DOS - 1995
Description of Ascendancy
Ascendancy is an ambitious space strategy game that is full of innovative ideas. Unfortunately, it also has one of the worst computer AIs of all time. The AI was so bad that most gamers didn't even pay attention when the AI patch that fixes the game was eventually released. With the patch, Ascendancy finally is not only playable, but is highly entertaining.
Ascendancy is the first game by Logic Factory, a small developer founded by two ex-Origin employees. The game looks like another run-off-the-mill space strategy game, but it successfully manages to add new elements that set it apart from other galactic conquest games. As in other "4X" games, you choose universe size, species, and even the general political climate. The choice of the species is interesting, because each species has a special ability you will discover only while playing.
The tutorial is one of the best I've ever seen in a game: it covers all the game's basics and interface in a fun interactive scenario. Another great feature is the Research Tree, which is remarkable not only in its innovative 3D presentation, but also in the highly creative alien technologies you can research. Inventions may lead to other discoveries, and sometimes only a combination of different technologies can unveil interdependencies between technologies. You can rotate the Tree in all directions to explore the various topics. This is arguably the game's best feature, and one that should be emulated in later games.
Unfortunately, the bucks stop here. Ascendancy's charming individuality and attractive graphics can't hide the brain-dead AI that poses no challenge whatsoever. The AI's incompetence is not so obvious in the first few turns, but after about 50 turns or so, it is glaringly obvious. While you amass your fleet to prepare for the invasion, the computer players will simply do nothing, oblivious to your moves and making no effort to defend themselves even when your fleet is knocking on the door! You'll wonder if the game has any AI at all, or if the computer can only perform mechanical tasks.
If you get bored of micro-management, you can select the self-management option for the planets of your choice, as well as research. This sounds good, until you realize that it's basically useless since the computer cannot even manage its own planets properly. In its original incarnation, Ascendancy is a resounding failure despite a lot of hype. The amazingly bad AI (or lack thereof) really kills the game, which is otherwise full of innovative ideas.
Fortunately, Logic Factory later released the AI patch that makes the computer a bit more intelligent (although, naturally, too late to make the game a commercial success). When patched, Ascendancy ranks as one of the most original space strategy games ever made, although even with the patch, the AI is nowhere near as challenging as, say, Master of Orion-- it just makes less stupid mistakes. Recommended, but only to beginners to the genre, or anyone who wants to try a unique space strategy game with a lot of individuality and not much of a challenge. *
Note: The Logic Factory's second game, Tone Rebellion, is a much better game than Ascendancy, although the AI could still use some improvement. Definitely worth a look at the company's website.
Review By HOTUD
Captures and Snapshots
Comments and reviews
Gowens 2024-01-04 0 point
I still play this game. It can be annoying when you cannot build any more ships and you have to scrap one to build a better one (or upgrade one). But this game really is brilliant, and has all the elements of a great 4x.
Kirgan 2023-12-03 0 point
I have this on my desktop and laptop. For some reason after years of playing it on my laptop, it suddenly crashes on startup. I re-installed and still the same. I can only guess that some Windows patch is causing the issue.
However, when I re-install it and then let the installation program launch (the check box to launch it at the end of the installation) that allows it to run. But if I double click on the icon it creates on the desktop - it crashes before it gets the Ascendancy menu. So to play on my laptop now, I have to reinstall it every time. My old saved games are still there, you just have to load them. I do still enjoy the game even thought all the building can be a little tedious (it needs queues) and the AI so easy to be beat, I can do it in my sleep (event he antag patch) - I still like playing.
Grover Worthington 2023-08-21 -1 point
Gameplay vastly inferior to MOO2, but it was better able to stimulate the imagination, e.g., better soundtrack, more diverse aliens, more of an "epic" feel to it, etc. With minor improvements, e.g., a better AI, more advanced diplomacy, and some time-saving automation, it would have been a worthy rival to MOO2, the greatest space 4x of all time.
dosbox works fine 2023-07-17 0 point
wdym @SYLIAN ? on ubuntu it works even with default dosbox config, just have to alt+enter it so that mouse is captured..
York 2023-04-16 0 point
How do I use the cheat codes? I'd like to get good captures of all of the various species' ships. The gamefaqs option does not work within Abandonware.
Mike K. 2022-12-26 1 point
I still like playing this on occasion even today. There were only two issues I ever had - 1) Large galaxies are to tedious to play. It shouldn't requite you to click ok on planets that don't have free resources yet. And it should allow templates to build ships and to set general automatic building templates or queues, so you don't have to spend so much time manually selecting every little thing. Way too time consuming to do this in larger galaxy games. You can spend 10 -15 minutes to having to update building queues before you go to the next turn. Lesson is to play only average galaxy size or less to make it less tedious. 2) Once you understand the building and war strategy well enough, it is way to easy to beat. In fact you will never loose - even with the Antagonizer patch. The AI always needed to be improved. I really wish they would make a modern version of this game with improved adaptive AI and more automated time saving building features.
