Battlestar Galactica: Beyond The Red Line Review
Battlestar Galactica, the cheesy ’70s space opera, has been remade for the noughties. Gone are the polyester robes and plastic star cruisers, in comes political intrigue and breathtaking battle scenes. If you haven’t already seen it, you should. Beyond The Red Line is a 3D space shoot-em-up based on this new, grittier BSG. Built on the space battle simulation engine FreeSpace 2, the first demo for the Mac has just been made available.
FreeSpace 2 started life as commercial software, but the source code was released to non-profit developers in 2002. Since then, the original game has continued development and there are several full conversions available, while FreeSpace 2 itself is available to download from www.edgefiles.com.
We’re talking about Beyond The Red Line here though, which is a real treat whether or not you’re a fan of the TV series. Of course, if you are, you’ll thrill at the chance to fly a Mark VII Colonial Viper through the stars, past beautifully rendered planets with a Cylon Raider chasing your tail.
Though based on an arcade-style space sim, Beyond The Red Line adds complexity to the flight system. The demo comes with a campaign of three single-player missions that thankfully begin with basic training. Those Raiders move fast, proving difficult targets to destroy with sidearm fire only. It may be time to dust off that old joystick if you have one – we soldiered on with a combination of keyboard commands and mouse control. The breakneck action’s balanced evenly with the suspense of patrolling with your wingmen, with impressively realised comms chatter crackling away in the background.
With frantic gameplay, superb ship modelling and atmospheric music, this open-source effort captures the feel of the TV series perfectly.