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      StarLancer Overview
Thursday, Aug 2  


So what the heck is this game? StarLancer is a space combat simulator developed by Warthog in association with Digital Anvil. It is published by Microsoft. Erin Roberts left Origin Systems (who is known for the creation of the Privateer series) to join Digital Anvil. Within the base of such a company, he and others could pursue the development of their games unhampered.

Fast forward a couple years and we've got StarLancer. Erin decided that StarLancer will make a move to heavy story influenced gameplay, and away from the Privateer like genre. StarLancer provides audiences with a very specific style of gameplay, which it weaves very well. The next sections discuss various elements of the game.

Single Player

So how is the single player portion? The answer is very good. Not all people will like the type of storyline, as it's not very character focused. You play a mission, you win or lose, you're back on your ship, you may watch a news cast or play in the simulator, and then it's back in the cockpit. For everything StarLancer lacks in character development, it makes up for in the wonderfully crafted fight sequences. Everything you do has this very grandiose feeling. You feel as if everything you do has enormous influence in the scheme of things.

So what are some of things you'll be doing in single player? You'll find yourself blowing up capital ships, assisting in the destruction of space stations and even bigger capital ships, patrolling around the mysterious void for bad guys, chasing down traitors, executing top brass pilots, escorting precious cargo ships, brawling over the rings of Saturn and even searching by sound for a beacon. Sound pretty cool? We think so too.


Thankfully, StarLancer brings some new elements to the space sim multi-player scene. In addition to the usual deathmatch mode, StarLancer is capable of a co-operative single player game. Yes, you did hear me right. Basically what happens is the wingmen who used to be controlled by the computer, can now be systematically replaced with human players, depending on how many people are playing. The game will automatically adjust it's difficulty level to that number of people. For those of you that were thinking about it, you can't just take out 2 bogies per mission and be done with it. In some cases, we've found that co-op missions can be harder than in single player.

Deathmatch is alive and well. StarLancer includes many variations of it too. You can duke it out in an asteroid field with turrets shoting at anything that moves, to playing a game that resembles tag. We've found that co-op is still the most enjoyable however, focus your time there.


StarLancer supports A3D and EAX API's. It's a good thing too! The game includes many very interesting and immersive sound effects. If you have a subwoofer, all the better. The sounds were not lacking in low frequencies. All of the sounds gave us the impression that they were being generated by the particular device. From the roar of the afterburners, the zaps from lasers to the bullets flying from the solid ammunition guns, every sound was crafted perfectly.

To experience these sounds at their peak. Just launch a volley of screamers into the void and you'll know what I'm talking about.


All in all, StarLancer has some pretty good music. While it's not as good as some competing games, namely FreeSpace, the music did it's job. Not to say all of it was average however, the tracks in the simulator and a few in the missions are VERY good.



I don't think I need to tell you or anyone else how pretty StarLancer looks. With virtually everyone having some form of 3D accelerator these days, game developers can make some impressive eye candy. If you're stuck in the stone age, never fear, StarLancer has a software renderer too.

So what makes this game so good in regards to graphics? It's the high resolution textures that are used on the ships and backgrounds. Most people would just make the textures on computer, but StarLancer goes further. Since the game takes place in the solar system, the game developers took advantage of the pictures captured from the Hubble Space Telescope. Some of the most brilliant pictures are that of Saturn and Jupiter. There are numerous other nebulae used as backgrounds to boot.

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