The Dreamcast has been deprived of space combat-based games. Not anymore, introducing StarLancer, the first of its kind on Sega’s powerful platform. StarLancer is a port of the popular PC version and it works surprisingly well on a control pad.
In Starlancer you are a pilot in the ragtag aviation unit, the 45th volunteers squadron. Involved in a war in the 22nd century. The odds are stacked against you, but aren’t you used to that kind of scenario by now?
StarLancer is like a movie. It has an interesting, involving plot where you take the lead of the game. Although your team mates try their best, you always seem to get blamed when things go wrong. At the start of each mission you undergo a debriefing session that explains the mission objectives to you. Missions can range from simply eliminating the enemy threat, protecting a convey to locating a flight recorder.
The control method works really well for a console interpretation of a complicated PC game. The triggers control speed and the analogue stick is for movement, A and B are used for lasers and missiles respectively. What’s clever is that if you hold down X or Y, each direction of the d-pad becomes a new function. You can use these functions to stafe, roll, select weapons and target the closet enemy to you.
The graphics in StarLancer are impressive; the Dreamcast can easily cope with the detailed and varied ships on offer. The frame rate is smooth and never slows down.
StarLancer has a good feel to it, after a few games you stop thinking about the controls and then it is very easy to get lost in intergalactic dogfights. StarLancer is an enjoyable space combat game.