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Darkstar One is a Space Sim developed by Ascaron, which features open-ended, flexible gameplay like Freelancer or X. In this game, the main character Kayron Jarvis recieves a ship as a gift from his dead father, the titular Darkstar One. With this ship, Kayron embarks on a journey to investigate the mystery behind his father's death. But he knows little of the events that are unfolding. The game's flexibility owes itself to the titular ship's ability to upgrade its systems to get special bonuses. For example, upgrading the Darkstar's wings increase maneuverability and forward weapon mounts. Plus, there are many things you can do between story missions. A player can sign up for missions or escort flights, hunt down pirates as a bounty hunter, smuggle illegal goods, and much more.

Darkstar One provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: Among our colorful cast, we have weird names like Kayron, Jow'son, Naara and Jiju. On the normal side, Robert, Simon, Ramirez, Ventura, and Jack.
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: In one sidequest, you have to blow up a bunch of malfunctioning satellites of the "N.O.M.A.D" series. When you engage them, they scream "We are N.O.M.A.D! Resistance is futile!" as a Battle Cry. Doubles as a Shout-Out to the Borg from Star Trek.
  • Aliens Speaking English: At some point in the past the Terran language became the standard spoken language for all empires. Most races still use their written language in-game.
  • All There in the Manual: The manual contains detailed backgrounds on each of the game's races.
  • The Amazon: The mission where you have to fight Kabro and rescue Eona takes place on a jungle planet. But instead of exploring the jungles, you're restricted to flying through a narrow trench.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: On the boxart, Eona has a visibly miffed expression. Yet throughout most of the game, she is seen smiling.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Convoy ships and patrol ships often chatter around the Trade Station, and there can be some amusing dialogue when the station is busy. Also, when you're on a Trade Station, announcements can be heard that indicate economy updates or remind you about what trade goods are banned there.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Most asteroid fields are massive and provide little room for maneuvers. Averted with mining asteroid fields.
  • Author Avatar: There's a secret boss fight in a remote system in the Arrack sector called the Ascarong System. You are greeted by a small fleet of several Arrack cruisers and a Terran cruiser, who will swarm you with fighters. If you took the time to read the credits, you will notice that the ships are named after the makers of the game.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Mortok view battle as an honor, and nearly everyone adheres to their warrior code. This could place them as the second most hostile race, succeeded only by the Raptor.
  • Badass Bookworm: Jow'son comes off as an Oc'to mediator who only wants to resolve the conflict between his people and the Arrack. Despite that, he's actually a good fighter pilot and even shows up in the final story mission.
  • Badass Bureaucrat: Jiju, a supervisor of an Arrack mining site, and one of your wingmen on the final mission.
  • Badass Grandpa: Cap'n Hornblower, a spirited Terran war veteran who you meet sometime later in the game. What's more, he flies a cargo vessel, which usually serves the role as a huge moving target in dogfights.
  • Battleship Raid: The final mission in the story has you breaching the S'kaa Mothership's impregnable shields in order to blow up the main reactor. In other words, it's an extreme reenactment of the Battle of Endor.
  • The Battlestar: Cruisers come in small and large sizes. The latter has a docking bay for fighters, and you can repair your ship by docking with one. The S'kaa Mothership takes this Up to Eleven, being about the size of a small planet and carrying a seemingly endless amount of drones.
  • Bee People: The Arrack, although they're more like ants. They even refer to their race as a whole as "The Collective."
  • Boss Banter: Literal example! When you fight a pirate gang, all the while, the Pirate Boss will pepper you with taunts. Special mention goes to one from the Raptor Pirate Boss.

  Raptor Boss: You infidel! May you burn in the firesss of hell! I will sssee to it that you persssonally do so!

  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Bosses of pirate gangs boast stronger weapons and tougher armor and shields than the norm, plus, they are immune to any of the Plasma Cannon's offensive abilities (I.E. Overload, EMP, Timeshock). To top it off, they have improved versions of their races special ability. Terran Bosses just have a smarter AI that maneuvers better. Mortoks fire what looks like Super Missiles. Raptors fire homing missiles. Oc'to use drones that fly in formation. Arrack can blink up to three times instead of once. Thul generate a mirror image when cloaking.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: For the most part, it would seem like this, with only pirate ambush parties to break the peace.
  • Catastrophic Countdown: Used in Bronis' Arms Factory. After taking out the main generator, Eona exclaims that the place will explode at any minute. While a short cutscene plays as the Darkstar makes for the exit, several minor explosions start to line the corridor.
