European Windows cover art
|Developer(s)||Ascaron Entertainment ltd.|
|Publisher(s)||CDV Software, Kalypso Media|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
|Genre(s)||Space trading and combat simulator|
|Distribution||CD-ROM/DVD-ROM, digital distribution, cloud computing|
The PC version of the game was officially released on June 16, 2006 in the European Union, August 14, 2006 in North America and subsequently digitally via (GOG.com) on December 17, 2006 (English only), and (DotEmu) on May 19, 2008 (English, French, German). The Xbox 360 version was released on July 20, 2008 under the title Darkstar One: Broken Alliance by Kalypso Media, featuring 1080p and improved gameplay.
The DarkStar One is an advanced starship interceptor built by the late father of the protagonist, Kayron Jarvis. In the beginning, Robert (a friend of Kayron's father) gives Kayron the starship after his father's death. Robert tells Kayron to train with Arin, a friend of Robert on board the DarkStar One. After the training, Robert tells Kayron about the real reason behind his father's death. His father's ship had been sabotaged by Jack Forrester, a friend of his father. During an escort mission, Kayron's father could not control his ship and inevitably died under enemy attack, resulting Jack becoming the prime suspect of his father's death.
While Kayron sets out to hunt down Jack, a series of attacks occur against stations and facilities across the Galactic Union. The ships, or drone as they are called, appear to be a completely unknown type of vessel and Robert confronts the Galactic Council claiming that they are of Thul origin.
In a state of heightened tension, military assets within the Galactic Union are moved to the borders of the different races' territories. Unfortunately this leads to an escalation of an ongoing border conflict between the Arrack and Oc'to, an increase in smuggling in more far flung systems and a higher instance of pirate activity within the various regions. All these events, along with other more personal ones, hamper Kayron's search.
Soon Kayron makes contact with Eona, a previous associate of Jack's. A beautiful woman with a checkered past, her contacts within the underworld are a great help to Kayron and with aid from smugglers, black marketeers and pirates he's soon on the right track, only for Eona to get kidnapped and needing to be rescued. After a series of black market dealings and escort missions, as well as betrayal and backstabbing, Eona returns to the DarkStar One, much to Kayron's relief.
Further missions and contacts provided by Eona lead Kayron across the galaxy, encountering a number of problems which have to be overcome, from smuggling equipment onto besieged stations, destroying capital ships to prevent their capture by rebels and helping provide discovers a galactic conspiracy and along with the help of the friends he's made during his travels fights to overcome them. Once Kayron and Eona reach the far end of the galaxy and cross into Thul territory they find Jack waiting for them. Kayron threatens to kill Jack but then Jack says that he has been lied to.
He tells Kayron that it was not him that killed his father, but instead, it was Robert. He also tells them that the Thul are not behind the attacks. When Eona asks him who it was, Jack's answer is "Well, let me show you". They jump to a deserted system and see a gigantic ship, and Jack tells them that this ship belongs to a secret race called "The Skaa".
With some help from his friends who he meets over his travels including a Thul capital ship, he manages to create a gap in the Skaa ships shields with his plasma cannon, shortly after Robert tells them how. Kayron maneuvers through the ships maze-like outer hull and into the core. After destroying the core he flees from the fire and flies out to space.
The Skaa try to escape by activating a portal but as the Skaa pass half way through the portal in their emergency ship Kayron destroys one of the beams that forms the portal thereby destroying the Skaa ship with the closing of the portal. Eona leaves the ship afterward and programs the ship's computer with her voice so that Kayron will, "Never be alone". The message log says "No more story missions available".
The galaxy is divided into 23 sectors which contain 331 systems. There are seven races in the galaxy, however only six have territories. These are Terrans, Mortok, Raptor, Oc'to, Arrack, and Thul. In Terran territory there is Galactic Union council in Sol System, Alpha Centauri cluster.
Terrans created the Galactic Union after the great galactic war in which they suffered severe losses. However, even now there are still disputes between Oc'to and the Arrack about the borders, and slight mistrust between Raptor and Mortok who only recently ended the war between each other. Furthermore, because of drone attacks, the Thul have become isolated in their two sectors, while the rest of the galaxy slowly prepares for war.
The game is divided into different action role-playing-type quests. These are main storyline quests, side quests, and missions which can be taken from Space Stations - Which can further be broken down into missions which includes freighter escort, transportation, bounty hunting, spying or taking photos of space objects. In addition, the player is also able to trade, mine, or liberate star systems from space pirates.
The DarkStar One
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DarkStar One has some action role-playing elements in it, which are reflected by the ship's properties.
The ship, DarkStar One, is built consisting of organic material and is upgraded by absorbing alien artifacts that are scattered across the universe usually found inside large asteroids. The artifacts will allow the player to enhance the ship with more attributes. Artifacts add visible parts to the exterior of the ship, special DarkStar One powers and abilities, and upgrades to the interior of the ship such as better engines, weapons, and hull integrity.
The ship consists of four upgradeable parts: the hull, wings, engines and plasma cannon. Every time sufficient artifacts are recovered, the player is given the opportunity to upgrade one of the first three along with upgrading the plasma cannon as well.
Although the ship gains an increase in its maximum hitpoints with each level, the hull upgrades give a significantly greater increase making a ship where hull upgrades have been made a priority far tougher and more resilient in combat. Along with this, hull upgrades also allow for turrets to be mounted, and once sufficient upgrades have been purchased also provide an increase to the damage caused by the turrets. Hull upgrades also increase the ship's ability to mount higher level weapons, components and equipment at a faster rate than the other upgrades, and the player must concentrate on hull upgrades to unlock the highest levels of these.
The wings aid in the maneuverability of the DarkStar One, along with being the mounting hardpoints for the forward firing main weapons. By upgrading them, the ship becomes more agile, able to turn faster and increasing the effect of the thrusters. Later upgrades also provide a boost to the damage caused by the main weapons. Upgrades also increase the maximum number of weapons the ship can mount, along with missile launchers should the player decide to fit them.
The engines provide the main power generation for the ship and by upgrading them the various weapon power, thruster and plasma weapon power supplies replenish more quickly. Essential when the ship is mounted with higher level weapons and equipment, these upgrades also provide a boost to the afterburners at higher levels.
The plasma cannon, playing the part analogous to magic in medieval-setting ARPGs, is described as a unique weapon within the DarkStar One universe and can be used to provide a number of different attacks and abilities. These include weapon power boost, shield boost, weapon disabling attack, shield disabling attack, timeshock attack (which disables ships in the area around the DarkStar One) and the invulnerable plasma shield. Only the weapon boost is initially available with the others unlocked as the game progresses. Once all 100 artifacts have been recovered, the plasma cannon also unlocks a zero-point drive which is an unlimited range hyperspace engine.
DarkStar One received positive to mixed reviews, scoring 71/100 on Metacritic based on 33 reviews. The graphics were often praised, but the gameplay was not. GameSpot lauded its accessibility and simplicity while ActionTrip derided it as overly simplistic and repetitive. The game was frequently compared to other space sims including Elite, Freelancer, and the X series.
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