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Posted on Oct 9, 2008 in Electronic Games

Supreme Ruler 2020 – PC Game Review

By Jim Cobb

Supreme Ruler 2020 PC Game. Developed by BattleGoat Studios. Published by Paradox Interactive. $39.99.

Passed Inspection: Good graphics, great choice of play, ability to avoid tremendous micro-management.

Failed Basic: Sparse documentation, too many clicks, incomplete diplomatic model, multi-play flawed.

This game borders on greatness.

Supreme Ruler 2020 is a frightening game. The fear comes not from some grisly monster or spooky psycho but from reality. The world it pictures derives from a very plausible sequence of very possible events. A stagnant American economy causes the price of oil to be pegged to the Euro, not the dollar. The ensuing American depression spreads across Europe and Asia. Meanwhile, the resource-rich Third World is racked by disparities between social classes, and corruption in Russia revives Soviet-style Totalitarianism. Add present-day sectarianism and nuclear proliferation spiced with a frenetic scramble to demand some of the nine resources, and publisher Paradox Interactive and developer BattleGoat Studios present a global real-time nightmare that gamers may see unfolding in their lifetimes. Understanding what their world may become without any unifying force may help head off the crisis.


Our World – and Welcome to It
The map covers the entire globe and contains over 250 provinces or “areas” with the number of playable provinces varying by scenario or campaign. The definition of provinces is those areas that separated from a larger country, e.g. all the states in the U.S. and the division of Germany into East, West and South. These provinces are collapsed into continental regions on some screens for easier access. Large cities such as Paris can be their own province. Each province conducts its own foreign and economic policies.

The usual mini-map facilitates movement but the key to map graphics is zooming with the mouse scroll wheel. Zoomed out, players can see physical features of continents; going in a bit shows political borders, rivers, roads and large cities. Close zooms shows buildings and details of military units. For a battalion-level game, unit details are fairly good with the customary health bars. Distinctions are made for modeling units after their real-world counterparts. The icon shows the principle unit type but clicking or hovering explains the entire unit TO&E. Ten map filters show factors such as supply, water, resources and line-of-sight details. A mouse hover over a province brings up basic information and a left click pops details into the lower info panel. A right click allows fast access to basic functions.

Animation is a function of the six play speeds. Units crawl along roads and sea lanes at slower speeds and borders tend to be sedentary. Pep matters up and things zip by. Combat has details like smoke and aircraft circling battles. Borders now move with advances and retreats. Sound effects are limited to little pings in peace time indicating events and email. However, the rattle of machine guns, crash of artillery and zoom of aircraft punctuate battle.

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