Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday is a role-playing game similar in gameplay, interface, and visual styles to the Dungeons & Dragons games by SSI, despite the completely different setting and sci-fi scenario.
Buck Rogers: Countdown to Doomsday is based on TSR’s Buck Rogers XXVC setting created in the late eighties and based on the character whose exploits had been seen in nearly every medium and through several revivals since his debut in 1928. In this adventure, players must help Buck Rogers uncover and destroy a doomsday weapon that could spell the end of resistance to the empire that holds Earth within its grasp.
The player’s first task is to create a party of six characters from a choice of five classes (Rocketjock, Warrior, Medic, Rogue, and Engineer) and six races (Human, Desert Runner, Tinker, Venusian, Martian, and Mercurian). Then, these six new NEO recruits are trained, and are thrust into the battle for Earth.
There are several navigation modes in the game. The player can navigate the space ship on a top-down map of the Solar System, choosing planets to land on. Hostile ships may attack the player-controlled ship in this mode. Landing on a planet usually positions the heroes on a local overworld map. Finally, navigation in individual locations (towns and hostile areas) is done in first-person perspective, with pseudo-3D environments. Combat is turn-based and is viewed from an isometric perspective; characters are represented as icons and can be freely moved on the battle field.