I get my final mission from Cross which is to go and explore another system attached to the last one I explored. Theres something funny going on here as I can’t make that many jumps and get back again.
Flying out to the system is not a major problem, a few random encounters and when I get there it just has the one nav point. Of most interest is an unidentified ship floating in space.
This thing is huge and when I get nearer its clearly not in the best of shape.
When I get close enough I land and have a look about.
There is only one thing to do here and thats examining an ancient fighter and remove one of its guns.
I’d have thought I’d need to get someone to fit it but when I launch one of my guns is now green and does a lot more damage.
The major downside to this is that I’m now being chased by that glowing green ship that we last saw in the games introduction. This thing is impossible to shake off and I can’t damage it. The best I can do is afterburn until it hovers 5000m from me. This leaves me afterburning across whole systems to try to get to the nav point. The asteroids don’t help here but worse still there is a bug in the game where if you enter a nav area not in autopilot, half the time your shields go down to nothing for no reason. This leaves me fighting through asteroids with no shields and an unstoppable ship on my tail. Not to mention the hits I take jumping out. To make this worse as soon as I jump out I have to fight 4 pirates in an asteroid belt. After a few attempts I limp through then hang around to repair before I leave for the next nav. I keep running into the drone but at least there are no more asteroids.
Cross doesn’t give me anything to go on so I’m just left to explore for a bit.
There is a naval base I come across but there is nothing new to do here. The alien ship is still following me around and I can’t shake the thing off.
I finally run into a woman who seems to think I’m testing weapons for the Kilrathi and wants me to go to the Perry naval base (where I just came from!) and talk to the admiral. I don’t seem to have a choice about this.
On the way there some retros take offense about my new gun. I burn past them and jump out before they have finished talking.
This time at the base I get let in to the admirals quarters.
They still think this alien is a Kilrathi weapon and want me to lure it into an ambush where they will destroy it. Sounds easy enough assuming their weapons have more effect than mine did.
Before I get to the ambush I run into another alien ship.
It seems all the myths about the aliens were true. The alien powers up my weapon and tells me I will now be able to use it to destroy the drone. I fly out to the ambush and the final battle is surprisingly easy after having such a hard time with some of the other missions. As soon as I blow up the drone a cutscene kicks in.
The drone explodes, the alien removes the derelict ship and I get to keep the nice new gun. The game itself isnt quite over yet. I go back to see the admiral.
I get a medal (but no ceremony) and get to keep being a Privateer. If I go back to talk to the admiral again I get a strange conversation introducing the credits for the game.
I’ve definitely enjoyed Privateer more than any game for a while. I went in with high expectations and its pretty much lived up to them. I’m glad the missions got harder near the end as I would have been complaining about the story campaign being too short and easy but in the end they got it about right. The presentation of the game was better than I’d hoped for also and it still looked and sounded amazing for 1993 but unfortunately not on the hardware most of us were using back then which is why its taken this long for me to play it again.
It has to be said that there isn’t really anything original about Privateer. Looking at other Origin games, it is little more more than Autoduel in space or Space Rogue with the Wing Commander engine. There are obvious comparisons to Elite also. It does however combine these elements in a way we haven’t seen before and does with style. It took Wing Commander and turned it into an RPG and I won’t be sorry to revisit it when I play its add-on pack.
There is a hidden extra in Privateer. One of the files in the game folder is named tabtne.vda – if you reverse it to advent.bat it creates a batch file which you can run to create a mini text adventure game (all working from dos batch files). This doesn’t work in dosbox or the XP command prompt though so I’ll have to leave trying it out for now.
Next: Bad Blood