Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

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BuckRogers title.png

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer:
Licensor: TSR, The Dille Family Trust
Genre: RPG

















Number of players: 1
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
US
$69.9569.95[1] 709601
Sega Mega Drive
EU
E196SMXI
Sega Mega Drive
PT
Sega Mega Drive
UK
£49.9949.99[3][2] E196SMXI
Sega Mega Drive
AU
Sega Mega Drive
BR

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday is a Sega Mega Drive RPG based on the Buck Rogers pen and paper RPG game which itself is based on same named TV series. The game is a port of the PC and Amiga game of the same name, with some elements removed and/or combined to make the game easier to play on a console.

It is one of the few games in the Sega game library to come with a strategy guide along with the manual.

Story

Taking place in the 25th Century, players are members of a secret military organization called NEO, the New Earth Organization, dedicated to fight against oppressive regime of RAM (Russo-American Mercantile) a ruthless mega-corporation that is ruling the Solar System with an iron fist.

Players are recruited into the NEO but during their graduation day, their base on the Moon is attacked by RAM and their genetically engineered Genie troops. After surviving the attack, players officially become members of the NEO and tasked with going around the Solar System and investigate rumors of a RAM superweapon called the "Doomsday".

Gameplay

The game is a RPG. In order to start the game, players must create a squad of six characters with different stats and skills.

Space Travel

In these sections, players can fly around the Solar System and travel to different locations. All planets and other large space objects travel in a clockwise motion. Players can be attacked by RAM space ships during this section.

Space Combat

Ship to ship combat occurs during space travel. Before combat, players can engage the enemy, evade or try to bluff the enemy ship. If bluffing is successful, combat will be avoided.

Space combat is turn based. Every member of the crew can use different commands during combat. These action include; firing selected weapon, reloading, applying medical assistance (Medic only). Pilot of the ship (Rocket Jock with highest piloting skill) can use these commands: closing the distance, running away, ramming the enemy ship or boarding. Rocket Jocks can also use "Jury Rig" command for quick repairs.

During combat, players (and enemy) can target different parts of the ship for different effects. For example destroying the engines will prevent the ship from moving, destroying weapons will prevent the ship from firing etc. Since the characters with the highest THACO will have best chance of hitting the enemy, it is recommended to use these characters for firing while allowing other characters to reload or render air or repairs when possible.

When boarding is successful players will engage the enemy in regular combat. Defeating the crew will end the combat will allow players to acquire spoils of battle.

Planetary Travel

In these sections, players will travel around the surface of the planet they are in with a vehicle, exploring the surface and visiting locations. When random enemy encounters occur, ground combat sections begin.

In-Door Exploration

These sections take place inside the buildings or towns. Random events and enemy encounters may occur.

Ground Combat

Ground combat events are also turn based. Players can target and engage an enemy, reload, move around the battlefield, hold their turn temporarily or render first aid. Selecting "Quick" option will allow selected character to engage and act autonomously for a while.

Character Creation

Races

  • Human: +1 to Con and TCH, no weaknesses, all classes avaiable
  • Desert Runner: +2 to STR and DEX, +1 to CON, -1 to CHA, Rocket Jock and Warrior
  • Tinker: +3 to DEX and TCH, -2 to STR and CON, Medic only

Classes

  • Rocket Jock: 25th century term for "pilots". Rocket Jocks act as engineers and pilots. In space combat, crewman with the highest pilot skill will be a pilot. Rocket Jocks can also use Jury Rig command for on-site repairs during space combat. At least one (two is better) Rocket Jock in your squad is recommended. Special Skill: Pilot Rocket/Jury Rig
  • Warrior: Dedicated ground combat personnel, Warriors have many bonuses that can turn the tide during battle. Warriors have gain more health when levelling up and can hit twice with close combat weapons. Warriors also gain a weapon skill for every second level (2nd, 4th, 6th etc.) to a selected weapon. (Maximum 3 for each weapon type) At least two is recommended. Special Skill: Battle Tactics/Leadership
  • Rogue: Rogues are experts of stealth, intrusion and deception. They are the best candidates for bypassing security systems and fast-talking enemies. One (and only one) Rogue is recommended. Special Skill: Bypass Security
  • Medic: Medics provide much needed medical assistance to team during and after combat. One Medic is recommended. Special Skill: Treat Wounds

Ability Scores

In Buck Rogers, ability scores are createde by a "rolling" system, meaning a dice roll determines a character's stats. Players can "reroll" if they don't get desired scores.

