Master of Orion III, the much awaited sequel to the first two excellent (if quirky and cheesy) Master of Orion games, fell a little bit short due to a radical design change halfway through and a reduced budget/timeline. It was developed by Quicksilver Interactive and published by Infogrames. It has some cool new species, like gas-giant inhabiting jellyfish things and what essentially amounts up to giant headcrabs. Many of the design ideas come from the old Delphi board, which, many said, was the beginning of the end for the game. Anyway, even its biggest fansite ( now has somewhat rejected it. Many tell me that this game is fun only for a very select group of people.

While it was nice, I, personally, found it pretty much unplayable to the weak AI, bizzare interface, and hyper-abstract everything. The AI almost never attacked you and seemed to have poor strategy, the interface was rife with inconsistancies and irrationalities, and every part of the "charm" of MOO2 was abstracted to a table of numbers and a report at the end of every turn.

Bascially, the main difference (quality aside) between MOO2 and MOO3 is that MOO3 was "de-civ-ized": that is, most of the elements borrowed from the Civilization series were removed: most notably the "population points," but also "city (or in this case planet) views" and the "nerfing" of many of the combat things. With MOO3, everything was supposed to balanced, etc. at least in theory, but, of course, that didn't quite manifest itself, at least, not until the first patch, which will hopefully be released soon. Finally, the combat system was radically changed, some say for the better, some for the worse, but it IS very different than the MOO2 and MOO1 systems. And, of course, there are viceroys (competant AI planet management assistants) which you can "influence" with development plans. Other than star-lanes and a much more complicated backstory with significantly more bearing on the game, little in the way of INTENDED game mechanic has changed.