By Al Giovetti
Once there was a Wing Commander, a dream in the heart and mind of Chris Roberts. Now Chris is gone but the games invented by Chris, and developed by Chris and the Origin team live on, like a sequel that refuses to die, or, perhaps, more like a television series that dies and goes to heaven in re-runs.
Originally the games were cinematic computer graphics marvels. And then Chris Roberts revealed his true colors and invented the games with the true cinematic feel. Privateer: The Darkening was a computer full-motion-video game that many felt would have been better had it been done in the original cinematic graphic mode. Origin had its own feelings on full-motion-video games and has now, with the vacancy left by Chris, has turned back to cinematic computer graphics.
The first Privateer and its add on cum sequel, Riteous Fire, were instant hits. When they came out, I had the privelidge to interview the designers and to review them in the computer gaming magazines. They were great,
What you did was fly from planet to planet and buy and sell things. Your ship was at risk in space from pirates, religious fanatics, and bounty hunters. You could choose your own path and become a merchant, courier, bounty hunter, pirate, smuggler, explorer, surveyor and mapper of space lanes, blockader, blockade runner, or take a job working for planitary militia or the space service. Your alignment and repuation as a good or bad guy determined how you would be responded to by the minions that be.
Privateer had something that no other origin product had to date, the ability to win the game while playing from the dark side of your nature. The game provided freedom and instant appeal. It was also reminsent of such classics as Sundog and Elite.
Another really nice feature of the original Privateer is that you could choose to ignore the underlying plot line and just play an open ended game. Also after you finish the plotline, you can continue to explore the universe and check out all the planets and people and sub-plots that make a game like this one fun.
Designer Mark Vittero has based some of Privateer 3's design on the Microprose classic Pirates. Pirates is what Mark considers the epitome of the free flowing game design, where you can go any where and do anything. Pirates is about character development and, Mark will be incorporating many of the features of this landmark title in Pirates3.
The good thing is the basic premise of game play remains unchainged.
The game play is simple, you buy a ship, get a mission from a bar or from the guild kiosks, go complete the mission, get money, and upgrade ship. Your character develops and your ship becomes more powerful and versitile as the game progresses allowing you to choose more carefully what missions to accept and to make more lucrative scores.
One of the most scary things is that the designers want to take the game play inside a space ship as was seen in the mother ship of Independence day, inside the DeathStar in Star Wars, or inside Veejer in Star Trek The Motion Picture. I wonder if the boys have been doing their homework and know that this was already done rather unsuccessfully in Inferno. Inferno actually had you flying down corridors and turning within a structure made for walking vehicles. The resulting game play was an extremely frustrating thing that made the entry level to the game play beyond difficult. Many were exhilerated by the challenge, but many more were turned of by the rediculas entry levels skill required to navigate. Most people simply did not finish these parts of the game, or quit in frustration.
The plot originates from the original plot that Origin came up with prior to diverging into full-motion-video.
Cheats, Hints, Walkthrough
ReferencesElite fan FAQ Steve Bauman, Computer Games, issue number 90, May, 1998, pgs. 56-60. Al Giovetti, Inferno: The Odyssey Continues, Computer Player, volume 1, number 11, April, 1995, pg. 44-45.
Al Giovetti, Pirates!, Current Notes, volume 9, number 10, December, 1989, pg. 40.
Al Giovetti, Wing Commander Privateer, Electronic Games, volume 2, number 4, January, 1994, pg. 92.
Al Giovetti, Righteous Fire, Electronic Entertainment, volume 1, number 7, July, 1994, pg. 91.
Al Giovetti, Wing Commander 2: Special Operations, with Michael "Killer" Giovetti, Simulations, volume 2, number 1, issue 1, 1992, pg. 15.
Al Giovetti, Wing Commander Armada, Electronic Entertainment, volume 1, number 9, September, 1994, pg. 91.
Al Giovetti, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, Electronic Entertainment, volume 2, number 3, March, 1995, pg. 64.
Al Giovetti, The Computer Show Wing Commander Privateer 2: The Darkening Review,
Letters(3/16/99) From: Demonbass@aol.com Hate to break it to you guys, but there is no Privateer 3 (yet). There is Privateer original, a privateer add-on (Righetious Fire), and then the new one that you did your review on, PRIVATEER 2: THE DARKENING. If you had LOOKED at the box, you would have noticed the big 2 that comes after Privateer and before the darkening. ANS: The Privateer 2 Review is in the reviews section. The Privateer 3 Preview is in the previews section. A preview is a preliminary look at a game that is not out yet. The game could only be in the planning stage or be as complete as a beta but it is NOT OUT YET. I wrote the reviews for Privateer 1, Righteous Fire (the add on), Privateer 2, and the PREVIEW for Privateer 3. As we learn more about Privateer 3 we will release this information in previews until such time when the game is released. When the game is released we will write the review. -
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