  • Chain-Reaction Destruction: Most larger enemies, like cruisers or pirate hideouts, exhibit this. Taken Up to Eleven with Bronis' Factory and the S'kaa Mothership.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: In one sidequest, aptly named "Two Wacky Terrans," you meet two guys called Danny and Brad who had gotten themselves in trouble with an Arrack smuggler. Brad tells you in the briefing that they need your help in case the "very nasty guys" pull a fast one, but when the true nature of the situation is learnt, he slips up in negotiations (by trying to pin their crime on you) and the smugglers open fire.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: Sort of. The nebulae in the background of systems owned by different races is usually a certain color. Played straight in Bronis' Factory.
    • Also played straight with the design schemes used by various races for their ships and stations. Terrans use a classic, almost Used Future design. The Mortok use heavily reinforced hulls with green paint finish. The Raptors use details that resemble lizards. The Oc'to design incorporates parts that look like octopi. The Arrack have insectoid designs and stations with beehive-like architecture. The Thul use a design that leans towards Crystal Spires and Togas, with shiny chrome-painted hulls with red power conduits.
  • Cooldown: The Plasma Cannon takes about a minute to recharge after being used. Same goes for the ship's Field Drive, but it is averted once you get the Zero Point Drive.
  • Cool Spaceship: The titular Darkstar One, both in and out of universe. Some of the ships used by other races might apply.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Bronis is a Raptor that owns an arms manufacturing business, and had attempted to incite a war between the Mortok rebels and the Raptor fanatic cults by supplying weapons to both sides. His plans fell through when Kayron blew up his arms factory.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the game's cover, Kayron is holding a weapon that looks like an assault rifle. In the game, he never uses any weapon besides the Darkstar's, and the only weapon he DOES have is a handgun.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Sort of. Thul spacecraft are built to look like the "Spaceships of Tomorrow," sporting harmonious design, a shiny chrome finish and red power conduits. The togas part applies to the Raptor, as colorful robes are a common sight among them.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The Thul, a clan of human women obsessed with perfection, use nanotechnology and enhansive implants to improve their overall condition. The Terran government had possibly thought that this would cause the Thul to rebel, and had exiled them to the depths of space. Their negative view on non-Thul races probably doesn't help.
  • Disappeared Dad: Kayron's father, Simon Jarvis, is long dead at the beginning of the game. After the first story mission, Kayron finds out more about his father's death, which sets the stage for the main storyline. Also, absolutely nothing is mentioned about Kayron's mother.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In the mission where you search for the Thul cruiser that was encountered in an earlier mission, Hornblower finds the cloaked warship, which then uncloaks and shreds his ship in seconds.
  • Escort Mission: Many story missions and sidequests are this. You can also sign up as an escort pilot for a freighter.
  • Exposition Fairy: Eona, your erstwhile copilot.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: The religious Raptors worship a faith that includes 2.1 gods per Raptor. Often, they make allusions to "The Threehundred," which could possibly be their major gods. As mentioned in the story, so much as taking a breath at the wrong time can offend at least one of their gods, so it's very easy for non-Raptors to make them mad.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Terrans' weapon of choice. The Thul use a varient, the Photon Cannon, which is essentially the Laser Cannon with better damage instead of energy efficiency.
  • Gotta Catch Em All: While it's not really necessary to collect all of the artifacts for the Darkstar, snagging them and getting the upgrades they provide can be a real boon.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Thul fighters have cloaking devices for their special ability. It hides the ship for about a minute, and you cannot target the ship when it is cloaked. However, its engine exhaust isn't covered by the cloak, so you could still track a cloaked ship easily.
  • It's Up to You: Your wingmen in most sidequests are usually massacred for one reason or another, and Kayron seems to be the only person in the galaxy who can get anything done.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The Mortoks fit this trope to a T. Their weapon of choice is the Railgun, just about the only mass driver weapon in the game.
  • Large Ham: Many.
    • The voice of the Oc'to patrol ships get a special mention for their exasperated, almost exhausted sounding voice.
    • Hornblower, our lovable war hero, has enough ham for a Christmas dinner.
  • Living Ship: The artifacts that make up the Darkstar look like they are made from green,glowy fleshy...stuff, making it lean towards this trope.
  • Lovable Coward: Nicolai, a Raptor who could be scared by his own shadow. We first find him in a dogfight with some pirates, and losing. And when he and Kayron find a bomb on his ship at a research station, poor Nicolai panics and flees while cool and collected Kayron defuses it in five seconds.
  • MacGuffin: The Darkstar One itself. It was made from alien artifacts, and the same can be used to upgrade the ship.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Swarm missile, natch.
  • Made of Explodium: One sidequest involves a rebel military faction stealing several containers that held what could be easily called liquid explodium. When about two or three of them explode, the blast is powerful enough to destroy whole freaking cruisers, and yourself if you're not careful!
  • More Dakka: The Mortok, oh-so very much
  • Multi Mook Melee:
    • Any time that you have to fight the S'kaa Drones.
