Darklight Conflict

Space is a shallow thing to fight over in Darklight Conflict.

0Darklight Conflict could have been a great game, but was somehow botched along the way. It’s a graphically stunning space combat game (for DOS), with a difficulty level to test any space war veteran and decidedly arcade-style gameplay. Like Privateer 2: The Darkening, Darklight Conflict is aimed at the arcade crowd. You play “the Human,†a Navy pilot abducted by the Repton aliens right from your Tomcat to fight in their war against the foul Ovan race. As it turns out, the Reptons need the help of a lowly human to fight in their war, and as such you pilot their high tech spacecrafts.

The game contains 50 extremely challenging and fairly varied missions in which you, the Human, must fight off alien craft and gain absolute proof that neither side has a clue about battle tactics or piloting skill. The surrounding plot is actually fascinating, but the game itself does almost nothing with it – mission briefings are text only and there are virtually no cinematic sequences. You follow orders to the letter to survive, have no control over ship or load-out choices and survival is simply a matter of not running into things. The AI is very weak and sometimes laughable (such as the way enemies will almost only shoot you with guns head-on, not from behind).

9Overall, Darklight Conflict works as an arcade shooter, but it still has plenty of problems. You can’t reconfigure the game’s control in any meaningful way and are forced to use the keyboard, and not the joystick, for such essential commands such as acceleration and rolling. The controls are nowhere near as extensive as they should be; there are no manual lock-on options (the computer simply locks-on to the nearest enemy), and there are no missile countermeasures, leaving you to out-maneuver lock-on weapons which wastes valuable energy.

Despite the shallow gameplay, Darklight Conflict contains some decent physics – explosions and debris, and their inertial effects, actually affect your ship. In this respect, the game is superior to both the Wing Commander and TIE Fighter games. Too bad it doesn’t have the play depth that would have made it a serious contender to its main competition.

Darklight Conflict is a severely flawed game, but even with all the oversights and just plain blunders, it has an undeniable quality that makes you want to give it just one more chance. The graphics, challenging (sometimes annoying) missions, simplistic arcade control and superb physics will keep some players keeping back, while others will be left wanting more.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, DOS

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