  • Strength (STR): Affects melee damage and movement range during ground combat. Should be high for all of your crew if possible. Especially for Warriors.
  • Dexterity (DEX): Affects armor class, evading or reducing damage. Important for all.
  • Constitution (CON): Affects Health Points. Must be over average for survival in combat.
  • Charisma (CHA): Dump stat. Only seems to affect fast-talk skill. (NEEDS TESTING: Leadership?)
  • Tech (TCH): Affects success rate of all skills, especially technology related ones such as Jury Rig or First Aid. Must be high for all members if possible.

Skills

Characters can gain new skill points when levelling up.


Battle Tactics/Leadership: Successful check at the beginning of the battle gives bonuses to all friendly characters. You can also take command of allied units in the vicinity for the duration of the battle. Very important, max out with at least one character. Warrior only.


Bypass Security: Disable alarm systems. Make sure your Rogue is skilled with it. Rogue Only.


Pilot Rocket/Jury Rig: At least one pilot with this skill is necessary for space combat. Jury Rig allows quick repair on damaged equipment during space combat. Very essential, make sure all of your pilots are proficient with it. Rocket Jockey only.


Treat Wounds: Recover health at the end of the combat and revive fallen characters back with little health. Very important. Medic Only.


Climb: Allows characters to climb ladders or other hard to scale obstacles. At least one character should be proficient.


Demolitions: Setting, detonating or defusing explosives. At least one character should be skilled in this as it can be a life saver.


Fast Talk: Persuading or deceiving people. Character with the highest charisma, (possibly Rogue) should take this and max out if possible. Essential.


First Aid: Allows stabilising (from dying to unconscious) fallen characters. All characters should take this skill. (NEEDS TESTING: Recover health at the end of the combat?)


Library Search: You can search for information in the Libraries of the space stations. Sometimes you can discover new information which will give the user some experience points and even a few side quests. Not essential, spend points if you have spare. One person with some points should be enough.


Perception: Ability to see things otherwise hidden. Helps avoiding traps and enemy patrols, and detecting hidden items. One person should take this and develop if possible.


Programming: Ability to use computers or other high tech equipment. One person with the highest TCH stat should take this and be proficient with it.


Repair Rocket: Repair Rocket Ship after combat. Not too essential (you can always return to Salvation III for repairs) but it would be nice to have at least one person with some proficiency.


Stealth: Allows avoiding enemy patrols or getting first attack during combat. With high enough skill, attacking enemies with a melee weapon will get a backstab bonus. Nice but not essential compared to the other skills.


Zero-Gravity Maneuvering: Used during ground combat in zero gravity enviroments, such as inside space ships or space stations. Characters who fail the skill check will receive severe penalties during combat. Very essential. All members should be proficient with this skill.

Derived Stats

These stats cannot be modified by player and can be affected by Ability scores, skills and equipment.


Initative: How soon the player will be able to act in combat. Initative is affected by DEX score, or special situations such as ambushes. It is very essential as low initative means the character will act much later compared to the other characters, including the enemies.


Armor Class (AC): Armor class is affected by DEX and armor the character is wearing. Lower, the better.


THAC0: "To Hit Armor Class Zero". Character's accuracy. Higher, the better. Can be modified by weapon, terrain, range and other effects such as zero gravity or weapon skills.


Weapons and Equipment

Quality of the equipment is designated by its color and title. While common (Blue) equipment can be found anywhere, some rare and powerful weapons and armor can be purchased from shops or acquired from enemies. These items have much better stats, such as damage, number of attacks and accuracy compared to the regular weapons.

