If ever there were a perfect combination of the action of Star Wars and Star Trek, Starlancer would fit the bill. The game, in addition to being a non-stop thrill ride through the universe of the future, is fiercely competitive! Not only can you fight in space like in Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, you can also fly missions around planets and through stunning environments.
If you have a 3D graphics accelerator card, Starlancer is a sight to behold. If you don't, the graphics aren't bad but you miss many of the effects during combat. With or without the card, however, the game is immensely enjoyable. With the 3D card, you see beautiful planets in the background as you attack. This is visually stunning but at times it makes the game harder to play because your enemies can blend in with the planets, whereas, in software-rendering mode, this doesn't occur. But, even so, without a 3D card Starlancer's gameplay is still fun and the graphics great.
You begin the game with an introduction to your surroundings (not in the starship). The best feature of the non-mission action is the simulator as it helps you get your bearings when first starting. It shows you step-by-step how to use the instruments, weapons and flight options. You definitely need the training, too, because in Starlancer you utilize the entire keyboard as well as a joystick. Luckily, the game comes with a quick reference card showing all the functions of the keys.
Starlancer uses many of the same concepts seen in Star Wars and Star Trek games, while adding components of such games as Wing Commander. In fact, much like Wing Commander, Starlancer utilizes a briefing room where you learn about missions. Other similarities include talking with your wingmen during combat and winning medals in the latter missions. In fact, Starlancer is very similar to Wing Commander in all aspects with the exceptions of fighting other humans and not having conversations with your crew after missions.
One can't help but discern that Starlancer seems to be a nearly perfect combination of these three games, with originality being one of the few aspects noticeably lacking. All of this has been done before in Star Wars fighting games and the Wing Commander series. The lasers your ship fires look like the famous Star Wars brand. Even though not particularly original, Starlancer does take the best from all three series. The result is a winner: the action and dynamics of Star Wars, the graphics and beautiful scenery of Star Trek and the great space combat of Wing Commander.
Regardless of any niggling aspects Starlancer may have, gamers who love space combat games should enjoy this one immensely. Environments and scenery are top-notch and the dogfighting very fast paced. The multi-player mode allows battling up to eight friends (or strangers) over the Internet with the ability to choose any ship and weapons you desire! With the many different controls you have in your ship, Starlancer levies a demand on flexibility and coordination. Additionally, with all the different ships from which to choose, you need to master all the flight skills and weapons in the grueling space war of Starlancer! The Western Alliance will prevail with your help, so prepare to engage the Coalition fleet!
Graphics: If you have a 3D accelerator card, you get some amazing graphics out of Starlancer (bright stars, huge planets, asteroids). But, even if you use normal software rendering, the game still looks good.
Sound: From firing lasers and missiles to the exploding vessels you destroy, Starlancer gives you the feeling of a 3D space environment through its sound effects. The music is also well done and adds rather than detracts.
Enjoyment: The dogfighting and space flight parts of the game are very enjoyable. You can talk to your wingmen and your enemies as well as control everything from which missile to use to how much power to divert to each system in the ship.
Replay Value: Starfighter games are always fun to replay, especially when you have the options that Starlancer provides. If you beat the game using a specific ship, you can always try out new ones. Also, each mission's outcome affects the next so, if you fail, you'll go in a different direction then if you succeed.
People who downloaded Starlancer have also downloaded:
Freelancer, Tachyon: The Fringe, Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, Star Trek: Bridge Commander, Star Wars: X-Wing Collector Series, Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, Star Wars X-Wing (Collector's CD-ROM)
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