DOS - 1987
Also released on: Mac - Atari ST
Description of S.D.I.
Arguably one of the worst Cinemaware games ever, S.D.I. gets bogged down with control scheme that is so bad that the typical Cinemaware hallmark of cinematic feel can't rescue the game from being removed from your hard drive.
Let's start with the few good points in the game. The plot is a cliché mix of soap opera and cold-war tension, but is halfway decent. From the game's box: "Two star-crossed lovers hold the key to the survival of the human race. HE is a young general assigned to America's ultimate military space project, the Strategic Defense Initiative; SHE is a beautiful Russian commander hopelessly caught in the crossfire when ruthless KGB fanatics stage a coup d'etat in the Soviet Union. Can the young American save her? Can they, together, save the human race?" Uh-huh. Well, it's not Dr. Strangelove, but it's not bad.
Any positive first impression you have with S.D.I., however, will fade fast as you get into the game proper. There are three main phases: defending the U.S. against KGB missile attack, repair SDI satellites and dock with US and Space Stations in the same craft, and finally save your Russian lover from a KGB torture squad.
The rescue operation is the most fun-- combining the best elements in shooters with Cinemaware's famous cinematic techniques. Unfortunately, you have to first endure the first two parts, which are very frustrating to play due to the awful red-green graphics in the IBM version. The 3D flight sim part is nearly unplayable due to poor and grainy graphics, not to mention impossible odds with enemy ships that appear constantly.
My suggestion: play the Amiga version of this game instead, or Cinemaware's later classics. A good idea botched by technical limitations, so it seems.
Review By HOTUD
Comments and reviews
MERKLEY 2015-07-17 1 point DOS version
...hashy dithered CGA graphics are a reason to download for me X3
...the limitations of that graphic adapter / mode are such a challenge: two bad three colour palettes, the fact that you lose black if you want to add a fourth colour and all of this on only one 300*200 screen page
OM 2013-02-05 0 point DOS version
...This review is spot-on. When it hit the early pirate networks, it was usually listed in the download directories as "Sucks Dick, Idiots!". Still, if you're a masochist, it's a good download to play with while the scars on your backside have a chance to heal from the previous night's self-flagellation :P
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