Maelstrom, developed by K.D. Labs and released by Codemasters, is a space strategy and action combination game with futuristic themes and bit of tactical combat thrown in for good measure. It came out in the early nineties.
Maelstrom is set in a post-apocalyptic world called Harmony following a massive interplanetary war. During the conflict, many of the planets were damaged, either physically, economically, defensively, etc. As the war waged on, the technology of each planet slowly crumbled and became more primitive, until finally a mysterious and powerful force nearly annihilated the entire system and ended the war.
Following the conflict, a single planet—Zokbar J—began to emerge as a super power, and slowly built an empire by engulfing other weaker planets into its control. The home planet formed the Syndicate, and became bent on taking over the entire galaxy….rumoured to be with the help of the unknown force that ended the war. Harmony held great value for the Syndicate due to the fact that it was teeming with a highly explosive mineral used to propel ships and create other military devices.
The user plays an officer in the Syndicate army who turns against the faction because of its cruelty to the weaker nations. After being sent to Harmony to find a way for the faction to invade without destroying the mineral deposits (or themselves
by landing on or near the highly explosive mineral), the user decides to rebel against the Syndicate and help the people of Harmony resist alien invasion and preserve their way of life and their freedom.
The goal of the game is to oversee the running of Harmony and prepare it for the Syndicate’s invasion. This basically comes through the micromanagement of day to day dealings on the planet…everything from diplomatic relations with other planets to budgeting the planet’s resources. Most of the game will deal with issues relevant only to Harmony’s well being, but occasionally another planet may request military assistance or a loan of some kind. Decisions on how to handle these requests effect diplomatic dealings and will affect the outcome of the game. There are five overall subjects that the user must control: the planet’s secret intelligence agency; government of the people; military; technological research; and the mineral mining industry.
Like most other games of this nature, the user must strike a balance between all five areas of control, upgrade units and technology, and try to progress faster than the enemy in order to keep the upper hand. It will be a challenge with Maelstrom, but most users will find it an enjoyable one.