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Escape Velocity is a 2D space combat and trading game. You begin with nothing but your shuttlecraft and your wits, determined to make a name for yourself in the galaxy. There is no set path to success. You can carry cargo, hire yourself out as a mercenary, join either the Confederation or the Rebels or become a space pirate. Along the way, you'll be able to buy a better ship and upgrade various weapons and defenses.
The bulk of the game is played from within your ship. Control is designed to be simple with a keyboard-based setup that uses the arrow keys for movement. Combat is fast and can involve dozens of ships. You can hire (or capture) escorts which can make the more intense fights a little simpler.
All trading and outfitting is done on planets. Landing on one allows you access to the shipyards, outfitters, cargo suppliers and bars (where missions are issued). Planet-side, all of the action takes place in various dialog boxes, allowing you time to consider your purchases.
Since star systems can have up to four planets and there are dozens of systems in the galaxy, there are a large number of trading and exploration possibilities. Planning your route and knowing when to fight or run will help you survive and prosper. Escape Velocity is developed and published as a shareware title by Ambrosia Software, Inc. and features elements of several genres including shooter, simulation, adventure and action. ~ Patrick Ziselberger, All Game Guide