Genre Simulation -> Space
Today's Rank 0
Date N/A
Date 2002-10-18
North America Retail 
Box ArtUnited Kingdom 
Retail Box ArtStarLancer recruits space fighter pilots into the 45th Volunteers, a ragtag group of U.S.-led Western Alliance freedom fighters tossed into the war against Russia's Eastern Coalition. It's the cold war in space. This is the first game by Digital Anvil, the company formed by legendary game designers Chris and Erin Roberts of Wing Commander, Privateer, and Strike Commander fame. It's no surprise that StarLancer's gameplay follows standards set by its classic predecessor and obvious inspiration, Wing Commander. Players are briefed on the tactical situation of the upcoming mission, then choose a fighter and ordnance. Only a few playable ships are offered at the outset; mission performance determines how quickly you earn access to more powerful fighters. StarLancer's ships are well balanced: some are fast and lightly armored, while others carry powerful weaponry but can't keep up with an agile foe. But while the ships are cool, they lack the customizing features found in FreeSpace 2 and Tachyon: The Fringe. You're able to equip particular missiles and add additional afterburner fuel, but you can't customize gun weaponry or add upgrades or special features. StarLancer's mission design is certainly its best feature. Mission goals often change on the fly, and frequent pilot chatter immerses players into the game's war atmosphere. Decisions made during missions can drastically alter later missions. For instance, if you fail to eliminate an enemy battleship early in the game you'll face a tough fight in a later mission when the enemy reinforces its front lines with that same battleship. Though offering nothing really new to the space combat genre, StarLancer's crisp 3-D engine, frenetic combat action, and complex missions make enlisting worthwhile. --Doug Radcliffe Pros: Keeps you on your toes by switching objectives midmission Missions feature multiple paths to victory and failure Stellar multiplayer support with deathmatch, team, and cooperative play Excellent musical score Cons: Inability to fully customize ships Visually pleasing, but it doesn't exceed standards set by FreeSpace 2
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