Many retro games appeal to many of the middle aged masses because they recapture a feeling of youth in the player. Often these games cannot compete with our modern equivalents, and only appeal specifically to the individual because of their power of nostalgia. Unfortunately I missed I-War the first time round, a PC capable of playing was not in my itinerary but despite this, the strengths this game has over me has demanded that I play consistently and often.
The first few missions are tutorials and are absolutely necessary to understand the mechanics of the craft(dreadnaught) you'll command. Much like a traditional ship, the vessel has several seats upon the bridge: Command, tactical, navigation and engineering are all present and each position has it's own set of commands, although all commands can be accessed from any seat.
The game play is understated at first, demanding little in the way of tactical resolve, but later missions become increasingly difficult, requiring lateral thinking, spacial awareness and a quick trigger. The ship can be manoeuvred in any direction, and can rotate to engage multiple targets, systems can become damaged during combat forcing a compromise and many missions utilise the games physics model for success. This dynamic is what makes the vessel so rewarding to command, and the radio chatter never ceases enhancing the atmosphere further.
Graphically the game is exceptional(for its time), the mechanics; more accomplished than New Edens' with both inertia and gravity present. Critically I-war was praised and it was enough a success to warrant an update and a sequel; I-War 2 Edge of Chaos, which again was well received. The development team; Particle Systems was later acquired by Argonaut which went into administration in 2004.
A game of notable complexity, difficulty and a raft of original ideas, the game is as timeless as the void itself.