From worst to best: Regular (Blue) --> Martian (Red) --> Venusian (Green) --> Mercurian (Yellow) --> Lunarian (Gray)

Statistics below denote default stats of the equipment. Overall stats will change depending on the character's ability scores and skills.

All melee weapons have 2 attacks, affected by STR stat x2 and range of 1. All grenades have 4 hex blast radius.

Unarmed
Used when character is not equipped with a weapon. 1-2 damage x2.
Cutlass
A very common melee weapon. 10 THACO. 1-6 x2 damage
  • Martian Cutlass: 15 THACO. 2-7 x2 damage. Can be acquired from RAM Assassins or purchased from Pavonis for 400.
  • Mercurian Cutlass: 25 THACO, 4-9 x2 damage. Can be looted from Talon's Pirate Ship armory.
Monosword
A sword with a single synthetic diamond. Better than cutlass. 10 THACO, 1-10 damage x2
  • Martian Monosword: 15 THACO, 2-11 damage x2 . Can be looted from Stage 3 ECGs in RAM Spyship.
  • Venusian Monosword: 20 THACO, 3-12 damage x2. Can be found in Lowlander Village.
  • Lunarian Monosword: 30 THACO, 5-14 damage x2. Can be purchased from Tycho for 32000.
Laser Pistol
Balanced but have trouble piercing the armor of some hardened enemies and can be blocked by Aerosol Mist Grenades. 10 THACO, 1-8 damage x3.
  • Martian Laser Pistol: 15 THACO, 2-9 damage x3. Can be looted from RAM Assassins or purchased from Psyche for 1340.
  • Venusian Laser Pistol: 20 THACO, 3-10 damage x3. Can be purchased from Elysium for 2680.
Rocket Pistol
Powerful with decent accuracy, especially when in zero-g enviroments. Many enemies are immune to it however, due to the ECM packs. Effective against monsters. 20 THACO, 1-10 damage x4.
  • Martian Rocket Pistol: 25 THACO, 2-11 damage x4. Can be purchased from Thule for 2000.
  • Mercurian Rocket Pistol: 35 THACO, 4-13 damage x4. Can be found at Lowlander Village.
Needle Pistol
Very low damage but very, very accurate and fires a lot of shots. No enemy is immune to this weapon and therefore it is the best in the game. Master it with your Warriors and make sure all of your crew gets one. 20 THACO, 1-3 damage x 6.
  • Martian Needle Pistol: 25 THACO, 2-4 damage x6. Can be looted from Stage 3 ECGs in RAM Spyship.
  • Venusian Needle Pistol: 30 THACO, 3-5 damage x6. Can be found in the Lowlander Village.
  • Mercurian Needle Pistol: 35 THACO, 4-6 damage x6. Reward from Wilma Deering after completing her subquest in Tycho.
Heat Gun
Powerful but has a low rate of fire. Often misses for some reason. 10 THACO, 2-12 damage x 2.
  • Mercurian Heat Gun: 25 THACO, 5-15 damage x 2. Can be purchased from Hielo for 16000.
Desert Runner Crossbow
Can only be acquired from dead Desert Runners in Mars. 25 THACO, 1-8 damage x2.
Grenade Launcher
Not exactly a weapon but rather a tool that can allow you to throw your grenade much farther as long as it is in character's inventory.
Explosive Grenade
A hand grenade causes damage to an area. Very useful. Stock up and use only when necessary.
Dazzle Grenade
Flashbangs. Blind the enemy and lower hit-rate and evasion. Mostly useless as pretty much all enemies have protective goggles during the latter part of the game.
Stun Grenade
Same as above but slightly more effective.
Aerosol Mist Grenade
Creates a dense cloud that will block laser shots.
Chaff Grenade
Creates a dense clous that will block Rocket Pistols, Grenade Launchers and Rocket Launchers.
Rocket Launcher
Has a very large blast radius but requires an entire turn to reload and severely reduces movement range. Be very careful with it as it can kill your allies as well. 10 THACO, 5-50 damage, 8 hex radius. Only two of these weapons can be found in the game. One from the Talon's Pirate Ship Armory, other from the final robot in the Juno sub-quest.
Plasma Thrower
Can only be acquired from Mercurian Leaders. Causes less damage than Rocket Launchers but has a much larger blast radius. Be even more careful with it. 30 THACO, 4-40 damage. 10 hex radius. Can be looted from Mercurian Leaders.
Space Suit
Most common armor. Can be found anywhere. AC 6
Smart Suit
Better than Space Suit but not much. AC 4
  • Martian Smart Suit: Can be looted from Stage 3 ECGs from the RAM Spyship. AC 3
  • Lunarian Smart Suit: Can be found in Asteroid Base sub-quest on Psyche. AC 0.
Heavy Body Armor
Common armor for enemies during the later part of the game. Can also be purchased from Hielo for 6800. AC 2
  • Martian Heavy Body Armor: Can be looted from Mercurian Warriors. AC 1
  • Venusian Heavy Body Armor: Can be found in Lowlander Village. AC 0.
Battle Armor
Can be found in Gradivus Mons on Mars and looted from Mercurian Leaders. AC 0.
Battle Armor with Fields
Can be found on Asteroid Base sub-quest in Psyche or purchased from Aurora for 12000. AC -2
Poison Antidote
Neutralizes the poison on an ally.
Demolition Charges
Required for blasting doors and other obstacles.
ECM Package
Lowers the effectiveness of Rocket Pistols.
Protective Goggles
Makes the character to immune to effects of the Dazzle Grenade.

