Ability to host & mod servers
Complex world maps
Difficult learning curve
Have you ever wondered how good an FPS could actually be if it weren't always the same game over and over? Imagine being able to play a multitude of character types, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Throw in the ability to basically modify the action to suit your desires, down to the world's laws of physics, and you've got Starsiege: Tribes. Dynamix released this phenomenal multiplayer-only action game in 1999 as a continuation of the Earthsiege series.
Base character creation is fairly simple, as you just start by picking your gender and your desired skin and voice set. Be sure to google for downloads such as skins and voice sets that you can use to lend your character a sense of uniqueness. Adding these to the selection menu is as simple as extracting the downloaded files into your C:\dynamix\tribes\base\skin folder.
Once you enter the world after selecting your base character, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Using the glowing blue consoles scattered throughout the bases on the various maps, you "buy" your weapons, armor, and even vehicles using your team's energy in order to suit your preferences. You can become a sniper, a turret gunner, an engineer, or even a pilot. Really, you can equip your character however you want, and play however you want, it's completely up to you.
Gameplay is fast-paced, and the humorous descriptions of various events can make for some amusing moments. The different mission types available, as well as the various maps and weather features also make it pretty tough to get bored while playing.
One of the most fun features of Tribes is the ability to host and mod your own server. You can password protect it for a private game with your friends, and then use any number of downloadable scripts to modify the settings, or if you're feeling inspired, even write your own scripts. Joining a server is fairly easy as well, just follow the menu prompts, click on your server of choice from the list, and join the game.
There are some downsides, of course. The graphics are somewhat pixellated, which doesn't really interfere with gameplay, but can get a bit rough on the eyes at times. When looking for a server to join when you're not really used to playing, there's no reliable way to figure out the level of expertise the teams you'll be playing have, so it's real easy to join a server only to find yourself dead twenty times within the first few minutes.
And, the in-game tutorials, while great, don't really prepare you for the difficulty of actually maneuvering and taking care of business in the world. Just have a little patience, look for servers with fewer numbers of players, or start your own and invite your friends to play.
All in all, Tribes is an incredibly enjoyable and addictive game. If you love action, it's a must-download.
Review by: Taikara
Violence, no gore
Safe for ages: 13+
Pentium® 166 MHz
32 MB RAM
3D Accelerator Card