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Article #36 (74 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: M.U.L.E. / game / commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Date: Tue Apr 21 19:38:57 1992


Reprinted from the A.C.E.C. BBS (614)-471-8559


NOTICE: This article originally appeared in the December, 1989 issue of Atari
Interface Magazine and may be freely distributed or reprinted in non-profit
User Group publications as long as the article's author and Atari Interface
Magazine are credited AND this notice is reprinted with the article.  All
other publications must obtain written permission from Unicorn Publications,
3487 Braeburn Circle, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, Phone: (313) 973-8825 before using
this article.


M.U.L.E. A Look at an 8bit Classic
by David Brzezinski

Imagine the joys of colonizing a new world.  Then imagine the problems of
producing food, energy and materials and competing with other pioneers for
prime land and scarce supplies.  This is the basic concept of the game
M.U.L.E. presented by Electronic Arts.  This isn't a new game (it is
copyrighted 1983), but I've found it to be one of my all-time favorites.

So what does M.U.L.E. offer?  You are colonizing the planet Irata with three
other characters.  If you play alone, the computer plays the other three.  If
you use two joysticks, you and a friend can play against two computer
characters.  With a joystick and a set of paddles, three people can play.
This is the best I can do with my 130XE.  A friend who originally showed me
this software has an Atari 800 with four joystick ports.  With that, people
can play all four characters, eliminating the computer from play, which
prevents the all too common disappointment of having the computer win.

Play goes from six (beginner) to twelve (tournament) rounds.  A lot happens
in
a round, so be sure to leave enough time to play it through.  A land grant
beginning each round allows players to choose a plot of land from a
rectangular area to be developed.  M.U.L.E.s (Multiple Use Labor Elements)
are
bought at the store and outfitted to perform specific tasks such as farming,
mining and energy production and placed on a piece of land.  Since the colony
must be self sufficient, food and energy become important as the store runs
out.  Smithore, produced by mining, is used to make more M.U.L.E.s.

Once every round, the players go to market with whatever they have produced.
In this market, players are allowed to buy and sell to each other at any
acceptable price, or sell to the store at a fixed price.  If the store does
not have a particular product, players are forced to purchase from their
fellow players at whatever price is asked.  This market portion, cleverly
done
with graphics, takes up most of the time in the game, but offers the real
opportunities for strategy.  It is possible to corner the market in certain
essential products and drive the price up to ridiculous levels before you
sell.

If you really get stuck or pull too far ahead of the pack, there is a whole
range of good and bad things that occur to level things out again -- from
pirates to packages from home.  There are natural disasters to shake things
up
too.  And, to pick up a few extra bucks, you can always go Wampus hunting, if
you can spare the time allowed during your round.

The point of the game is to become "First Founder," the wealthiest member of
a
successful colony.  Surprisingly, the computer does very well, although I can
usually beat it.  My son, 10 years old, likes the game nearly as much as I do
and doesn't seem to have any problems with the market aspects of the game.
The graphics and sounds are amusing and entertaining and the joystick
manipulations are not overly trying.  Don't try to play on a monochrome
monitor, since just about everything is color coded.

All in all, I recommend this game to any 8-bit owner, especially you Atari
800
owners that can play all four characters.  I really like the idea that the
whole family can participate at once.  I would hope that someone is working
on
Return of M.U.L.E. or something similar.  I imagine it could even be a
best-seller on the ST, if Electronic Arts would make an ST version.  Anyone
at
EA listening?


-- 
 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
     BITNET: currentm%carleton.edu@{interbit} / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700





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