Right out of the clear blue sky comes a space shooter with no pretensions, no excuses and it takes no prisoners. Space Interceptor: Project Freedom has the kind of name that most self-respecting gamers would cringe from, or at least ignore. The fact that it's a budget title may also taint your perception. But you can't always judge a game by its title. Space Interceptor is an accessible, space sim shooter that offers lots of action, a hearty challenge and some arcade-style fun.

You're the top gun that works for a "good" corporation which is engaged in colonizing the galaxy. "Bad" people want a piece of the action and are constantly threatening the "good" corporation's employees and assets. In space, the only law is the law of the laser - and the photon torpedo…and plasma glob…and missiles….

As with many such games, the story is unimportant. You will have a fleet of spacecraft accompany you on many missions which include the requisite rescue, search and destroy and escort. What matters is that you shoot the hell out of anything that doesn't belong to your corporation. Battles will be fought against single fighters as well as squads, huge capital battleships, enemy installations and even giant mechs on the planets' surfaces.

Your own fleet will be of little use to you although they will manage to hit the odd target now and again. You'll be doing most of the work yourself which can get intense, especially when you encounter a fleet of enemy ships. The huge battleships aren't much of a problem. Attack them in sections, destroying the weapons areas and you won't have much trouble. Strangely these ships don't seem to put up much of a fight.

Most of the controls are handled by the mouse. Click right or left to fire the primary and secondary weapons, and move the wheel to accelerate. There are no retro-rockets so you can never stop or back up. The simple control system works great and can be learned by anyone in a few seconds, and mastered in a few minutes. Mastering the game is another story. Although a skilled player could get through it in an afternoon, the average player would be well advised to play the 21 levels over a week or two. There are no modes, unlockables or multi-player modes so once the game is over there is no reason to play it again.

It's sometimes hard to read all of the HUD displays, especially the damage to the enemy ship. Pounding away at an enemy ship can be a bit of a drag especially when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Locations such as the asteroid belt and the planet Jupiter have an epic, polished, 3D look to them that is unusual for such a budget title. But who's complaining? The crafts are nicely detailed and the physics of space seems realistic enough. The sound effects are dry and a little on the cheesy side. Voiceacting is relegated to radio communication. It's repetitive and annoying. The music comes in spurts and fits well within the context of the genre as the generic techno beats get the adrenaline flowing.

Space Interceptor is an old-school, space shooter that was designed to entertain. Developers City Interactive has done its homework to produce a no-frills game that is literally guaranteed to be fun. You can purchase a physical copy of the game or download it off the net. If you don't have fun with it, the publisher will exchange it for another game in their arsenal. That's an offer you can't afford to refute.

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System: PC
Dev: City Interactive
Pub: Merscom
Release: Nov 2004
Players: 1
Review by Fenix