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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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Ups: Realistic Physics, nice use of Force Feedback.
Downs: Requires The Great War and lots of disk space.
System Reqs:
Pentium-200 with 3D
accelerator (Glide or D3D only), 32 MB RAM, 8X CD-ROM, 500mb drive space.
ship1.gif (6010 bytes)Interplay’s release 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, accurate gaming.

species2.gif (9247 bytes)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 won’t 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 Threat’s missions are cool; that’s 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. They’ve also added new weapons and fighters, and there was even a capital ship that I don’t 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.

explode.gif (9905 bytes)Overall, Descent 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 don’t 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.

-Mike Conover