Cosmic Balance Review
Developed by Strategic Simulations (Part of the RapidFire line)
Review By Chris Smith
The Space Gamer #59 (January 1983)

Designed by Paul Murray
Twenty-nine page rulebook, disk, four lines of errata
Ships may be saved

This is a standard game of starship-to-starship combat, complete with phasers, photons, ECM, shields, and various other chrome. The difference between this game and some others comes before combat: You design your own ships. Construction rules are somewhat more complex than the combat rules, but with a little patience and a lot of practice you'll be turning out a winning combination every time you sit down.

But then you'll find out that no winner is sure-fire. A ship's main strengths are speed, offense, and defense, and you simply can't boost one without sacrificing one or both of the others.

The ship construction program itself is very user-friendly. Single key strokes are used wherever possible, eliminating the need to use the return key excessively. The ship designer must pay attention to shield strength, weapons capabilities, engine size, and (unlike most other such games) breathing space for the crew. One thing which is stressed in the instruction manual is that a happy crew is an efficient crew; the more room they have, the better overall performance of your ship.

Entering the actual combat portion of the program, you will find commands which allow you to allocate energy to the various ship systems in order to maneuver, fire weapons, reenergize shields, put up ECM screens, utilize ECCM, and launch guided weapons such as fighters and seekers. After entering your commands, you sit back and watch the action play out, centering on the ship of your choice at the scale of your choice. The animation is very passable and is much better than the standard "disappear, move X up and Y left, reappear," which is the norm for this type of game.

The ship building is the main point of the game for me. The battlefield is simply a test bench that tells you what you need to improve your design. Although winning a battle requires skill as well as a good ship, I have seen enough of this type of game, minus the construction routines, to be more interested in the actual ship design than the rest of the program.


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