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Sierra Online's Outpost 2 - Divided Destiny

Colonization, with a twist

By Steven Bilodeau & Jim Bray

Sierra’s Outpost 2 puts you in command of a colony on New Terra. The colonists have split into two factions and you are the leader of yours. Besides managing the resources necessary for your colony’s survival, you must also guard against attacks from your fellow colonists in the other settlement.

Outpost 2 has more focus on the management skills than the combat. Bases are not necessarily just built with a click; instead, you may have to train your people in order to have the necessary skills to complete the task at hand. There’s less action and more planning involved here. The graphics are small and similar to each other which will also increase the amount of concentration required.

Just as some people prefer chess to Risk, some may prefer the micro-management of Outpost 2 to a more action-oriented title.

The game is also quite different from the original Outpost, which saw you burrowing madly underground to build major portions of your Outpost. This version takes place on the surface of your planet - though it does share one feature with its predecessor: it unfolds at a pace that can most kindly be described as leisurely.

There are other similarities, too. You still have to send out your robominers to bring ore back into your colony - though this time you also have to set up routes for the vehicles to haul all the stuff back to your base, kind of like you do with your gold miners in WarCraft II. And later on you can start mining for "rare" ores.

In fact the game is quite similar in concept to the "Warcraft II" strategy games, more so than the "simulation" type of game that characterized the first edition.

Sierra says Outpost 2 plays in real time, which may explain its pace (it takes some four years to get through university, after all!), and you have to learn how to balance the management of your colony, controlling your construction and growth so that it doesn't leave you lacking in research or materials. There are 24 different missions to try.

Naturally you'll be tried by natural disasters - and you may run into some combative other humans if you're not careful. Up to 6 players can take part in Outpost 2, playing competitively or cooperatively (guess which we chose!) over the network or the Internet.

The screen is set up in a quite straightforward manner. The main window shows you a bird's eye view of your colony (or wherever else on the planet's surface you want to see) and you can scroll around it by moving the cursor toward the edge of the screen in the direction you want to go. The top right secondary window shows you the whole gaming surface, while the lower right window gives you information that varies depending upon what building, vehicle, or report you've asked for. Between the two secondary windows are a row of buttons that access the reports, including factories, labs, resources (human and otherwise), communications, and the game options.

One thing we found quite cool was the way day and night are represented, which made the game quite realistic.

As your colony builds you make scientific discoveries that help you along, including ones that allow you to build different types of buildings (like a vehicle factory or hospital) or different types of vehicles.

There's a lot more to this game than the first version and you may want to start with the manual because there's so much to learn and if you don't learn it you'll be toast - and so will all your loyal colonists. But if you're interested in a good sim with which to while away some spare time, you might want to check out Outpost 2.

Steven Bilodeau is a columnist for the Edmonton Journal. You can find more of his columns at

Steven Bilodeau can be reached via e-mail at And for more computer news, visit JournalExtra, the World Wide Web site of The Edmonton Journal, at


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January 31, 2006