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Protostar: War on the Frontier (DOS)

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Written by  :  -Condor- (6)
Written on  :  Jan 01, 2004
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Summary

The unofficial "Starflight 3". Has a lot of atmosphere, good music but is much too short.

The Good

Apparently, this game was originally intended as Starflight 3, but due to copyright issues that wasn't possible. At any rate, it plays in pretty much the same way as the Starflight games and Star Control 2.

Your mission is to unite four alien races in a sector of space against a fifth race called the Skeetch, which are moving against humanity. In your quest to do this, you will have to travel to different star systems, land on planets to gather minerals or alien creatures, upgrade your starship and hire new crewmembers while fending off Skeetch raiders, pirates and other undesirables.

The graphics are good for the time of the game's release, and combines with the excellent music and sound effects to create an outstanding atmosphere of space adventure and exploration.

The Bad

There's a reason this game isn't nearly as well known as Star Control 2, Privateer or Starflight, and that can probably be attributed to the game's main flaw:

It's way too short! It's possibly only about a quarter of the length of Star Control 2, for example. There are only a few quests and there really isn't that much to find as you go about exploring the sector. Your ship can be upgraded, but there just aren't enough upgrades and you will likely have it maxed out after only a few mineral runs.

There is also a technical issue, in that the game seems to have a lot of difficulty in properly setting up most soundcards. I've tried this game on a few different computers, and it seems there was always some issue with the sound. Either the music worked, or the sound effects. If you're lucky, maybe you will be able to get it running with both at the same time.

The Bottom Line

I have every confidence that if only this game would have had the length and scope of games such as Star Control 2 and Privateer, it would have been hailed as a timeless classic equal to those. As it is, the game remains an enjoyable, if brief, experience and can be recommended to any Star Control or Starflight fans looking for more of the same, even if this will only satisfy their thirst for a little while.