Privateer 2 The Darkening
Written by Shigamoto   
Wednesday, 24 May 2006 takes a peak at Origin’s space freelance game in which you trade and battle your way to the top of the universe, is it still as fun as back in 1996? Read on to find out.

In Privateer 2 The Darkening you are Ser Lev Arris who just recently managed to get away from his brutal kidnappers. Now he has to work his way to the top through transporting goods to far-away galaxies.

The story is actually deeper than just a kidnapping; it also includes a gangster syndicate and a police force both wanting the entire galaxy. Origin also included some other cool sub-stories to the original story to keep the player entertained.

Privateer 2 is mainly a trading and battle game, similar to Hardwar or the Wing Commander series. But it also includes a deep story that is evolved through cut scenes and interactive movies (sort of like Phantasmagoria). The cut scenes are with today’s standards pretty low in quality, they are grainy and black stripes run over them. Origin hired a number of actors to play in the videos, for a computer game the acting is perfectly ok.

This game really takes off once you sit down in the cockpit of your intergalactic cargo ship (there are many to choose from by the way). You can also choose to hire wingmen to help you during your travels and also fit your ship with weapons and other equipment.

Each wingman has his own life story and is good at different things (or bad at everything). Most of the stories are actually quite nice to read and you get a good feeling for the character that you hire and sort of also invite into the game.

It really takes a while though for you to actually get into space. There are a number of plots and also fitting to go through. Once into space you meet different ships along the way (mostly traders, but also pirates and police). You can choose to attack, trade or just ignore them. Your decision will affect the rating and reputation you get among others.

The graphics in Privateer 2 are pretty nice once you get into space. The videos are quite terrible as I described earlier. However there are similar games with better in-game graphics, such as Hardwar.

Privateer 2 doesn’t have a unique concept; we’ve seen the same space trading features in a lot of other games. There are even games for the Palm Pilot using the same kind of concept (Space Trader). Origin has however managed to include a pretty nice story, the problem is that the space trading and traveling gets more like a secondary objective. This means that the game might appeal more to adventure gamers than players enjoying a good freelance game.

To get the game to install on Windows XP create a directory called c:\dark before starting the installation program. It will bypass the insufficient disk space message.

Related: Wing Commander III: The Heart of the Tiger, Tie Fighter
Developer: Origin Systems
Website for Game: N/A
Publisher: Electronic Arts
O/S: DOS, Windows 95/98
Cost of Full Game: N/A
Year of Release: 1996 (1997 for Windows 95 version)

Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM,
Tested on:
Pentium 4 2.4 GHz, 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon Graphics Card, Windows XP

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