of Descent Freespace: The Great War last summer re-sparked my interest in space
simulators. Its stunning visuals, remarkable sound, and wide range of command options made
it the best space sim since Lucasarts TIE Fighter. Interplay continues the Freespace
story in its first expansion pack, Silent Threat. After your commendable
performance aboard the Galatea in DF: The Great War, you have been selected
to be a member of the elite: the Galactic Terran Intelligence. Your duty now is to go
behind enemy lines and conduct secret missions to maintain the fragile Terran-Vasudan
treaty established in the original DF. Like the original DF, Silent Threat has incredible graphics and
smoothness. Even with my Voodoo 1 card, the game ran great. I experienced no hang-ups or
jerkiness, even when my wing and I were taking on capital ships or flying through asteroid
fields. In software mode (no 3D acceleration), the game ran decently, though it did chop
up a bit with all the detail levels turned up. The excellent graphics team up well with
the intuitive heads-up display to provide easily understandable control and smooth,
The gameplay in Silent
Threat is, well, very similar to that of The Great War. The computer chooses your missions
for you, but each mission is dependent on your performance on earlier ones. For instance,
if you take out a Shivan capital ship in one mission, you wont see it appear in
later missions. This is a nice bit of realism and continuity that games often leave out.
Another nice feature of the DF games is the level of control you have over your wingmen.
In addition to the standard cover me or break and attack, DF and
DF: Silent Threat offer many more advanced commands such as attack subsystem,
capture target, request reloading ship, and protect
target. Silent Threat also has full support for the Sidewinder Force Feedback
joystick, which provides an even more realistic experience.
Silent Threats missions are
cool; thats all there is to it. And they packed this baby with 40 new ones (11 more
than were in the original game) for even more excitement and ass kicking than before. The
enemy AI is very good, so some of the missions can get extremely difficult. But for the
novice pilots, there are multiple difficulty levels, which should match any ability.
Theyve also added new weapons and fighters, and there was even a capital ship that I
dont recall seeing in The Great War.
The only real drawback to DF: Silent
Threat is that you must already have The Great War installed on your system in order to
play. This means that you will need almost 500 megabytes of disk space to install both the
original DF and the Silent Expansion.
Freespace: Silent Threat is a very nice game. It has great graphics and sound, a
reasonable plot, good control, and an intuitive interface. The missions are well designed,
and dont require that you have three hours at a time to sit down and play (though a
few missions will take more than one attempt to be successful). If you liked Descent
Freespace, I highly recommend Silent Threat.