Ares (video game)
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|Release date(s)||1996, 1999|
|Mode(s)||single player, multi player|
Ares is a video game created by Nathan Lamont of Bigger Planet Software, and released in 1996, without much success due to poor marketing on the part of the game's original publisher, Changeling Software, which did not award Nathan Lamont any profit from the sales of the game. Changeling became defunct in 1998.
The game was later released as shareware by Ambrosia Software. Here, it reached its peak in the late 1990s, thanks to Ambrosia's marketing efforts. The key feature of the game was its ability to zoom in and out smoothly; this allowed the player to switch between a close-up view, which emphasized space combat skills, and a strategic view of the entire map.
The player is cast as the commander of the U.N.S. Apollo, humankind's first interstellar vessel, dispatched at light speed to investigate the source of a signal broadcast at Earth from one hundred and fifty light years away. On reaching the source, the crew is told that, due to relativistic effects, Earth has by now been taken over by the religious Cantharan Order, and the signal was a ruse from the friendly Ishiman, who wished to maintain humanity as a free race; the Ishiman planned to find a new world for the crew of the Apollo. Although the advanced but peaceful Ishiman are unwilling to enter into direct war with the Cantharans, the Apollo's crew is able to persuade them to supply a limited amount of their technology in an attempt to free Earth. Upon undertaking their new mission, the ship is renamed the Ares.
Ares offered combat situations and strategic planning combined by allowing the player to directly control a single spaceship, at the same time as building and commanding others. Ares was never released for Windows.
Ares consisted of a saga between 6 main alien species, with humans being one of the less advanced races in the universe: the Audemedons, the Salrilians, the Ishimans, the Cantharan, the Gaitori and the Humans. There were however, numerous smaller species which come up throughout the solo play levels, such as the Obish, the Elejeetians, and the Bazidanese. These species were however not available for online play.
The single player game consisted of a story plot and 21 levels. When released as a shareware game, Ares came with limited functionality and was limited to the first six levels, giving the user a taste of the story, and incentive to register the game. Ares multiplayer mode set the Ares masters apart as the skill needed for winning against human opponents was higher, as the computer AI was not very strong in the solo levels. Nonetheless, once the solo levels were completed, multiplay was where most users went.
In multiplayer 5 different game modes were available. Each game had with it a set of absolute strategies to use which usually worked–yet finding these strategies took time and adaptation. There was room for creativity, supreme piloting, or supreme strategy as well.
Ares left its imprint on the Macintosh Gaming League with its own page, organized by Ares supporters. Clans were also found around Ares briefly. One of the oldest and highest ranking clan was called "TAG".
This game had a short, but sweet life with a revision of the game released roughly 3 years after its conception. The revision added a level editor named Hera, which allowed Ares levels to be edited and plugins to be made, similar to the plugins available for Ambrosia software's hit game Escape Velocity.
Current status and Modern Ports
As of 2008, the game is only compatible with Classic Mac OS system software, or run in the Classic environment in OS X. It cannot be run on Intel-based Macs, as these do not support the Classic Environment.
The source code for Ares has been released, and there are two projects focusing on updating Ares to run on OS X and porting it to Windows. These projects are called Antares, and Xsera Both projects have beta/alpha releases of their work available online.
- "If I already bought the Changeling version, do I get this version for free?". Ambrosiasw.com. Ambrosia Software, Inc. 2005-09-15. Retrieved 2013-10-16.