The first installment of Sentinel Worlds Future Magic was released in 1989 by Electronic Arts. It is one of the best early examples of a science fiction role playing games and is still popular for its game play in modern times. It had no real sequel, but Hard Nova (by the same designer) was thought to be a follow-up to it.
Sentinel Worlds is a long and in-depth RPG with a well-written story line and challenging game play set in 2995. It charges the user to control a crew of five federation officers who are to explore the Caldorre System and rid it of the pesky raiders that are threatening commercial ships.
By embarking on numerous scouting missions, the crew will engage the enemy and eventually learn the location of their base, which must be destroyed in order to end the problem the space pirates pose. Through combat and completion of the many sub-quests, the officers and their star ship can be built up and improved, similar to a modern RPG. There are many random fights and other opportunities to veer from the main plot and quest, giving the user many chances to improve the characters.
Sentinel Worlds, because of this nonlinear plot, was a ground breaking RPG in the late eighties, where most games had a single objective. Moreover, it combined several elements, such as strategy and manual dexterity, along with
the basics of an RPG. The user had to be able to serve as a skilled pilot in the combat modes, and plans of attack could be formulated, even allying with other vessels to take on a large raiser force. Although it had little bearing on the main plot, users could also choose to trade with people within the system for resources that could be used like money at outfitting posts.
Most of the game is two-dimensional, but the action within the corridors of the ships and building switch to a three-dimensional view. It also features good graphic displays for its time and a fairly easy user interface. Actual combat does not show a lot of detail, but even the colored dots and shapes will let the user know what is going on, and the game play itself makes up for the lack of fancy star ships and pinpointed explosions. The sound is also good, if you can get it to work on your machine.
In summary, Sentinel Worlds is a great game with a lot to offer because of the actions placed on multiple planes. The nonlinear story line makes it huge with endless possibilities and it was certainly a pioneer for its time. It is worth downloading!