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Old 09-21-2008, 01:26 PM   #1
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Turning The Spigot: The Obscure Game Awareness Thread - Week 18

Sometimes you just want to get away. If you're the kind of person who likes to get away to the edge of space, then you'll be interested in the subject of this week's Turning The Spigot thread.

Tachyon: The Fringe


Platform: PC
Year: 2000
Rating: Boomstickalicious

Hands up if you like space sims.

Now keep them up if you've played any new ones in the last 5-6 years.

I thought so.

It's somewhat sad that the one burgeoning space combat genre has fallen into such disrepute over the past several years. It could be chalked up to the rise of consoles and the decline of people wanting to pay top dollar for flight sticks that have yaw and pitch controls, but whatever the reason, the PC space sim is essentially dead.

Which is why it's a good thing we have such gems as Freespace 2 or, in this week's case, Tachyon: The Fringe to keep us entertained when we want to go blast some baddies in deep space.

Tachyon is set in a large portion of space that is outside of the direct supervision of the Earth space admiralty. You play as one Jake Logan, a guy so cool he has his own wikipedia entry. Of course, one of the reasons he's so cool is the fact that he's voiced by none other than one Mr. Bruce Campbell, a lesser known actor that you probably have never heard of.

Bruce Campbell does his trademark deadpan delivery and has a lot of great lines in the game. He also does a fantastic job of making you actually care about Jake Logan and all of his adventures. Speaking of which, there is a LOT of adventure to be had in this game. After being banished to the fringe, you start off the game as a bit of a freelancer, doing jobs for either the monolithic GalSpan corporation or the rugged and individualistic Bora Colonies. The storyline evolves as you do more and more jobs for these and other factions and eventually you will be forced to declare your allegiance to one of the two main groups.

The game has a relatively realistic physics engine, where you can maintain a forward vector while spinning the ship in place to shoot at things around you. A lot of space sims rely on having you fly a plane in space, which isn't terribly realistic... but that's splitting hairs. Suffice it to say that the game does a great job of easing you into the somewhat different style of spaceflight and won't overwhelm you with 300 different inputs.

The game's visuals have held up rather well give its age and there is a great variety in the style of ships that you'll encounter and fly. Add to this the sheer sense of scale that exudes from the enormous space stations and cap ships and you've got a game that comes close to instilling that sense of awe as you fly past a space station that Freespace 2 pulled off so well in its cap ship battles.



That video shows the first mission/tutorial and shows why Jake was exiled to the fringe.

Tachyon: The Fringe is available on Gametap and is going for about $15-20 used on Amazon.com.
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Week 1 - Incredible Crisis - PS1
Week 2 - Blood Will Tell - PS2
Week 3 - Skygunner - PS2
Week 4 - Chibi Robo - GC
Week 5 - Shadow Hearts: Covenant - PS2
Week 6 - Anachronox - PC
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Week 10 - Ribbit King - Multi (PS2, GC)
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Week 12 - Shadow Of Destiny - PS2 and PC
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Week 14 - Moonbase Commander - PC
Week 15 - Penumbra: Overture and Penumbra: Black Plague
Week 16 - Galapagos: Mendel's Escape
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Old 09-21-2008, 02:38 PM   #2
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Cool, I can't remember this and I love space sims. Freespace 1 & 2 are among my all time favorites. Maybe I should get my hands on this...

Why can't someone make a new epic space sim? I need one
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:14 PM   #3
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You did not mention wing commander once...I'm in shock.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
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You did not mention wing commander once...I'm in shock.
Bah. Compared to the excellence and majesty that is Freespace 2, Wing Commander is but a pale shadow.

That, and they haven't made a new one in ages.

You'd think that with all of the WWII flying games on the consoles that someone would get off their duff and make a decent space sim. I understand that the PC space sim market is probably a mere fraction of what it was in the heyday of the late 80's - mid 90's. That doesn't mean you can't translate the experience to the consoles in some state.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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Actually, Dark Star One came out not too long ago. It isn't specifically a space fighter game, but it is VERY close. There is a new one coming out, soon. (went gold, last week, I think). They are kind of obscure, but still being made.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:30 PM   #6
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Interesting. That name sounds familiar, so I'll have to go do some digging.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:30 PM   #7
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As a long time space fighter game lover its good to see the genre getting some love good job Spigot. I'd agree the physics in Tachyon were pretty good but they don't touch Mantis. Now that game rocked at the time.
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Old 09-21-2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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Yes indeed, to few space sims the last couple of years. It's only really been the X series. Funny enough, the next game is getting released in the beginning of October (Along with way to many other games sadly).
X3: Terran conflict should have a lot of improvements over X3: Reunion, so fingers crossed. Could do with a new and proper space sim.
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:24 PM   #9
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I vaguely remember this game but I must not have played it much because vaguely is the key word there.
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Old 09-21-2008, 08:31 PM   #10
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oh come now, wing commander 3 was incredible....the way they put everything together really worked. One of origins finest games, I think 1 to 3 are classics, that although free space had good combat did not offer even close to the story that the wing commander games had.
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:17 PM   #11
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I had fun with this game, and not just because I'm obsessed with BC. I think I got to the last level and couldn't beat it, but the journey was worth it for all the Bruce dialogue.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:16 PM   #12
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oh come now, wing commander 3 was incredible....the way they put everything together really worked. One of origins finest games, I think 1 to 3 are classics, that although free space had good combat did not offer even close to the story that the wing commander games had.
Aye. Wing Commander 3 was probably my favourite of the series and the only one I played to completion.

But it came out in 1994. I was trying to make a point that there haven't been many good space sim games released in the last decade (Freespace 2 only barely squeaks in having been released in 1999).

And while it might not have had the space opera story that WC3 had, I actually liked the almost horror-style saga portrayed in both Freespace games (esp. Freespace 2) more than the campy 'Death Cats From Planet Furballia' that is the Wing Commander storyline

Plus Freespace 2 had much, MUCH more impressive cap ship battles.
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:42 PM   #13
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Tachyon *ruled*. That and Independance War 2 are two of my all time favorite space sims. IWar2 had so much potential, and some of the best mods ever.
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Old 09-22-2008, 12:02 AM   #14
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Hehe I have this game and I really liked it. Sadly I was not able to finish it due to an insanly hard mission towards the end that I keept failing.
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:36 AM   #15
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I remember playing this. Dwelling on the experience, i can see how those years were the golden age of space sims, you had IW1 & 2, Freespace 1&2, Starlancer, Tachyon.

These last few years, i cant recall if there has been any memorable space sims, apart from the crap coming out from eastern Europe.
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:58 AM   #16
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Really cool cover art. Um, yeah...that's it...
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:24 AM   #17
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Really cool cover art. Um, yeah...that's it...
Tell me how you REALLY feel, Purple Santa!

Don't worry. I've got a couple other games that might be more up your alley.
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Old 09-22-2008, 05:30 AM   #18
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I still own Tachyon. It's a good game.
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Old 09-22-2008, 06:52 AM   #19
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I remember this one. I do not remember it being well reviewed at release. I believe it was continuously compared to iWar2 and it could not compete.

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Old 09-28-2008, 04:42 PM   #20
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The new post be up. I hope it's obscure enough for you!
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