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About the product
- Play the race to the Moon campaign mode against other players using Slitherine’s PBEM system.
- Three different campaign modes: play as NASA or the Soviet space agency in order to be the first on the Moon or play as the Global Space Agency (GSA) and deal with the short-term objectives issued by politicians.
- Manage all aspects of your space agencies from their inception in the 1950's through to the manned lunar landing missions
- The Sandbox mode allows you to play as any of the three space agencies and removes all competition restrictions. You will have a fully featured playground in order to try out different approaches to space exploration!
- Create space programs and launch missions inspired by real programs such as the X-15 Space plane, the Sputnik satellite, the Gemini, Vostok and Apollo manned spacecraft and a lot more!
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Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager (SPM) Road to the Moon is the ultimate game of space exploration. It is the mid 1950s and the race for dominance between the US and the Soviet Union is about to move into a new dimension: space. Take charge of the US or Soviet space agencies - your duty is be the first to the moon. Carefully manage your budget by opening programs, spending R&D funds on improving the hardware, recruiting personnel and launching space missions in this realistic turn based strategy game. Road to the Moon features the race to the Moon, the historical event that started in the early 1960s and that ended in July 1969, after the successful completion of the Apollo 11 mission.
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It combines the Old Game into a New Update Version of the "Space Race" with other Groups like the European Space
Agency. Will make a nice game for any "Space Fan".
First, the user interface is very old school. Scroll down to the end of your Mission Controller list? Click the other arrow for page two. Seriously. A scroll bar AND a set of page up page down buttons. The graphics within a mission are a combination of NASA and Clutch Cargo. The Kennedy Space Center screen is modern looking, but there are no tooltips, you click the magnifying glass to pop up a list on the upper right and a number on each building. Couldn't someone suggest putting printed words on the screen near the buildings themselves? I could do better in Paint.
Still, we're not playing BARIS for the graphics, or the UI, we want the Space Race. Here, the game is fun. If you liked BARIS, or you like the idea of training scientists, mission controllers and astronauts to run a few dozen intermediate missions and get your man on the moon first, this is the game for you. You take on the role of manager of the USA or Soviet space program, or, if you're feeling European, you can create not only the EU but the EU's space program in 1955 (choosing generally copies of the USA/USSR programs). In some ways the game is about deciding what shortcuts you can get away with. You pick the launch vehicles to use, and those to skip. My first game, on easy (aka "Normal"), I tried to do everything and had to take some chances at the end (when the Rooskies had men circling the moon) with skipping Apollo missions.
The Mission In Progress screens are simple but can be compelling. There's a space background, with still images of your mission specific vehicle racing across (reminding me of Clutch Cargo cartoons). For each step of the mission, there's a chance of problems, and the Nominal/Warning/Failure buttons pop up and you wait to see if your crew and steely-eyed missile men can solve them. You need to earn prestige to maximize your funding at the next project review. Trying out a system too early can actually reduce its reliability, but there's a maximum you can learn about any system without using it.
Beyond UI and minimal graphics, the troubles with the game are not huge, but can be aggravating. There's a drop-to-DOS feeling about the ending. Get your first man on the moon and the research you did on the lunar rover can be forgotten - the Campaign game simply ends. No parade, just "here's the start screen again". Go into negative in your spacebucks? You lose, even if you just beat the USA and USSR into orbit. No warning, just "you didn't read the manual, did you?" No, I didn't, Buzz, no, I didn't. Anyway, you can always play in Sandbox mode as any of the three sides, the game has six modes.
Still, if you're interested in the Kerbal Space Program manager feeling, but don't want to fly the missions yourself, BARIS2, err, Buzz Aldrin's Space Program Manager can be a fun experience. Don't go in expecting an intuitive UI, snazzy graphics or a satisfying Game Over experience (it had me thinking of the even older Scorpia rant about one RPG where winning literally closed the program and dropped you to "C:\"). If you're looking to run a space program or two, however, do go in.
If Amazon doesn't sell it, Slitherine's website had it for one third off the Steam price (and it's a direct download, not a Steam key, if that matters to you), check both places. Watch for a sale on Steam, too.