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September 06, 2001 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-06

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12A - The Michigan Daily -- Thursday, September 6, 2001

ARTS

'Startopia' combines
sci-fi, action, strategy

Hitchens questions the iconic
Kissinger, his actions, motives

By Jim Schiff
Daily Fine Arts Editor
"Startopia" is one of those rare
games that successfully combines
multiple genres into one phenomenal
package. It's a little bit sci-fi, a little

Grade: A-
Startopia
For PC
their hands with
game.

bit action, and a
lot of strategy.
Eidos Interac-
tive, creators of
"Final Fantasy
VII" and "Tomb
Raider," has
another hit on
this engrossing

In "Startopia," the player is put in
control of a tri-level portion of a
space station. You can either play in a
campaign mode, in which each suc-
cessive mission requires you to com-
plete a more difficult task, or against
computer or human players over the
internet. The latter mode, called
"sandbox," requires you to beat out
your opponents for control of the
entire station. The campaigns gener-
ally allow you to build skills as you
progress, and are narrated by a self-
indulgent, haughty Englishman who
sounds like actor Michael Caine with
a pole up his rear.
Station domination is a complex
goal, and it requires the player to
micromanage all aspects of the game
at once. You have to build basic strue-

tures that provide lodging, sanitation,
food, and entertainment for your vari-
ous worker aliens. There are nine dif-
ferent races of aliens, and each works
on a different facet of your station.
The Kasvagorians, for example, are
the first to fight off enemy players
when under attack, and the Groulien
Salt Hogs work in your factories to
produce exchangeable goods. Each
race also has distinct personalities
that either add or detract from their
productivity, depending on how
skilled you are at controlling them.
While most of "Startopia's" struc-
tures benefit the player economically,
others are designed purely for enter-
tainment. Where the game really
shines is in the designs of these edi-
fices, which are both impressive
graphically and refreshingly original.
On the "entertainment deck," you can
build love nests, general stores, dis-
cos, hotels, bars, and giant tele-
scopes. The Dahenese Sirens, for
example, ensure that your residents
receive plenty of love, and the
Polvakian Gem Slugs will provide
energy for your station if they are
kept happy.
On the "biodeck," you can support
dozens of different environments on
the same land mass. Each environ-
ment supports a different type of
plant, which in turn produces a crate
of cargo. Your aliens also come up to
the biodeck to swim around in water

Courtesy of Eidos interactive
Aliens race through the graphically
pleasing 'Stankonia.'
and to seek religious guidance from
the Zedem Monks, another one of the
alien races. Each of the three levels is
crucial in making sure the station
runs smoothly and your residents stay
happy.
In addition to its excellent graphics
and sound, "Startopia" is simply a lot
of fun. Each alien comes with a dis,
tinct personality and history, includ-
ing a "criminal record," and it's
enjoyable to watch them dance or
grow plants on the biodeck. "Star-
topia" doesn't have the wicked sense
of humor of games like "Dungeon
Keeper 2," but it has enough life to
keep you entertained hours.
Drawbacks? "Startopia" only has a
few. The game only comes with a
brief manual, so you'll have to feel
your way around the station before
you get the hang of it. "Startopia"
also isn't particularly difficult-the
computer opponents don't attack you
until late in the game when you've
researched most of the technology.
But in spite of a few letdowns, "Star-
topia" is still as heavenly as its name.

I

The Trial of
Henry
Kissinger
Christopher Hitchens
Grade: A-
Verso Books

By Amer G. Zahr
Daily Arts Writer
Christopher Hitchens dedicates his recent book to "the
brave victims of Henry Kissinger, whose example will
easily outlive him." It is a quite a strong statement, befit-

ting the engaging writing that fol-
lows.
"The Trial of Henry Kissinger"
(Verso Books, 2001) outlines the ins
and outs of the former Secretary of
State's involvement in massacres,
coups and assassination attempts in
Indochina, East Timor, Chile,
Bangladesh and Washington. In an
interview for the BBC, Hitchens
called his book "the case for the
prosecution in a war crimes trial
against Kissinger." As conscientious
readers, we are of course fully within
our rights to demand that Hitchens
not only make his accusation, but

also sustain them with clear evidence. Hitchens does this
beautifully, by unearthing and referencing government
documents and memos that have either never before been
seen or very rarely been cited.
Hitchens opens his catalogue of charges not with Cam-
bodia or East Timor, but rather with a story very few of
us have been privy to. He outlines Kissinger's role during
the Paris peace talks on Vietnam in 1968. Kissinger was,
at the time, not only serving as a non-official advisor to
President Johnson's camp, but was also conveying infor-
mation to the Nixon campaign on what terms were to be
on the table during the talks. The Nixon campaign used
this information, according to Hitchens, to create a back
channel with the Vietnamese in order to assure them that

they would get a better deal from an incoming Republi-
can administration than they would from the president's.
Of course, not only was it illegal on behalf of the Nixon
campaign to intervene in state talks, but-the "better deal"
promised by Nixon came some four years after 1968, and
contained almost identical terms to those put on the table
by the Johnson administration. During that interval,
20,000 Americans and innumerable amounts of Viet-
namese lost their lives. The chief beneficiary of this
action was Kissinger. For his troubles as a double agent,
Hitchens tells us, Kissinger was made a national security
advisor and subsequently Secretary of State.
Hitchens writes of Cambodia, where Kissinger con-
vinced his boss to widen the conflict with vast bombing
in Cambodia and Laos. Evidence points to the fact that
no one advocated that the U.S. go to war with these coun-
tries. Nevertheless, conservative estimates are that U.S.
forces killed 350,000 civilians in Laos and 600,000 in
Cambodia. We also read Hitchens' accounts of-what took
place in Bangladesh, where General Yahya Khan, using
U.S.-supplied weapons, toppled the newly democratical-
ly-elected government, murdering at least 500,000 civil-
ians along the way. The National Security Council urged
condemnation, while Kissinger staunchly refused. In the
course of the killings, Kissinger corresponded with Khan
and thanked him for his "delicacy and tact."
In Chile, Hitchens informs us that the Secretary of
State helped orchestrate the overthrow of democratically
elected Salvador Allende in 1973, along with the assassi-
nation of General Rene Schneider. As a result, Augusto
Pinochet rose to power as moderates fled their homeland.
Hit squads financed by the CIA tracked down Allende
supporters and murdered them, including the car bomb-
ing in Washington, DC of Allende's Foreign Minister,
Orlando Letelier, as well as an aide named Ronni Moffitt.
East Timor also makes Hitchen's book, as we are told
of President Ford and Secretary
Kissinger's meeting with Suharto in
1975, in which President Ford told
reporters that the U.S. would not rec-
ognize the newly freed nation of East
Timor. Before Air Force One had
landed back in America, Suharto
marched into the tiny country, killing
some 200,000 civilians.
Finally, we hear of Kissinger's pos-
sible involvement in assassination
attempts against an influential Greek
dissident journalist, with National
Security Council documents to back
r; up the claim.
Hitchen's accusations are serious,
and they call for us to reassess our
own standards, or lack thereof. One of
the author's underlying goals is to
force us here in America to consider
whether we are living by any double
standards, calling for the Pinochets
and Milosevics of the world to be
brought in front of war crimes tri-
bunals, all the while turning a blind
eye to a possible war criminal in our
own midst.

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