History: Privateer is one of the best all time classic games. Privateer was a product that was released between Wing Commander II and III.
The plot: There is no plot if you do not choose to pursue it. You can simply fly around and take the role of a mercenary, merchant, bounty hunter, pirate, or smuggler. By joining two galactic unions, merchant and mercenary, you have ready jobs at any port that has a union office. The plot does eventually develop, if and when you pursue it. There is a rogue ship loose in this galaxy that you must track down. The ship has special advanced armament and shielding and is almost invincible until you acquire some arcane weaponry late in the game.
Things to do: In true adventure game tradition, you can enter bars and other areas within the spaceports and carry on conversations, obtain missions, and fully interact with the inhabitants, such as the bartender, who for some unknown reason always looks the same (Must be a family chain of bars with a lot of brothers. - Ed.).
Characterization: Some of the most interesting characters are the Retros, who cry "eat Righteous Fire," a cry so popular and a culture so bent that it spawned the sequel "Righteous Fire," which is based upon a revolt in the cult. The Retros are a cult of space fighter jocks who are trying to kill all the users of advanced technology in the universe. They have taken some fighters and use them to kill all they find in the space lanes. An inspired characterization, these Retros form the basis for the comic relief in the game. A sense of humor is a good basis for any entertainment product.
Mission generator: A random mission generator will assign an infinite number of computer generated cargo runs, strike missions, three point patrols, and other missions. If you follow the plotline there are choices that almost immediately become narrower until the player is committed to a goal.
Flight avionics: These planes fly in a straightforward manner and have the ability to overcome inertia and other space physics effects that would make the fighters nearly unflyable. The instrumentation and support for joysticks is adequate. Everything is clearly marked and easily readable.
Game play: Your actions have consequences. If you smuggle contraband, you will find yourself pursued by the Confederation with a price on your head. Unlike other games you have to be extremely careful not to shoo the wrong people or the word will get around. The game actually keeps track of who you have killed and others of the same type will act accordingly if you have piled up a reputation for killing pirates or Confederation ships.
Graphics: Still holing up in the face of some pretty advanced graphics. This shows the value of real artists on the team not just computer programmers.
Speech: With the speech pack, that was sold separately, the entire game is accompanied by speech even in the cockpit.
Jason MacIsaachttp: www.gamesmania.com/english/reviews/past/wcpriv.htm, 8.5/10 (85%).
Al Giovetti, Righteous Fire, Electronic Entertainment, volume 1, number 7, July, 1994, pg. 91.
Al Giovetti, Wing Commander Privateer, Electronic Games, volume 2, number 4, January, 1994, pg. 92, 90%.