by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Starshatter: The Gathering Storm is the sequel to the original Starshatter game that was released in July of 2004. Like its predecessor, it is a sci-fi space combat simulation and is currently under development by Destroyer Studios. The game will build on what the original started back in 2004 and which means that the focus will be on adding elements that may have been left out due to budget restraints the first time around.
The game was intended to be user modable from its inception and due to its nature, it has proven to be very popular with the mod crowd. This incarnation will build on that aspect as well. The tools are included on the disk and if you feel like developing your own campaigns, design new weapons or ships then you will be able to design to your heart's content.
It started with...
Naturally, that is not to say that you will have to design a campaign before you can start playing. The game comes with several campaigns included that, when combined, give you the objective to win a war against aggressors of your little sector of space. Don't worry, I won't leave you hanging there: I'll explain a bit of the background story.
It all started around the year 7007 after a small band of Earthlings left their home world for the stars. They managed to travel a few thousand light years, encountered a lush but small planet, and colonized it. Hundreds of years later, it was again time to go out and explore once again. They expanded their domain to the surrounding areas and developed many more colonies on other worlds. Along the way they met other civilizations, mostly friendly, and were able to establish lucrative trade routes with them. It almost sounds like, but most definitely is not, 'happily ever after'. Mankind's own aggressive nature got in the way and before long, things began to heat up.
This is where you come in. You can choose between two career paths in your quest to save the human kind. The first option lets you take on the role of a fighter jock, which sounds like fun but not overly ambitious. The second option will have you commanding a full-blown starship. While the type of mission will vary depending on your choice, both career paths will have you scooting around the galaxy on one errand or another.
For the fighter pilot, missions will vary from patrols and bomber escorts to ground strikes and the almost impossible endeavor of attacking a capital ship. If you prefer to be a starship CO you can expect to go on missions that will pit you and a fleet of friendly ships against enemy fleets. You will go on escort missions, perform fighter ops and you might even be required to form a blockade. Yes it is true; us military folks are often required to do the dirty jobs.
The game won't throw you into the fire right from the start though. You will need to gain experience and rank by successfully completing missions before being given a fleet to command. The same holds true if you choose to become a fighter pilot only here you are limited to commanding squadrons rather than battleships.