Darkstar One , released by Ascheron Entertainment UK and CDV software, puts you in a galaxy that was devastated by a war centuries ago but is now peaceful and secure. The Great Council rules the galaxy and monitors the various dominions under its sway. All is darling and wonderful except for a race called the Thul. The Thul, who until recently kept to themselves, have experienced what can only be described as a massive personality shift and have begun attacking everything in sight. The other races are all frantically pointing fingers (or tentacles, or antennae) at one-another, and as a result the ruling council is about to collapse in on itself. Someone needs to do something, but who?
Well, I'll tell you who.
His name is Kayron Davis, a burly, wavy-haired escort pilot. Kayron has recently inherited his father's old ship(The Darkstar One). The Darkstar, it turns out, is the culmination of a secret project his dad was worked on. The game's story is a bit hard to explain, but it involves locating ancient alien artifacts and working them into the design of the ship so that the player can change it to be any kind of ship he or she pleases. You want it to be powerful enough to go toe to toe with a battle cruiser? Hey, sure thing. Or did you want something more zippy, something that can twist and spin it's way through numbers of enemies, and come out on top at the end? Sure thing; just find the square peg and put it in the right hole and you're on your way.
The Darkstar One has three possibly areas for upgrade: the wings, the hull, and the engines. Each section can take different types of modifications. For example, the wings can be upgraded to make the ship more agile and allow more room to for missiles, while the hull can be upgraded so that the ship will can take more punishment from enemy fire and will also be able to sport more weapons emplacements. These are just a few examples, but the customization opportunities this system offers is enough to make Dr. Frankenstein green with envy.
Modifying the Darkstar One, while exciting, has to pale in comparison beside the other aspects of the game. Firstly, and perhaps most impressively, the game includes roughly 300 explorable systems, only a fraction of which are crucial to the main storyline. The game's systems can be explored to find new items and side quests, which will help the player round out their ship. To quote Teletran 1: "Explore, explore!"
While Kayron is running about, being the stand up guy that he must be, he will encounter a total of six different species…which seems a small amount considering how large the galaxy is promised to be, but this is a game preview and not an anthropology class so we'll move on. Races include Terrans, the Mortok, the Raptor, the Oc'to, the Arrack, and the Thul. The Thul, who are your oh so fearsome enemy, are a race of scientists that are now cyborgs. If it helps just imagine a Borg with a PhD.
Players progress through the game while traveling to new systems, winning new prizes, and meting new people..or things..or things that might also be people. To keep your virtual body and soul together, you will have to scrounge around for money by whatever way you can. This facet of the game adds a good vs. evil dichotomy to your character, as the player will have to decide whether to gain money through occupations such as pulling escort duty, trade, or even such less admirable jobs like smuggling and piracy.
DarkStar One is already out on the market and, with it's opened ended but easy to grasp playing style, should be a nice addition to anyone's collection. For more information you can check out the game's website at http://darkstarone.ascaron.com/gb/gb_darkstarone/home/home.php, or on CDV's website at: http://www.cdv.de/. Check back with mygamer soon for a full review.
Nick McCavitt at firstname.lastname@example.org