Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain

5This game was actually in the works under Blizzard as Pax Imperia II, an ambitious sequel to the popular Macintosh “space-ploitation” game Pax Imperia. This new incarnation was to be a strategy game featuring detailed economic management, social development, trade, diplomacy, and over a thousand different technologies for the player to research. Blizzard shelved the project in 1996, later selling the rights to THQ. The game received a major streamlining and a new name: Pax Imperia: Eminent Domain.

Eminent Domain offers a selection of different predefined alien races to play. These bestow the usual advantages and disadvantages to research, construction, population growth, planet habitability, and so on. The game map may contain up to 100 solar systems, connected together by a branching system of wormholes that enable travel between sectors.

Planetary structures are separated into five broad categories: Population, construction, research, espionage, and finance. Population structures increase the carrying capacity of a planet, while the other building types generate production points in their respective categories. Eminent Domain allows players to trade ships, information, money, and technology. You can steal technology, sabotage planets, and bribe enemy governors. In the diplomacy department, however, the game’s features are disappointingly lackluster and simplified.

7The real-time nature of Eminent Domain is a hit and miss. The clock may be stopped at any time, allowing the player to issue orders or consider options without time pressure. Ship combat is resolved in real-time; events outside the battle are frozen until the fighting is done. Ironically, it is during combat that the real-time system, coupled with a clumsy user interface, obstructs the flow of the game. You’ll frequently need to pause the game to make fine adjustments to individual ships.

The combat system has some other downers. Fighter craft are too powerful, defying minefields and regenerating after each retreat. Planetary defenses are orbital instead of ground based, making the result of a bombardment, even with the puniest weapons, a foregone conclusion once the defenses have been destroyed. There also is no ground combat, no way to capture installations intact – a planet must be reduced to rubble before it can be claimed.

System Requirements:Pentium II 233 Mhz, 32 MB RAM, Win95

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