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DarkStar One is a space simulation computer game developed by Ascaron and published by CDV. The game was officially released in June 16, 2006 in the European Union and August 14, 2006 in North America.
The DarkStar One is a unique and advanced starship built by the murdered father of the player's character, Kayron Jarvis. In the beginning of the storyline, Robert gives Kayron the DarkStar One some time after his father's actual death. He tells him to train with the DarkStar One alongside Arin, a friend of Robert, hence the tutorial. After the training, Robert tells Kayron about the real reason behind his father's death. His father's ship had been sabotaged by a friend of his father. Consequently, in an escort mission, Kayron's father could not control his ship and he inevitably died under enemy attack. Apparently, the DarkStar One was left for Kayron.
Robert also provided Kayron with the name of the prime suspect to the sabotage, and hence his father's murder, one Jack Forrester. Kayron sets out to hunt down Jack, who has recently left Terran space. As the player begins to follow Jack's trail, jumping from system to system inquiring about people who've had contact with Jack, a series of attacks occur against stations and facilities across the Galactic Union. The ships, or drone as they are called, appear to be a completely unknown type of vessel and Robert confronts the Galactic Council claiming that they are of Thul origin.
In a state of heightened tension, military assets within the Galactic Union are moved to the borders of the different races' territories. Unfortunately this leads to an escalation of an ongoing border conflict between the Arrack and Oc'to, an increase in smuggling in more far flung systems and a higher instance of pirate activity within the various regions. All these events, along with other more personal ones, hamper Kayron's search.
Soon he makes contact with a previous associate of Jack's called Eona (pictured on box cover.) A beautiful woman with a checkered past, her contacts within the underworld are a great help to Kayron and with aid from smugglers, black marketeers and pirates he's soon on the right track, only for Eona to get kidnapped and needing to be rescued. After a series of black market dealings and escort missions, as well as betrayal and backstabbing, Eona returns to the DarkStar One, much to Kayron's relief.
Further missions and contacts provided by Eona lead Kayron across the galaxy, encountering a number of problems which have to be overcome, from smuggling equipment onto besieged stations, destroying capital ships to prevent their capture by rebels and helping provide discovers a galactic conspiracy and along with the help of the friends he's made during his travels fights to overcome them. Once Kayron and Eona reach the far end of the galaxy and cross into Thul territory they find Jack waiting for them. Kayron threatens to kill Jack but then Jack says that he has been lied to.
He tells that it was not him that killed his father, but instead, it was Robert. He also tells them that the Thul are not behind the attacks. When Eona asks his who it was, Jack's anwer is "Well, let me show you". They jump to a deserted system and see a gigantic ship, and Jack tells them that this ship belongs to a secret race called "The Skaa".
With some help from his friends who he meets over his travels including a Thul capital ship, he manages to create a gap in the Skaa ships shields with his plasma cannon, shortly after Robert tells them how. Kayron maneuvers through the ships maze-like outer hull and into the core. After destroying the core he flees from the fire and flies out to space.
The Skaa try to escape by activating a portal but as the Skaa pass half way through the portal in their emergency ship Kayron destroys one of the beams that forms the portal thereby destroying the Skaa ship with the closing of the portal. Eona leaves the ship afterward and programs the ships computer with her voice so that Kayron will, "Never be alone". The message log says "No more story missions available". And Kayron continues to travel through the galaxy. So basically the game never ends.
The DarkStar One
The ship, DarkStar One, is built consisting of organic material and is upgraded by absorbing alien artifacts that are scattered across the universe usually found inside large asteroids. The artifacts will allow the player to enhance the ship with more attributes. Artifacts add visible parts to the exterior of the ship, special DarkStar One powers and abilities, and upgrades to the interior of the ship such as better engines, weapons, and hull integrity.
The ship is composed of four parts. The hull, wings, engines and plasma cannon. Every time sufficient artifacts are recovered the player is given the opportunity to upgrade one of the first three along with upgrading the plasma cannon as well.
Although the ship gains an increase in its maximum hitpoints with each level, the hull upgrades gives a significantly greater increase making a ship where hull upgrades have been made a priority far tougher and more resilient in combat. Along with this hull upgrades also allow for turrets to be mounted, and once sufficient upgrades have been purchased also provide an increase to the damaged caused by the turrets. Hull upgrades also increase the ships ability to mount higher level weapons, components and equipment at a faster rate than the other upgrades, and only by concentrating on hull upgrades can you unlock the highest levels of these.
The wings aid in the maneuverability of the DarkStar One, along with being the mounting hardpoints for the forward firing main weapons. By upgrading them the ship becomes more agile, able to turn faster and increasing the effect of the thrusters. Later upgrades also provide a boost to the damage caused by the main weapons. Upgrades also increase the maximum number of weapons the ship can mount, along with missile launchers should the player decide to fit them.
The engines provide the main power generation for the ship and by upgrading them the various weapon power, thruster and plasma weapon power supplies replenish more quickly, Essential when the ship is mounted with higher level weapons and equipment, these upgrades also provide a boost to the afterburners at higher levels.
The plasma cannon is described as a unique weapon within the DarkStar One universe and can be used to provide a number of different attacks and abilities. These include weapon power boost, shield boost, weapon disabling attack, shield disabling attack, timeshock attack (which disables ships in the area around the DarkStar One) and the invulnerable plasma shield. Only the weapon boost is initially available with the others unlocked as the game progresses. Once all 100 artifacts have been recovered the plasma cannon also unlocks a zero-point drive which is an unlimited range hyperspace engine.
The game universe
The player is able to travel through up to 300 solar systems in more than 20 clusters. The game consists of six races within the game universe: the Terran, the Mortok, the Raptor, the Oc'to, the Arrack, and the Thul. Each race has unique ships, weapons, space stations, and battle tactics. All of these races, except for the Thul, are part of the Galactic Union, a UN-like body formed by the Terran after the galactic war, which had left the Terran empire in ruins and had made them very vulnerable to attacks.
Relations between the races are friendly overall, with only a few individual groups still holding grudges from the war, for example, the Raptor and Mortok combat each other subversively. The main problems are between the Oc'to and the Arrack, who are engaged in border disputes, and the Thul who since the war have remained isolated from the rest of the galaxy, mainly due to their development of science along lines considered unethical and immoral by the Galactic Union.
DarkStar One received positive to mixed reviews, scoring 71/100 on Metacritic based on 33 reviews. The graphics were often praised, but the gameplay was not. GameSpot lauded its accessibility and simplicity while ActionTrip derided it as overly simplistic and repetitive. The game was frequently compared to other space sims including Elite, Freelancer, and the X-Series.
- ↑ DarkStar One for PC - GameRankings. GameRankings.
- ↑ DarkStar One (pc) reviews at Metacritic.com. Metacritic.
- ↑ Darkstar one Review from 1UP.com. 1UP.
- ↑ Darkstar one Review. ActionTrip.
- ↑ DarkStar One Review. Eurogamer.
- ↑ DarkStar One for PC - Reviews. G4TV.
- ↑ DarkStar One Review. GameSpot.
- ↑ IGN: DarkStar One Review. IGN.