First some notes on what the Privateer game is all about. Those who have played the original privateer may wish to skip the first 3 chapters :)
Gameplay in privateer is divided into 2 parts. The most important part of the game is a space fight simulator game, where you will be flying in space (the corner of wing commander universe called 'Gemini Sector') using all 3 degrees of freedom (something like in X-wing or tie fighter or Wing Commander 1, 2 or 3). If 3 degrees of freedom did not make you wish to try this, perhaps the following things will: These spacefights are about more than just steering your ship and shooting, as in basic arcade games. You can communicate with hostile (and friendly) ships, and at times you can change their attitude towards you. You will have friendly and hostile ships in same space, and if you accidentally hit friendly ship too severely while fighting, you'll soon notice there's just hostile ships left... You cannot just mindlessly fire with your beam weapons, since you have a reactor which produces limited amount of energy. And naturally you need energy for other things too, like maintaining your shields, using afterburners and so on. And after the battle (assuming you survived) you can collect the cargo destroyed ships were holding, and sell it on nearest (or some other) base.
Now we accidentally got to the other part of this game, which is visiting the bases built in space. There're mining bases, agricultural planets, pleasure bases, refinery bases, pirate bases and some special bases. While you're visiting these bases, you'll be able to trade different items, repair/upgrade your ship, accept new missions, recruit wingmen and so on. As you propably have realized in real world, money is often the thing that makes difference. So it is in this game. You need money for ship upgrades - and there's plenty of them. You'll get money from trade (if you do it wisely, it is hardly profitable to buy grain from mining base and sell it on agricultural planet...) and from missions. (Or from selling parts from your spaceship - which is not really clever since usually you wish to GET parts, not sell them.) The best way to earn money is taking some missions. There's roughly 2 types of missions, cargo delivering, and fighting missions. Well, also cargo delivering missions often turn out to be fighting missions due to retros and pirates. More about those later. These missions may occur in the system where you're currently located, or in some other star systems. At first you can only participitate in system missions due to the fact that your craft does not have jump drive at start. (you need to buy it in order to jump from one system to another).
Well Well Well. Then something about the 'Gemini Sector'. Space in privateer consists mostly of empty space, in which some 'star systems' are thrown. Star systems on the other hand consist mostly of empty space, in which some bases and jump points are thrown... I assume you get the picture :) Oh, and in some systems there may also be a cloud of asteroids between/surrounding bases... Well, that empty space does not bother you too much though, since inside one system you can set some base / jump point as target, and just switch on your autopilot. And travelling between systems is made easy - thanks to technology - just fly to the jump point and start your jumpdrive :) One thing a large universe makes possible (according to some people that is) is a variety of different races / people. In Privateer there is actually only 2 races visible - humans and kilrathis. Naturally these 2 races are at war. However, you need not be in the war, you're a freelance pilot for gods sake, not in the military! You can choose who you wish to be your enemies. Humans are (as in real world) divided into groups. There are groups of football hooligans, idiots, fancypants, yuppies... errm, actually there isn't. But there are groups of retros, pirates, merchants, bounty hunters, militia and confederation and S... (find that out yorself ;) ). All other groups are quite self explatonary except retros. Retros are religious freaks, who believe that technology is the root of all evil. They're nice in the sense that they're not biased. They hate and try to kill everybody flying near to them. So basically Wing Commander Privateer is about adrenaline pumping spacefights, taking missions which pay well but are not too hard for you and your ship, buying upgrades and...
...and amazing but true - great plot. (Although the lack of working animations in linux version of privateer remake took away quite a bit from it :( ) Background story goes somewhat along the lines:
You're orphaned after your closest relatives were killed violently. From your old man you've inherited an old space ship, and decided to make a living out of flying. The game has a quite interesting plot consisting of nice missions which will lead your way through fiery battles and fame... I won't reveal more of the plot since it is quite nice to find out for yourself. However the plot is strong enough to keep you glued to your computer screen flying hundreds of seemingly similar battles. Remake adds some new items which you can buy, but the plot has remained the same as far as I remember. Even though the plot is what will eventually make you to play this game for hours, you're not forced to follow the plot. You can simply just fly missions which do not tie into the plot, or just be attacking merchants.
The original privateer was yet another game in Wing Commander series, released in 1993 or 1994. As said Privateer made an clear exception to previous games, since now you did not play as a confederation pilot but as a freelance pilot. As a freelancer you can choose your 'lifestyle' to be similar to a pirate's, bounty hunter's (privateer's), merchant's, kilrathi's... Or mixture of those. With this I mean that you can choose your enemies and friends, by accepting different type of missions or by attacking merchant ships and stealing their cargos.
Graphichs are quite excellent and still similar to original graphics. Sounds are good too, and so is playability. I do not know if game is playable with joystick or pad, but for old school gamers like myself the keyboard fits just fine :) However I faced some bugs with the Linux version which I played, nothing fatal but admittably annoying. There is also another remake of privateer called 'privateer gemini gold', which follows more stricly the original privateer.
Difficulty level has this far been quite near to original (I've played with easy, not easiest level). I remember I fought with Oxford missions in original privateer too... As well as with breaking Palan's blockade. Getting started is easier in the remake though. In case you have not been playing original privateer, I'd say an average player could finish this game in a few days with easy (not easiest) level. Naturally you can select difficulty levels from insanely hard to too easy.
Finally I MUST bring out the fact, that for once the linux installation was simple. Actually it could not get any simpler. I simply ran the script which is in the package, and it brought out (admittably windows stylish) setup screen. I simply selected the desired installation path, and a place for the symbolic link, and the binary was ready to be run.
Fedora Core 5,
512 MB RAM 400 MHz
ATI Radeon 9600 SE + ATI linux drivers
This game is a remake of "Wing Commander: Privateer" from 1993. You take the role of a space captain with an old ship who travels the universe to make some money. The game isn't very linear and leaves you the freedom of choice how to do so: Will you become a peaceful merchant, a pirate or a mercanary that performs various missions for the Confederation or the Kilrathi? Of course there's also a plot in the background, but it's up to you if you want to... (read more)
CWF Crew rating:
(4 of 6)