Dark Space

Genre(s): MMO,

Gamespot Rating: 7.2 (out of 10)

Price: Free

Link(s): http://www.darkspace.net/

DarkSpace takes place in a tumultuous universe of political infighting, economic sanctions and diplomatic posturing. All of the major factions have definite hostility towards one another, but a few splinter outposts are staying neutral, at least initially, to determine their best interest. In the midst of turmoil and civil unrest, players start as an ensign, piloting smaller craft and will eventually work their way up to a fleet admiral controlling a capital ship and plotting maneuvers in one of the three initial factions. Hundreds of players will join together online in a fast paced struggle for mankind’s destiny. Individual mission goals will vary and successful completion of objectives will alter the galaxy toward that faction’s favor. The galaxy is designed to be altered directly by concerted player effort. By cooperation within a faction or group, players will achieve scenario objectives and push back the rival factions. Random events are possible and will definitely require player cooperation to save the chosen faction from obliteration. [Palestar]

Players begin by selecting one of three factions. Two factions are human: the United Galactic Trade Organization (UGTO) with sleek and well-rounded ships, and the Interstellar Cultural Confederation (ICC) with good long-range capabilities. Players can also choose the alien K’Luth, who pilot fast organic ships and are masters of hit and run tactics. DarkSpace also contains several non-player factions to interact with, such as the Machine Intelligence (MI) race, opportunistic space Pirates, and several other rare and bizarre alien entities.

Players then choose a starship. DarkSpace has several types of ships, such as battleships, troop transports, supply vessels, and engineering ships. Each ship type has different capabilities and plays a unique role in the game. Scout ships, for example, can reveal enemy positions, while heavy cruisers are built for attacking other ships. Players are not limited to a single ship that they “own”; they can return to a shipyard or home gate at any time and select a new ship. Players can also store modified ship layouts in a personal storage “garage”.

New players start with the rank of ‘midshipman’, and are restricted to the smallest ship types. To control larger ships the player must earn higher rankings by accumulating “Prestige Points”, which are awarded for various tasks such as damaging enemy ships, bombing and capturing planets, building planetary structures, and repairing the ships of teammates. Most ships not only require a minimum rank but also one or more specific “badges” before they can be piloted. To fly a larger combat ship, for example, a player has to achieve the “Bronze Combat” badge by inflicting 50 points of damage to enemy ships.

DarkSpace emphasizes tactical combat: players are able to finely control details of their ship’s attack and defense maneuvers. It also emphasizes teamwork and organization: since most ships play very specialized roles, battles can often be won more easily and prestige earned more quickly if players work together as a team. In the larger scheme, faction control of areas in the MetaVerse requires coordination and communication between large groups of players.

Although the game takes place in space and uses a 3D graphics engine, gameplay is restricted to a 2D dimensional plane.

Publisher: Palestar, Got Game Entertainment

Developer: Palestar/Richard “Faustus” Lyle

Initial Release Date: December 21, 2001

Players: Massively multiplayer online

ERSB: T (Teen)

Sample Gameplay Video(s):

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