This is The Battle of Hoag’s Object (or BOHO, affectionately), a sci-fi/space opera interactive fiction set within the galaxy of Hoag’s Object.
You play as Lieutenant Specter (Specter being a code-name, you may decide your real name), an agent of the Rebel Alliance, tasked with various missions to weaken and eventually overthrow the United Galactic Empire.
At some point in the relatively near future, humanity’s greed and recklessness would reach the point of no-return, rendering planet Earth nearly uninhabitable. Determined to avoid the extinction of mankind, Earth’s Governments pooled together resources to build fleets of massive city-ships, with the goal of locating a new home.
Two such fleets would set out towards Andromeda, but come across a massive artificial structure not long into their journey. Appearing to be an advanced gateway of strange design, the Admiral of one of the fleets decides to take the risk and travel through, despite cautionary warnings from the other. Near instantaneously, all 15 ships were transported from the Milky Way to Hoag’s Object.
Over the next thousand years, Humanity established a galaxy-spanning empire, dominating even the native sentient species. Through studying the corresponding (and now inactive) advanced gateway within Hoag’s Object, faster-than-light travel was developed among other innovations.
For mysterious reasons, the empire’s government turned tyrannical and largely abandoned the outer-rim, leaving trillions of citizens at the mercy of pirates or profit-driven super-corporations.
In response to this, a rebellion is born, determined to uncover the truth of the empire’s negligence and overthrow the corrupt high-council.
The Prologue (non-spoiler summary)
The game begins in the middle of a high-stakes mission: a raid on the Naval Intelligence Offices.
While a group of fighter-ships maintain a distraction on the opposite side of the planet, a small insertion team co-lead by Roy Philips and yourself infiltrate the office building. You split off from the group to hack into the computer of Admiral Cerian, leader of the Imperial Navy.
Upon completion of the prologue you assume command of a ship and crew, and are given the freedom to travel the galaxy. Literally, you may travel to different planets and star-systems at your own desire: the galaxy is open to you (mostly).
In your travels you will discover new companions, important people, diverse places, lore and history of the galaxy and its inhabitants, and maybe even love (but not right now cause I haven’t started on romance yet).
You will have access to a range of armors, weapons, and auxiliary equipment. The clothes make the person: your equipment determines your stats; no training required, and no getting locked into one or two roles for the entire playthrough.
Similarly, your ship has its own variety of equipment to choose from, to the same effect more or less.
There are three forms of narrative-centered combat:
Ship combat; pit the power of your ship against others in dangerous yet exciting space-battles and dog-fights.
Solo combat: face your foes alone, relying solely on your own equipment and determination.
Squad combat: bring two companions to assist you in your adventure, tactically considering each other’s skills to navigate dangerous scenarios.
A built-in checkpoint system in case a mission goes critical and you don’t want to start over. (Only applies to dying, failing a mission can be just as interesting as succeeding!)
Companion commentary: different companions have different things to say about where you are, what you do, and even interact with each other! But just remember, you can only bring two at a time!
Random events! (Currently only on-board the ship) The galaxy is a live place, you don’t always have control over what happens but you can at least decide how to respond to it!
“Reader” difficulty setting: Not a fan of managing a bunch of different stats? I got your back! “Reader” difficulty (as opposed to Gamer) makes the stat-heaviness obsolete, and enables you to play the entire game without changing your equipment once! You still have to be conscious of the stats your equipment does provide, but this takes a lot of work out of the game.
The PDA: your stats menu is your [hitchhiker’s] guide to the galaxy! It contains everything from the information you collect during your travels, a log of the people you meet, a log to track the progress of all your missions (it’s possible to have multiple active at once) and much more! (Is this an infomercial?).
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