Magazine articles

Main article: Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Logo-pdf.svg
Print advert in Gamers (DE) #1992-01: "Februar/März 1992" (1992-xx-xx)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
{{{{{icon}}}|L}} Division by zero.
Based on
0 review
Sega Retro Average 
Publication Version Score
1700 igr dlya Sega (RU)
60
[4]
Consoles + (FR)
80
[5]
Console XS (UK) PAL
86
[6]
Mean Machines: The Essential Sega Guide (UK)
90
[7]
Game Mania (UK)
91
[8]
GamePro (US) NTSC-U
92
[1]
Games-X (UK)
90
[9]
Game Zone (UK) PAL
83
[10]
Joypad (FR) PAL
85
[11]
Joystick (FR) PAL
82
[12]
Sega Mega Drive Advanced Gaming (UK) PAL
80
[13]
Mega (UK)
78
[14]
Mega (UK) PAL
80
[15]
MegaTech (UK) PAL
91
[3]
MegaTech (UK) PAL
91
[16]
Mean Machines (UK) PAL
91
[17]
Mean Machines Sega (UK)
91
[18]
Player One (FR)
90
[19]
Play Time (DE)
77
[20]
Sega Power (UK) PAL
86
[21]
Sega Pro (UK) PAL
86
[22]
Sega Pro (UK) PAL
86
[23]
Sega Force (UK) PAL
82
[24]
Tricks 16 bit (RU)
68
[25]
Sega Mega Drive
84
Based on
24 reviews

Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday

Mega Drive, US
BRCtD MD US Box.jpg
Cover
Buckrogers md us cart.jpg
Cart
Buck Rogers MD US Manual.pdf
Manual
Mega Drive, EU (4 Language Manual)
BRCtD MD EU Box.jpg
Cover
Buckrogers md us cart.jpg
Cart
Buck Rogers MD EU 4Lang Manual.jpg
Manual
Mega Drive, EU (5 Language Manual)
Buck Rogers MD EU Cover 5langManual Version.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, FR

Buck Rogers Countdown to Doomsday MD FR Manual.pdf
Manual
Mega Drive, PT
BRCtD MD PT cover.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, AU
BRCtD MD AU cover.jpg
Cover
Mega Drive, BR
BRCtD MD BR cover.jpg
Cover

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 44e3bfff
MD5 f768fbba021636fff3682b9ae116076a
SHA-1 89c39f00745f2a8798fe985ad8ce28411b977f9e
1MB 1991-12 Cartridge (US/EU)

References