Privateer Gemini Gold 1.02a Review
A space combat simulator, the original Wing Commander played out like interactive fiction with predetermined resolutions plotted according to the player’s performance. Wing Commander 3 was notable as the first video game to feature specially filmed cut scenes, with a cast that included Mark Hammill of Star Wars fame. At the height of its notoriety there was even a movie made, joining Street Fighter and Mario Bros in the ignoble pantheon of games that should have stayed games.
Wing Commander Privateer Gemini Gold (to give its full, unwieldy title) is an open source remake of a late entry in the series. Although the gameplay is similar, combat isn’t the only way to battle through Privateer’s plot. In this offshoot, players can choose to become merchants, pirates or mercenaries in a scenario that’s more similar to the classic Elite (another old standard to get the remake treatment). Unlike Elite, Privateer follows a pre-set storyline to completion.
This version is built on the Vega Strike game engine, an original, open source game in its own right (see vegastrike.sourceforge.net).
Gemini Gold is a faithful remake of the original Privateer – with 1994 vintage graphics and gameplay intact. Don’t expect Half Life 2 style 3D accelerated effects. What this remake does capture, though, is the spirit of a game series that has had a lasting influence on the genre to this day.
Before you venture out into the black vacuum of space for the first time though, we advise a quick read of the bundled manual. Otherwise you could find yourself staring at a starfield feeling a little bit useless. There’s no in-game help to speak of.
Give Privateer Gemini Gold a spin if you’ve hankering for a rollicking space adventure with a side order of 90s nostalgia. It’s free and it’s fun.