The Days When the likes of Elite, Star Wars: X-Wingand Wing Commander were commanding high chart positions are long gone, but that hasn't stopped a steady stream of developers from buffing up the dented fuselage of the once-proud space combat genre. The latest are Russian codeshop Quazar, who have attempted to reassert the premise of Star Trek: Voyager, resuscitate the mission-based shootfest that was FreeSpace, and infuse the whole lot with some modern-era Battlestar Galactica credibility.
As is typical of the genre, you pretty much spend most of your time trying to line up red circles with your crosshairs, a process consisting of some high-speed dashes across space, speed matching, lots of shooting, then a quick stab of the key that finds a new target. It works though because not only are the backdrops lovely,
but space is littered with enough wrecks, asteroids, debris, stations and detritus, that battles feel much more vibrant and dynamic than they actually are.
In Translation Lost
In no way would you call Tarr Chronicles a simulation. Indeed, apart from a few ship customisation options there really isn't much to do apart from aim and shoot. The only other real challenge is to decipher some of the dialogue. To be fair, the script is more amusing than it is abysmal, but also distracting enough to assert the fact that Tarr Chronicles is series of action sequences strung together with cut-scenes more than it is a sweeping science-fiction adventure.
Perhaps the story would be better told if you didn't have to sit through cutscenes every time you had to restart a mission. Another easily-fixed issue is the omission of separate volume sliders for music and sound - you have to endure the sub-BSG tribal drumming and gibberish chanting, made more grating as it changes tempo in obvious ways.
Which is a shame because Tarr Chronicles is one of the better looking space games to appear. The arcade-style combat is fast-paced and the there are enough ship customisation options for those rainy hangar days. Those not expecting too much, who may be pining for an uncomplicated spin through familiar territory will certainly enjoy Tarr Chronicles, but it's no substitute for replaying the utterly fantastic and cheap, Freespace 2.
Download Tarr Chronicles
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP