing, no sex, no vampires. Violence is low-key and only involves blowing up other ships. There are a few things to be aware of though.

One way to make money in Flatspace is by capturing pilots from a different race and selling them as slaves or for use in experiments. But that would be totally unethical of course - and the police will come after you if they catch you doing this.

Secondly, after you destroy an enemy ship the pilot and his crew are ejected in lifepods. You can leave them floating in space, take them aboard your ship, or kill them by shooting the lifepods. You can also eject your own crew into space, presumably to die.

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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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