Darklight Conflict article by Al Giovetti
Preview by Al Giovetti, 02/13/97
Release: May (March) 1997
Genre: 3D space flight combat simulator
Developer: Rage Software Limited
Publisher: Origin Electronic Arts
Web site: www.ea.com
History: Wing Commander was a very big hit in 1991. It was also an innovative combination of a flight simulator and a role playing game. Wing Commander has been so successful over the years that it has had four different games, the last released recently as Wing Commander 4, several spin offs including armada and the highly sucessful Wing Commander: Privateer which has spawned Righteous Fire and Privateer: the Darkening. Origin's newest space opera, Darklight Conflict, will incorporate network and internet play, and usher the game genre at Origin into the new decade of multi-player games.
Plot: One plot has you abducted and the other has you genetically engineered - take your pick. In the year 1999, you are abducted from your commission as a U. S. Navy Fighter pilot who is flying missions over South America. Your alien abductors, called Reptons, treat you well because they need your help fighting Ovons. This is ok until you realize that your side, the Reptons, are the bad guy aggressors and the Ovons are not much better. Eventually, you end up fighting both to save Earth.
Game play: There are fifteen different weapons and a range of spacecraft to learn to fly and make your own. A spacecraft encyclopedia and ship customization routine make the game even more interesting. Powerups and devices will add additional features, such as cloaking devices.
Modes: The game plays in arcade, campaign, and network modes. Arcade has five levels that you win points for destroying enemy ships. The campaign mode has five separate campaigns of ten missions each. The plot is linear and not branching or parallel, you fail and your campaign game is over. Also, they use the military training simulator protocol which requires you to finish a mission before moving on to the next one. There are no bypasses and no skipping of these missions. This is a bad thing for those who tend to get stuck on one mission out of 50.
You fly five different types of ships, including bomber and gunship, with over 15 weapons to defend and attack with. The learning curve is quite steep. The fifty single player missions will include intercepts, strike missions, and combat with larger ships. Wing person commands and other features will make this more fun.
Graphics: The three dimensional high resolution graphics will be heavy on polygons and short on texture mapping in an attempt to increase detail and get a unique look. Flare effects, moving shadows, light effects, and moveable light sources will help add detail and life to the graphics and animation. The cockpits have a distinct alien look to them.
Multi-player: Missions are designed specifically for multiplayer action. The games will have deathmatch one-on-one, tag where each player is it, and capture the flag teams. Up to eight players will be able to play on a LAN, no word on the internet play as yet, or null or phone modem play.
Journalists: Cal says, "A space opera that relies on gameplay, not video footage, for its voice."
Cal Jones, Computer Gaming World, issue 152, March, 1997, pg. 44 - 47
Steve Klett, PC Games, volume 3, issue 11, April, 1997, pg. 22.
Editors, New Generation, issue 28, volume 3, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 108.
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