Buur 2022-10-28 -1 point
I remember some stupid AI in this game. After I lost a space battle which wiped my fleet completely some of my planets were totally unprotected, but the AI enemy took no action at all to invade them, even when their fleet was in the orbit of my unprotected planets... I could take all the time I wanted to build a new stronger battleship with my new technology and launch it when it was ready, while the enemy was still floating around in my orbit, wasting their time doing nothing at all, just waiting for my battle ship to be ready and be blown to pieces, while they had the oppurtunity to end it all! It made no sense. I have to try this again...
AriethNinja 2022-08-05 0 point
Oh man, I use to LOVE this game. I even sucked it up and bought an iPhone just so I could play it because they did port it over there.
I miss it so much
Cynical Aspie 2021-11-20 0 point
Downloaded and used Ra7eN's installer. Worked well for a while, then a technical hiccup occurred and mid-way through a session, the squares on the planet display disappeared altogether.
Oliver 2021-11-02 4 points
One word only: Music ...
The music of this game is more than excellent, especially considering that it is from 1995. It is the work of Nenad Vugrinec, a discreet composer from the former Eastern Europe, very underrated for being little known, but who has been the author of many good video game soundtracks from the last 20 years. The rest of the game is basically the work of all the Templeton brothers and is excellent. Unfortunately it severely lacks in its artificial intelligence. To try to fix it, Logic Factory released a patch "The antagonist" the following year, but the damage had already been done ...
SC 2021-01-17 2 points
This game may not be very famous, but one of the best game for me.
I did hope Logicfactory developed any sequel to this one...
Professor Fizzle 2020-12-29 -1 point
I can't seem to download the game. I keep getting "file not found," and "page can't be trusted" messages.
Also, I can't seem to play on my browser atm. I'm being told my browser is "Unable to load file."
The Govorom were steamrollering over the combined forces of the Minions and Shevar, only to be stopped by this? Please don't let that be so!
TJ 2020-08-21 2 points
I am looking for a game similar to the game in the opening of the video here. It may even be the game but I cant remember then name. I believe I spoke with someone who's email was Eman, but I cant remember and this would have been a few years backs
skeleskin 2020-05-30 1 point
loved this game back in the day. the AI is terrible but it is still fun
benjiboy 2020-01-23 1 point
Great to find this game working on Win 10, and such a nice, easy install.
Many thanks all who made it possible.
This is one of my all-time favourite games.
I even got sacked once when I was caught playing it in the offfice!
Louisa.Doris 2020-01-12 -2 points
The realization of the goal is based on my strong desire to succeed
ironnails 2019-09-22 0 point
When i tried to download the Ascendancy PC game here. i tried to download the Ra7eN's download and it only seems to be Birthright and that works great. I was wondering how to use Ra7eN's access for the game Ascendancy.
JIM 2019-06-26 -1 point
Cannot get ascendancy to play in DOSBOX. Have d/l'd dosbox and ascendancy. know file locations and done mount C: etc and have C: as command line prompt but cannot do a CD to any folder. Can you help?
Tone 2018-10-10 0 point
You can always pick up the manual online at https://www.b-sting.nl/ascendancy/research-list.html. It worked in 1996 and it still works now!
Eman 2018-06-24 -1 point
Ascendancy downloaded and runs great on Windows 10. How can I install the antagonizer patch to work as well. (I downloaded the antagonizer from the link below, but got a message that it wouldn't run.
Darthraki 2018-05-18 -5 points
I've played this game a ton, but I'd like to use the cheats. How do
skypup 2018-02-15 1 point
Gorgeous graphics for that time...its a shame AI is that spineless....Anyone know if Ascendancy 2 was ever considered getting produced? The tech advancement was a bit more developed in MOO (master of Orion) 1 & 2. Notably defensive Stellar Mine Nets encircling Solar Systems.
skypup 2016-12-22 1 point
Don't get what file to execute for the MISC handbook download. Wasn't sure what this folder was for after unzipping it. The included PDF Ascendancy manual inside this download looks different than the one in the separate downloadable link.
MetalKid 2016-12-22 1 point
I probably played this game for hundreds of hours when I was a kid. I still have the original CD. :)
Bowman 2011-12-31 -1 point DOS version
Winrar is unable to extract the files from the .zip for some reason.
"Unexepected end of archive. The files may be corrupted--"
Anyone have the same problem/know a way to fix? (assuming the files truthfully are not corrupted)
-Had the same problem with Castles II : Siege and Conquest
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Various files to help you run Ascendancy, apply patches, fixes, maps or miscellaneous utilities.
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