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StarTopia

knew before I brought the box home that I'd probably love Startopia. I love the Sims, I love the Dungeon Keeper series, and I'm a huge fan of science fiction. This seemed to combine my favorite game styles, adding in gorgeous graphics and a bevy of interesting aliens. I wasn't disappointed!

To start with, you get this GREAT send-off of 2001. If you haven't seen 2001 yet, rent and watch the DVD, and then watch the opening cinematics of this game. The graphics are incredible, and the whole thing is really funny. That's just to start!

The game gives you bulding power in a space station - you're trying to make the most interesting, hospitable and money-making space station around. You build power boosters to supply the raw energy for your structures. You get to build sleeping, eating, gaming, health, and other kinds of areas for your visitors. Taking it one step further than Dungeon Keeper 2, instead of just building a 'lair' for creatures to sleep in, you build the base sleeping area and then add in as many beds, lava lamps, and other items as you feel works well for your target audience. You even build recycling plants, turning litter and waste back into energy!

Each creature that comes to your starport has its own background, hobbies, skill levels, and more. You can hire people that seem interesting, and buy new items from travelling salesmen. Individuals can have criminal records that you can take into account. You can click on each creature and find out exactly how hungry, tired, bored, etc. it is at the moment, with cool animations.

The graphics are *beautiful*. Every room and item has its own animations which are very well done. Every race looks completely different from the others, and has its own characteristics. It's easy to get started, and as you go, you get space and more options available. The progression is very well thought out. Your robotic helper talks you through each stage with great deadpan humor, and helps out if you get stuck.

There are SO many little extras in this game that it would take hours to talk about them all. The security screens have us falling out of our chairs laughing, never mind certain character interactions, and a certain fuzzy pal/parasite, and much, much more. This is a game you can play for months and still be absorbed and finding new things.

HIGHLY recommended to any sim or Dungeon Keeper fan, and I have to believe that *any* gamer will find some aspect of this to hook you!

NOTE: The game is available on GameTap!

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