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Privateer Remake

From the Database of Home of the Underdogs

GAME DESIGNER:Chris Roberts & Jason Winzenried

GAME DEVELOPER:Origin Systems

GAME PUBLISHER:Freeware

Copyright 2005, Unknown

Privateer Remake is a noble and largely successful attempt at updating Origin’s classic Wing Commander: Privateer to modern Windows-based computers without the need to fiddle with DOSBox to get the original game working (although the original game *does* work quite beautifully for me with DOSBox). If you have never played the original game before, you can read my review on this site for an overview of this Hall of Belate Fame entrant.

In addition to offering the full plot from the original game plus the one from Righteous Fire official add-on, this version’s developers added a bonus plot and many welcome features to the game. For example, you can hire wingmen in the game (like in Privateer 2), mine asteroids, use repair droids, and buy and sell ships with the ship dealers. You can also tell your turrets to auto-engage enemies in sight – a welcome addition that greatly lessens the frustration I have always felt in frantic dogfights. These, and numerous little additions throughout the game, makes Privateer Remake feel like a truly modern update of the old classic and not just a straight remake.

As you would expect from the great Vega Strike engine that this game is based on, the graphics in Privateer Remake are drop-dead gorgeous. All the ships, bases, and planets from the original game now look even better than in Privateer 2. Piloting the various ships, targeting, and navigating feel very much the way they did in the original game, and the explosions now look better than they ever did.

As good as Privateer Remake is, I can’t help but feel that a certain amount of charm in the original game has been lost in this modern remake. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason, but I suspect it is the combination of little things such as the lack of launch/landing video sequences, the impersonal new interfaces such as the mission computer and upgrade center that replace the old full-screen and more interactive interfaces (which someone told me is due to technical limitations involving bitmaps in the original game). The new fanmade plot also is not nearly as well-scripted nor interesting as the original story. All these little things make Privateer Remake less captivating than the original game. If you have never played Privateer before and don’t want to fiddle with DOS settings, this remake is a great start to a great series. However, for die-hard fans like me, fiddling with DOSBox and other programs to get the golden oldie running again is well worth the wait. This remake comes highly recommended, but is unfortunately not quite as ‘magical’ as the original was.



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