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Written by  :  SifouNaS (1326)
Written on  :  Aug 10, 2002
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

It's a Star!

The Good

Okay, I must say I'm only playing this one for the last couple of days, but I'm totally stuck with it. My Sidewinder spews flames! First of all, top notch graphics! Well detailed models, nice coloring and shading, smooth rendering. In fact I believe that these graphics are the best I've ever seen on a space sim ever. The special FX are really gorgeous too, just blow up an enemy ship to pieces and you'll know what I'm talking about here. Talking about blowing away ships, the best FX are those of the larger ships blowing. The controls of your ship are excellent too! I just love the idea of the instant brake thrusters when in motion, it makes dogfighting much easier especially when your opponents tries to escape your fire by crazy movements. The flight model and physics are satisfactory and adequate to supply good piloting skills. Hiring a wingman is a good option though, although I'll have to see if they get any better as the campaign goes on. Soundwise the game is a top too! Very nice sound effects, although a bit unreal (for example you cannot hear explosions in space!) soon you overcome this as the sound effects add up to the intensity. Musically the game has some good space ambient tracks to offer, fairly easy listening stuff but quite experimental as well. The in game dialogs are really cool too, sometimes you have the feeling that the guy who's the captain of some freighter is the same guy who owns your local newsagent store lol! (oh! wouldn't happen to have a milky way bar and a copy of max power on board Mike, would you?). The game menus are very nicely laid out, not at all complicating. Also the mission I've flown so far are a nice mixture with some variations. Their majority though are of the "get out and eat them!" type. Finally another good point is the financial factor of the game. You can actually buy some good weapons to beef up your ship after completing the first mission! The missions are paying adequately for your powerups etc.

The Bad

Well there are some points that didn't come up to my favor. First of all the ergonomy of the HUD. At some points (especially when things get hot) I found myself wasting some good seconds trying to figure out what is displaying what and how to cope with the situation (ie. power charge transfers). The messages that appear on the left side of the HUD sometimes are too much and to be honest, nobody can expect to fully read them when your have an enemy twisting in front of you.

The Bottom Line

Well, the game can be described in a few words as a space fighter - trader - manager, kind of thing. We've seen this in X-Frontier too, only this is better in all respects I believe. Top notch graphics, special effects and sound and powerful controls on your ship. Sign job contacts, get out do the job, blast away some enemies, return and get paid to buy powerups or better ships. It's a Star!