Tachyon: The Fringe

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a game by NovaLogic
Platform: PC (2000)
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Old School Games, Cult Classic Games, Space Games

The late 90s and early 2000s were definitely the age of the space combat simulator. With games like Star Wars X-Wing, Privateer and Wing Commander flying through space blasting hapless enemies was definitely at an all-time high. Aside from the well-known titles, there were some that flew a bit under the radar yet were still incredibly solid game for their time. Tachyon: The Fringe was one of these games. A stellar space simulator, this game had all of the familiar trappings popularized by the bigger titles as well as a few tricks of its own.

Jump into the cockpit as we take a blast to the past to see what was great about Tachyon: The Fringe.

Choose Your Space Faction

One feature that set Tachyon: The Fringe apart from its brethren was its choice of faction. The story takes place in a colonized segment of space where the main protagonist finds themselves right in the middle of a war between two factions: the Bora and the Galactic Span.

By siding with either of these factions, you gain opposing insights and perspectives of the story. As an ally to the Bora, you want to disrupt the GalSpan’s influence and allow the species to live freely. Take the GalSpan’s side, however, and you see the Bora as a terrorist group and ultimately aim to drive them away from GalSpan interests.

Flight Flexibility

Where most space combat simulators tend to follow the same control paradigm as regular flying, Tachyon: The Fringe provides players with more movement flexibility. Aside from the usual forward thrust and banking, your spacecraft can move backwards as well as strafe. All of this is accomplished thanks to the game’s unique “sliding” mechanic. This mechanic also makes generally controlling your craft smoother which also makes combat and dogfighting more satisfying and enjoyable.

Missions Galore

Tachyon: The Fringe doesn’t want to push you into making a faction decision right off the bat. Thanks to its mission-based structure, you can choose to take on missions from a variety of neutral factions that have no influence on the main narrative. While the story does progress, you can still keep your distance from either faction until you make the ultimate decision when the game forces you to make a choice. This was an interesting approach to storytelling as it gave players the opportunity to feel out each faction before deciding. It also enabled more uniqueness in multiple playthroughs.

The Bottom Line

Tachyon: The Fringe may be an old-timer but it’s one of those titles that are worth checking out if you missed out. While it may not have aged as well, the story is quite gripping and demands at least two playthroughs to get the full perspective form each faction.


If you’ve been itching for some space combat sim action, give this one a go.


  • Two factions with two unique perspectives to the story.
  • Players aren’t forced to choose a faction until they’re ready or during the later parts of the game.
  • Uniquely flexible space movement makes combat smoother and more engaging.


  • Graphics and art style feel outdated.

Download Tachyon: The Fringe


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Like the excellent Privateer, and Elite before that, Tachyon is one of those freeform, do-what-you-like space sims where you're a mercenary travelling the Fringe looking for ways to earn cash and buy yourself a bigger ship and groovier weapons.

The Fringe is a pan of the universe that's being fought over between the Bora Rebels and the powerful GalSpan Corporation. As a mercenary, you obviously don't give a toss about the politics of the situation, so you can join either side depending on whether you want to be a defender of oppressed peoples or bully-boy corporate gangster (or you could base your choice on who has the prettiest ships).

The open-ended format of Tachyon is something that has been lacking from space sims for a long time and, if the gameplay, graphics and general atmosphere of Tachyon turn out as expected, NovaLogic could have a real winner on their hands.

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