"StarLancer" is a combat flight simulation video game. It was first released for the Sega Dreamcast in 2001 by Crave Entertainment. In the European marketplace, the title received a guidance rating which deemed it suitable for ages 11 and above.
StarLancer tells the tale of a futuristic intergalactic war. Players represent the lawful and positive "Alliance" who aim to neutralize the threat posed by the evil "Coalition". To do this the player must start from the bottom of a voluntary fighting rank who execute menial and often pointless defense missions. This involves defending central spaceships from oncoming Coalition assaults which I found to be very easy to complete, though equally as easy to stray too far from the object which I am supposed to be defending. As the player succeeds in these missions he or she will be assigned to attack fleets which assault Coalition points of interest.
Both processes are executed in an identical fashion with the player being placed at the helm of a powerful spaceship. He or she will guide this craft to specified points while engaging in combat with opposing forces. Enemies are located by using an on screen radar. Unfortunately, many instances guide the player to the nearest enemy in relation to the most recently targeted after it has been destroyed. This often led me far away from points which I was trying to defend and allowed the enemy a relatively hassle free experience in advancing towards unmanned Alliance spacecraft. Players must be aware of their surroundings at all times in the early stages as developing good gaming habits will provide an almost painstakingly easy gameplay experience when on assault based missions.
The graphics are presented from a first person perspective within the spacecraft. The numerous objects which litter the display give a very cluttered and disorganized appearance. Players will see a rectangular metallic shape which forms a sort of frame suggesting the outer area of the spacecraft, and in the centre of this is an obtuse crosshair which occupies a vast portion of the screen. Below this is the radar which takes up an equal portion in relation to the crosshair. Because of these numerous large features I often found it difficult to fully experience the surrounding area which did seem to be excellent in its presentation. Enemy spaceships are large and feature crisp, well polished models which don't seem to be distorted. The frame rate remains consistently smooth throughout play and I didn't come across any areas of obvious slowdown. The soundtrack is an acceptable implementation. By default, I found the music overwhelmed the backing sound effects which hindered the clarity of vocal cues being sent from fellow allies. Lowering the music volume before play is something I found to be essential as teammates will often radio messages which can contain critical information such as clear flight paths for advancing towards the enemy.
StarLancer is a passable video game. There is very little depth to the process and the early stages of mediocrity set a lull which doesn't relieve itself as the game goes on. It's possible that those who are interested in action based flight simulations may find this title pleasant, but more casual gamers may want to give this a miss.