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Privateer 2: The Darkening

aka: The Darkening
DOS Specs [ all ]
Buy on DOS
Buy on Windows

Description official descriptions

Privateer 2: The Darkening is a follow-up to Wing Commander: Privateer. The player takes control of Ser Lev Arris, who is searching to regain his identity and memory. Like its predecessors, the game combines space combat simulation with exploration and trading. Along the way, the player can trade commodities, go on missions, attack strange mutants, rescue damsels in distress, meet weird characters, and visit unusual planets. It is possible to hire wingmen and cargo ships, as well as upgrade the current ship or buy new ones. Live-action movies advance the story.


  • 银河私掠者2:黑暗之渊 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

262 People (253 developers, 9 thanks) · View all



Average score: 82% (based on 17 ratings)


Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 64 ratings with 10 reviews)

Not really that bad. It just requires a VERY open mind to enjoy.

The Good
The first good things to point out about Priv2 are really quite obvious: Production values. Hot off the trail from Wing Commander 4's mega-blockbuster like development, Origin threw all it's wanna-be film making expertise to this product and the results are nothing short of awesome, the filmed cutscenes boast incredible sets, impressive camera work, fantastic music and sfx, and a great amount of both visual and digital effects that for the most part manage to stay on film-quality levels (there's a particular sequence were Lev blows a door open with a laser blast in slow-mo which is absolutely amazing). Furthermore you get REAL acting power, with the likes of Clive Owen, John Hurt, Jurgen Prochnow, Christopher Walken, Amanda Pays, Mathilda May, etc,etc. It's the kind of lineup that isn't composed of flat-out stars, yet is filled with competent and recognized people that manage to deliver believable performances.

The storyline itself is substantially better than the original's and instead of taking place in the familiar WC universe, takes place in a brand-new "Tri-System" which is much less Star-Trekkie and much more Blade-Runnerish, courtesy of a screenplay by famed Diana Duane (for those that don't know, Diane is one of the better "stock" writers, which usually tackle licensed work, or novelisations). The story takes you in a quest for your identity around dark and moody industrialized citiscapes, wastelands, military bases, anemic hospitals, etc. etc. All brought to life with real sets and wonderful cinematography. Really, sometimes it is just a sheer beauty to behold the imagery of the fmv sequences, and coupled with that camera-work... ayayayayay... This is it boys and girls, and heck, as long as I'm on the subject let me point out that this game has one, if not the, best introduction for a video game EVER. It's something of a pain to have to stick by the credits that are placed mid-way through it, but other than that IT ROCKS! Seriously, if you think FF8 was cool just look at this fanboy, you have No idea whatsoever :))

Now, speaking about the game itself I should point out that the production values are certainly visible in here as well, you get one of the coolest interfaces ever made, and a space-shooter that delivers some truly interesting missions in a really big universe that include massive shoot-outs as well as more intrincate ones (my favorite being a "Simon-says" kidnapping one). All that using a bitching graphics engine, and lots of weapons, ships and loadout configurations.

The Bad
Well, if you read the above lines you might have wondered if I was talking about a movie or a game, right? And that is probably the game's biggest problem. Mind you, it's not that it has NO gameplay and all fmvs, it's just that the gameplay in here is seriously flawed. This is an action game, yet Priv2 feels at times like a space-simulator, and I mean a real one. Gamers used to the lightning-fast dogfights of other space shooters will be seriously let down by this game, since the ships move at very slow speeds, and give no real sense of speed or momentum. Furthermore this game has one of the most maddening design decisions for a game of this kind: near-zero damage feedback. What am I talking about? Most shooters sport screen jitter and flashes when hit, heck pretty much every action game has such features. Priv2 just has a small shield/armor indicator that goes down as you get hit. That's it. You have no idea the amount of times I was blown to pieces simply because I couldn't tell I was being shot! Seriously, if you have a boggie in your tail, there's no telling what's going on unless you take your eyes of the main view and focus on the shield displays and trust me, that's BAD.

