Game Over Online ~ Tachyon: The Fringe

GameOver Game Reviews - Tachyon: The Fringe (c) Novalogic, Reviewed by - 2XHelix

Game & Publisher Tachyon: The Fringe (c) Novalogic
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 500MB HDD, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 71%
Date Published Friday, May 19th, 2000 at 02:58 PM

Divider Left By: 2XHelix Divider Right

Tachyon is another recent space simulator to hit the market. You play as Jake Logan, a character whose voice is done by none other than Bruce Campbell. For those who don't know Bruce Campbell, he is the star of the Evil Dead series. His voice acting in this game is superb. This causes Jake Logan's character to come alive and bring back the good memories of his movies. The background story of the Tachyon universe is that the large corporate companies are feuding with the fringe colonies over resources. Near the beginning of the game, Jake gets to choose which side to join in the conflict. From that point on, you get paid for flying missions, while the story line progresses. When you have earned enough cash, you can upgrade your ship, or buy other ships. The different ships you can purchase depends on which side you have chosen to join. You can guess the basic storyline from here on.

In Tachyon, vast distances of space can be traveled via the Tachyon gates. Flying into one of these gates allows you to somehow teleport to another sector. The supplies that allow these gates to work is what the corporation and the fringes are feuding over. The flight model of Tachyon is very basic. It does not give a true feel of what a space simulator should be. The style of gameplay Tachyon exhibits is a traditional arcade shooter game. One interesting feature of this game is the ability to slide. The slide maneuver keeps your ship heading the same way, however you are free to rotate. This becomes very effective if there is an enemy ship following behind you. You can continue to head one direction, but turn your ship around to attack. The power management is nothing new. You have to divide the ships power in the three main categories of shields, weapons and engine. The flight model has some problems when it comes to collision detection. I have seen that sometimes AI controlled ships can fly though solid other ships. Another problem is that a mission might require you to eliminate a group of pirates. One problem is that the AI enjoys running away during the heat of the battle. This causes some missions to drag on longer than they should. When you are not in combat, you will be stuck on a star base. Here you can look for new jobs, or you may upgrade your ship. Upgrading your ship is a simple task, where you click and drag the new weapons on to your existing ship. Proper selection of weapons is vital to the overall success of your mission. You may also elect to purchase new hardware for your ship, such as auto targeting or enhanced power supplies. One side note is that all the ships fly the same. There is no difference in the ability to turn or acceleration. The only difference is the number of pods for weapons and missiles.

The advantages of Tachyon include the ability to pick and choose which missions you want to fly. However a down fall to this is that eventually you have to fly certain missions. This means that the game almost follows a linear patter, with just a few side missions. You may elect to hire other wingmen for your missions however, I found this to be totally useless because the wingmen behave like the computer AI. Also it drastically cuts your share of the contract.

Graphically wise, Tachyon might turn off a lot of gamers, especially if you have played Starlancer or Freespace 2 in the past while. If you take a look at the screen shots you will see what I mean. Tachyon graphics remind me of those found in Wing Commander 2. They are not realistic enough because there is a problem with the texturing, the lack of anti-aliasing and the lack of effective lighting effects. I really did not like the explosions in Tachyon. They did not look or resemble anything like real explosions. Overall the graphics of Tachyon are poor, at times they can be considered average. A space simulator should excel in graphics, because it is typically the first thing gamers will look at.

Bruce Campbell and his supporting crew do an excellent job in voice acting. They bring a seemingly dead and boring game alive. Without them, Tachyon would just be another title found in the bargain bin. However, not all the sound effects were as good as the voice acting. In fact one of the worst sounds in the game is the firing sound. I believe that a space sim should first perfect the sound of firing lasers, since it is heard probably a million times. However, the laser fire in Tachyon sounds horribly low sampled. The quality in other effects such as ships flying close by, or sounds of the ship applying after burners is also very weak. The musical score to go with the game is equally as bad. It does not set the mood of the game. Though the voice acting might be superb, other effects are definitely lacking.

The multiplayer found in Tachyon is nowhere close the depth found in Allegiance. However, it does support playing online at NovaWorld. There are usually a few games playing, but multiplayer is definitely not a strong point in Tachyon.

Overall Tachyon is a game that has potential to be great, but falls short. They have misused Bruce Campbell's talents in this game. If you want to look for a real space sim, play others such as Starlancer. If you want an epic storyline with some freedom of choices wait for Freelancer. I would only recommend Tachyon to those who really want to hear Bruce Campbell or play his character.

[ 14/20 ] Graphics
[ 09/15 ] Sound
[ 23/30 ] Gameplay
[ 14/20 ] Fun Factor
[ 04/05 ] Multiplayer
[ 07/10 ] Overall Impression


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