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Author: Brian Rubin
Article Type: PC Game Review
Publication Date: 10/21/2003
Developer: NetDevil
Publisher: NetDevil
Related Categories: Science Fiction, Tactical, Online or Multi-Player, Spaceship Combat



Several years ago, when I was heavily addicted to Wing Commander: Privateer, I thought to myself, "How cool would this be if actual people were flying all of those other ships?" Several years later, near the end of 2000, I was turned on to a game called Jumpgate, which looked to mix massive multiplayer online role playing with space simulation goodness. After writing a couple articles on the game, I was hooked, and I've been hooked ever since.

Imagine my surprise when our editor here at The Wargamer asked the staff if anyone had heard of this obscure game. To say I leaped at the chance to write a review on what has become a favorite game of mine would be an understatement. While Jumpgate is a personal favorite, I will still keep this review fair and balanced. With that in mind, let's take a look at what might be one of the best MMORPGs most gamers have never played.

Getting into your flight suit

While Jumpgate was once a boxed game, today the client can be downloaded for free from the Jumpgate support page. The client comes in two flavors. The first one includes the intro movie and music, and weighs in at 121 MB. The second download is more basic, with no music or movies, and weighs in at 53 MB. Once the game is installed, and it updates itself, it can be played in offline simulation mode before venturing into "real space".

Gamers should first venture to the options screen, by hitting escape once the station screen appears. From the options screen, it is possible to configure the controls and video settings, as well as other miscellaneous options. Once that step is completed, and before take off, gamers should read Jumpgate Flight Academy in order to get an idea of what to do next.

Before gamers can create an account, however, they will need to choose one of the three player factions (there are five factions in total, three playable). The choice of faction is incredibly important, so we'll look at them in detail below. Next gamers will need to sign up for an account on Jumpgate's main page, JOSSH (Jumpgate Operating System Shell).

The first playable faction is the Octavians. These are the mercenaries of the Jumpgate universe. They specialize in combat, and have ships with more weaponry and better armor. They also get a large credit bonus upon signing up. Octavian ships are well known for their durability and offensive capabilities.

The second playable faction is the Solrain. The Solrain are the business men and women of Jumpgate. This is also the most centric/balanced faction in the Jumpgate universe. This faction specializes in trade and manufacturing. As money is their main focus, they have the largest signing bonus once an account has been created. Solrain ships are well known for their cargo-carrying ability and better shielding.

The final player faction is the Quantar. These are the religious zealots of the Jumpgate universe, and they specialize in mining. They're also the only faction to get a mining beam by default, and get a small monetary percentage upon their mined materials. They also have the most maneuverable ships in the game, as well as the fastest.

Once the gamer has chosen his faction, he'll find himself at his faction's home station, with a small shuttle and a small amount of credits to get started. From here, he's pretty much left to his own devices. Luckily, there are several ways to communicate with other players in Jumpgate, in order to ask for help.

While there's a main help channel, gamers can create private channels with other players, create new chat rooms, talk to only pilots in their current sector, talk to only factional pilots in their current sector, or talk to squad mates from anywhere in the universe. This communicative environment is really what separates Jumpgate from its competitors, as it has a community that is second to none in its support of the game as well as new pilots.

Flying away from Quantar Core Station in a Typhoon-class fighter.

Escorting a squad mate, who is flying a Chinook-class freighter, while flying a Typhoon.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

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