Download Reach for the Stars: The Conquest of the Galaxy - Third Edition

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Reach for the Stars: The Conquest of the Galaxy - Third Edition

DOS - 1988

Also available on: Amiga - Apple IIgs

Year 1988
Platform DOS
Released in United States
Genre Strategy
Theme 4X, Managerial, Sci-Fi / Futuristic, Turn-based, War
Publisher Strategic Studies Group Pty Ltd.
Developer Strategic Studies Group Pty Ltd.
Perspectives Top-Down, Text-based / Spreadsheet
4 / 5 - 4 votes

Description of Reach for the Stars: The Conquest of the Galaxy - Third Edition

The first time I read about Reach for the Stars was in a computer magazine at the local library, after reading about 10 lines of the review one thought flashed in my brain, "I must have this game!" I never found it, so my expectations was huge, also due to the fact that it is regarded as one of the first and best 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) games.

Even though the interface is well designed and the graphics is ahead of its time, a look in the manual is recommended as one mistake could seriously cripple your ambition to rule the galaxy. The game universe is quite large, and in every star system there can be several planets, so in the late game you'll have to command vast space fleets while keeping your rapidly growing population from consuming all production.

You can choose to play the game on the basic level (default) or advanced level that adds complexity, expanding your options for research (which is quite limited), random events, and more. The AI is excellent, in my first game I was utterly crushed on the beginner level in turn 20.

Reach for the Stars is one of the games the stand the test of time very well. It has it all: gameplay, excellent balance, tough AI, great replayability, addiction and fun-- qualities sadly lacking from many of today's games. After having played the original I can only say that I will be looking for the remake that SSI is about to release within a very short time, and this time I will get it :)

Review By HOTUD

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Comments and reviews

Spaceresearcher 2022-07-23 5 points DOS version

While I've yet to find an AMIGA version of this game that will run on the new AMIGA-MINI retro console, I was one of the people who purchased this game outright by saving up my coins(seriously, I went in with a jar of saved up coins and paid for the game in full with a very understanding shop owner at the local TANDY Electronics shop(yes it did exist once upon a time) in Australia.) I grabbed the game on 3.5" floppy disc for DOS based computers in 1990 and it was utterly amazing and still is to this day. Dare I say it, a rock solid programmed game that featured zero bugs and ran outside of the box with more options than I would ever use. (Fast forward to 2022 and it amazingly still is.)

Now what makes this game so sensational, is that you essentially have a 4X board game without the hassles of dice and parts going everywhere but with the added benefit of rules customization and a lot of options. It provides so much strategic fun and hence why the designers designated there company SSG(Strategic Studies Group) and went on to produce some of the most amazing military strategy games the market had ever seen and possibly ever will(COME BACK SSG!!!!) Perhaps it's only real flaw if you could call it that is the limitation of 4 players. Fans of the board game 'Twilight Imperium' for example should see the awesome value of this game but will have preferred it have 8 player or more capability. So you can play against 3 other computer opponents on 3 difficulty levels (Beginner, Veteran or Experienced.) Or you can play with 3 other humans (sharing the one computer) or any combination of these 3 opponents.

Without a doubt it's core elements are based upon the game 'Stellar Conquest.'(of which I'm hunting the 2 editions down as I'm sure it will be a great basic introduction to Reach For The Stars. However, with all the great 4X games out there(an abbreviation of the 4 Elements: Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate.) if you have any interest in any of them, your going to love this great game. There is a new edition with flashier graphics of which I'm keen to play shortly as well but this was the version I once owned and regretted selling, so while there's nostalgia, I also already know it's a bug free ready to rock awesome game.

Well here it is in all it's glory for free no less and what's great is that any system that can run DOS Box can play this game with absolutely no strain on your system at all.

Now a couple of important points I wanted to add are as follows lest the game be ignored or passed off as not working etc.

1.Forget about mouse with this game, the only downloadable manual seems to be for possibly the apple version of the game, not the PC version. If anyone does get the mouse running for the DOS version, please be sure to let me know. To the best of my knowledge it does not work.
2. For the DOS version, there was a series of keyboard shortcuts which if I'm not mistaken did come on the original box or flip side of the galactic map but you will not find these anywhere, so here are the essential ones so you can play the game and not be as frustrated as I was figuring out where all the keyboard shortcuts were(bare in mind if you have a notebook, you may need to hold down your 'Fn' key as function keys double as notebook device control options on most portable computers.)

THE MOST IMPORTANT key of all not mentioned in the available manual. 'Delete', this key will close the current window allowing you to access the other windows. Without doing this you will not be able to do anything but select around in the current window, the game is unplayable without this one.
All of your function keys from F1 through to about F6 will be used for selecting either the menu you want to access or the final options at the bottom of the currently selected screen. (Remember that if you want to get out of a screen to access other Menu's at the bottom of the screen for example, you will need to hit the 'Delete' key once or twice to close a currently selected window/s until you are back to the galactic map.
Once you are in a menu, you can use the arrow keys to select a field and enter to change it or number keys(only the numbers above your letters, numerical keypad seems to be unrecognized in the game.) to enter data, hitting enter to put the data entry in.
'ESC' will allow you to select between the data entry section of a window or the options, however normally the function keys will still operate as long as that particular window is selected so think of the main galactic map as the main window.
On the main galactic map, F1=File, F2=Status, F3=AutoExp, F4=AutoTurn and F5=EndTurn. On other windows they will correspond from left to right with the options available for that particular window.

So armed with those essential key controls and the readily available PDF manual for this game, anyone should be able to play through the tutorial turns clearly explained in the manual and be on there way to having a lot of fun an enjoyment with this great computer game. This game reminds me of the old days where I preferred a great game and utterly crap graphics if that's how it had to be as opposed to the total opposite of todays games. (All wiz bang graphics and flashy lights but almost no game at all.)

This game will be great for practicing for other 4X games and gives a lot of great options. Master this 4X game and all others should just fall in line for you rather easily. Just remember when the manual talks about clicking, it will mean selecting with the function keys or hitting delete to get out of a screen so you can select the indicated menu with function keys and arrow keys for us DOS gamers.

Enjoy and may your galactic empire be prosperous fellow Space Gamers,
Sean A. Curtin

I rate this game right up there with Elite and Archon and if you haven't played either of those games you are seriously missing out. It's like never having played Pac Man, Dig Dug, Q Bert or Space Invaders for example.

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