M.U.L.E. Review by Brian Moriarty in A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing (Issue 13, September 1983)

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Comment on review by Brian Moriarty: “This article from A.N.A.L.O.G. Computing (Issue 13, September 1983) is believed by editor Lee Pappas to contain the first reviews of Electronic Arts games ever published. It seems I was dubious about “games as art” at a rather tender age.

by Ozark Softscape
48K Disk $40.00

The politics of M.U.L.E.

If I told you this game was a cross between Kingdom and Monopoly, you might not get too excited. Yet M.U.L.E. imaginatively blends the basic elements of these otherwise sedate games into a fast-moving experience that’s even more fun than collecting rent on Boardwalk.

M.U.L.E. puts you and up to three other players on an unsettled alien planet. Your job is to develop and hopefully monopolize the planet’s natural resources. To win, you must buy, sell, trade and/or connive your way up to the position of First Founder, aided by a mischievous herd of mechanical quadrupeds known as MULEs (Multiple Use Labor Elements).

Ozark Softscape, the creators of M.U.L.E., have loaded the game with interesting twists and detail. Each player is represented by a different alien species with a wide range of skills and exploitative abilities. Random events such as planetquakes, plagues, acid rains and runaway MULEs will hamper your best efforts. There’s even a Wampus running loose in the mountains, and a pirate lurking around to swipe your goods.

The audio/visual design of M.U.L.E. is exceptionally well executed. Its graphics display features a number of imaginative special effects and lots of colorful animation. Best of all is the toe-tapping introductory theme: one of the niftiest examples of original computer music I’ve ever heard.

If a four-way game of Monopoly is your idea of a great Friday night, then M.U.L.E. is definitely for you. Its ingenious, professional design puts it far ahead of any other economic simulation game on the market. You may even find yourself learning a thing or two!

The verdict.

Does Electronic Arts live up to its lofty marketing? Archon and M.U.L.E. are vastly entertaining but fairly conventional games that should insure EA the income they will need to grow. Pinball Construction Set is a sophisticated, recognizable “name” product that may appeal more to tinkerers and hackers than the general consumer. Worms? is EA’s answer to Disney’s Fantasia: an artsy, introspective loss leader that shows a commitment to fresh ideas and talent, and which may in time be recognized as EA’s first truly significant contribution to the world of computer entertainment. All in all, a strong opening salvo from this young and distinctly Californian company.