by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Starshatters' graphics will be enhanced but one of the biggest improvements is being made in the sound system. Gone are the text-based conversations between game characters as the developers have added voice acting in place of the text sections. Weapons fire and other in-game sound effects have also been improved upon and all this adds greatly to the overal ambiance of the game. One of the most requested upgrades, however, comes in the form of a comprehensive upgrade to ship controls. They will now be completely user configurable. Additionally, many different joysticks, wheels and game pads can be used along with the standard keyboard and mouse interface.
Sim or arcade?
The first game had a highly detailed ship flight model. While the changes here aren't staggering, these models have been updated as well. Now you will be able to choose between three different flight models. The first is what they call the standard Newtonian flight model. In this model all of the ships will have both a linear and angular momentum because there is no drag in space. Of course your ship will be equipped with an onboard computer that will keep the ship going straight instead of flipping end over end. If you want to manually control the ship then simply hit the M key and you will be doing it all by yourself.
Using the second flight model will have your ship act much like an airplane in a regular flight sim. Drag, lift, gravity and angle of attack all play a role in this model. The last flight model is an arcade mode and the most simple, yet entertaining way to control your ship. Similar to other 'space shooters', your ship will always fly in the direction in which you are facing.
When I first saw this game it made me think about titles from the past such as Wing Commander and Elite. Similar to those 'greats of yesteryear', you will fly either a small fighter craft or command a huge starship. But there is a lot to this game that defies comparison.
The two career choices are a great addition, for instance. They differ enough to give the game a very high replay-value and when you throw in the custom player mods you might just find yourself at war for months, if not years to come.
The graphics, sounds, AI and flight models have been optimized and they are all ready to go. All you need to do now is to make sure that you have your space suit and helmet on, your ray gun at the ready and wait until the end of the year. Then you will be set to blast off on a mission to save the galaxy. That leaves only one more question: do they really have space suits and ray guns in the 70th century!?