All of this is stuff that could really fall under the "just needs time to get used to" category, but the fact is that it really is bad. At the very least worse than any other space-sim out there. There's simply no real action to speak of. That doesn't make the game a piece of crap mind you, but it IS a really big flaw.

Other than that, there's the fact that all ships look the same from the inside (which really sucks since it's you who is paying for your ships, Priv1 veterans will know what I'm talking about here) and the decision to shift cargo-transport specifically to cargo ships (which you must hire). That is a really a love & hate issue, some like it. Me? I hate it with all my heart. It turns every cargo run into an escort mission, and I HATE escort missions.

The Bottom Line
There's no denying this game has problems, there's no denying that this game isn't really a match for the original Privateer, but there's also no denying that this game really has a lot of good things in it. When it comes down to it, there's a lot more to love in it than there is to hate. Priv 2 only lacks the gameplay perfection of the original, on this days were every crappy "me-too!" game just aims to be simply average and cut enough profits to make a sequel, a game that is "less than perfect" (ok, ok, "Really" far from perfect) tis still damn good. Plus the British really know how to make great science fiction.

DOS · by Zovni (10504) · 2001

This one was just "different" from Privateer; better in some areas, worse in others.

The Good
I thought the graphics were awesome, the plot was fun to watch, and the battles were great. The missions were a little tougher, but a little creativity could give you success.

The Bad
I hate the fact you have to clear a system of enemies before you could jump. It would just be annoying when you'd clear it, then another bad guy would jump in just as you would get ready to leave. In a couple of cases when this happened repeatedly, I'd find myself in a damaged ship and losing my fighting capability and it would turn into a lost cause. This was frustrating. While it's not always noble, it would be nice to have the OPTION to run away when you needed to.

The Bottom Line
Go read the Privateer script, then improve the graphics and add movie clips to describe the story-line. It's a fun game which has a few quirks.

DOS · by Spectre (127) · 2000

A step back regarding game design

The Good
The story is quite fascinating. It is also developed in an interesting way. The acting is not bad for a computer game, although it cannot be compared to real movies. Most of the motivation is caused by wanting to get money for new ships and equipment.

The Bad
The game design is not as good as in Privateer 1. There you were first in a solar system where nothing really bad could happen to you. In Privateer 2 you are in the same area all the time. That means that at the beginning you have to deal with the same amount of pirates as later and at the beginnig they are unbeatable. So you have to save your game everytime you leave a planet and hope you do not encounter any enemies. Another option would be invulnerability but it should be possible to play the game without it. In this game it is not. Always coming to the same planets all through the game also gets a bit boring. The space combat is also quite tiring sometimes. As you can only jump to the next NAV-point when there are no enemies around, you have to kill them all first. But if it takes you too long, more and more of them will arrive and attack you. I sometimes came in a situation I could not escape, because there was an unlimited number of pirates and it was not a mission but just an ordinary flight. I had one of the best ships and killed about 100 of them without being severely wounded, but after fighting this battle more than an hour I was just frustrated and I had to restore the game. And this happened to me several times!

The Bottom Line
The concept has been stolen from Elite and a story was added. It is a game from Origin's Interactive Movie period.

DOS · by Mr Creosote (362) · 2000

[ View all 10 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Will editing money make you skip side quests? Kreshna Aryaguna Aug 15th, 2012


For as much of a new game as it is, there is at least one nod to the original Privateer in the sequel. There's a random mission in which you have to approach and identify a derelict starfighter. Nothing major, but upon contact with the ship you'll see that it's a 3d-rendered version of the Talon, the singlemost common ship in the original Privateer. Look for it in the manual also.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Raphael.

Windows added by Reptil3.

Additional contributors: Zovni, Silverblade, CaesarZX, SGruber.

Game added November 2nd, 1999. Last modified August 25th, 2023.