    • Same for pirate gangs and occupied systems. In the former, you fight a three-phase battle, with each phase being progressively difficult. The fight kicks off with a swarm of ordinary pirate Mooks, whose numbers range from four to eight. Next, you fight the Boss's bodyguards, whose numbers range from one to three. Last but not least, you fight the Boss, who is far stronger than his lackeys by comparison.
    • Occupied systems are much more difficult than pirate gangs, because its all too easy to be swarmed if you get careless, and then become an instant Bullet Hell. You fight three waves of pirates, whose total number usually includes fifteen fighters. If you survive, you are rewarded with a tidy sum of credits and an artifact for the Darkstar.
  • My Brain Is Big: The Oc'to are to this game as the Psilons were to Master of Orion. They indulge in many fields of science and philosophy, and have made many radical advances and achievements, ranging from teaching quantum mechanics to young children to cloning matter.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: The Darkstar One's ultimate ability, the Plasma Shield, renders the ship invulnerable against any sort of damage. The same shielding is used by The S'kaa Mothership.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In one story mission, you go to an Arrack system that was devastated by a savage war, in search of a Thul cruiser. The system is within a massive Asteroid Thicket of scrap metal, there are shipwrecks all around and the planet is a sickly pinkish color. The effect is greater if you come back after the mission, where you're all alone with nothing besides wreckage to keep you company.
  • Oh My Gods: With the Raptor's massive pantheon including over threehundred gods, some will utter this or a varient of it.
  • Old School Dogfighting: With the unique abilities of enemy ships and the Darkstar and with homing missile weapons, this is just about averted. Played straight with the Terrans, though. Their unique ability is merely smarter maneuvering AI.
  • Organic Technology: The Darkstar and the artifacts that it is made from. The Oc'to show shades of this in their design scheme.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Used in the ending. After blowing up the S'kaa Mothership's main reactor, Kayron flies out of the ship as the place explodes around him, a la Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
  • Pardon My Klingon: Some Mortok dialogue include insults or battlecries spoken in what is presumably their language.
  • Planet of Hats: Every race besides the Terrans have a shared character trait. Mortoks fall under Proud Warrior Race Guy. Raptors are the Knight Templar. The Oc'to is The Smart Guy race. Arracks are Bee People. And the Thul have Crystal Spires and Togas and are obsessed with perfection and superiority.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Ramirez, Mendo, hell just about any Mortok! Averted with Kabro, who's only interested in making money, no matter how "dishonorable" the means.
  • Psychic Powers: The S'kaa, the game's Big Bad, have these. As a show of their power, during the cutscene when Robert is sending Kayron the plans to the S'kaa Mothership, a S'kaa appears and uses high-power Mind Rape that made his ears bleed.
  • Ramming Always Works: One of the Darkstar's Plasma Cannon abilities, called the Plasma Shield, creates a supercharged shield that is invulnerable to attack and can be used to deliver ramming attacks. Although it is mostly impractical to attempt to ram as most targets smaller than freighters are too fast to hit.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The S'kaa, an extragalactic conqueror race that had invaded our galaxy and tried to foster a war between all races.
  • Sentry Gun: Freighters, cruisers and stations use these as their primary weapons, as well as weapon platforms and satellites. The Darkstar can also get auto-turrets if you upgrade its hull.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: Any ship or station owned by the Thul, except for Thul Pirates, whose hull is a rusty brown instead of shiny chrome.
  • Shout-Out: In two sidequests involving you destroying some rogue satellites and a space-mad Thul cruiser, respectively, said targets utter Battle Cries that reference the Borg.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: In order to travel to another star system, you will need the "key" to the system and it must be within your Field Drive's maximum range. Most keys are obtained upon entering a system, and some are rewarded in sidequests. By the end of the game, should you have gotten all of the artifacts and beaten every sidequest, you should be able reach every system on the map.
  • Snake Talk: The Raptors exhibit this, naturally. Eona once mocked their Snake Talk in a sidequest where you fight three Raptor cruisers.
  • Space Fighter: Called Hunters in-game.
  • Space Is Noisy
  • Space Mines: Some story missions include several floating minefields. Raptor fighters also drop mines when they are being chased.
  • Space Pirates
  • Starfish Aliens: The Oc'to are almost literal starfish aliens. They are an aquatic, octopus-like race, whose brains more than make up for their relatively weak physique.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Every race will have a unique ability that you cannot use. Mortok ships use turrets instead of forward weapons, Raptor fighters can drop mines, the Oc'to's deploy drones, the Arrack's can blink, and the Thul use cloaking. Taken Up to Eleven with the bosses of pirate gangs.
  • The Reptilians: The Raptor.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • In two parts of the game, you defend a research station from a drone attack by using the station's defense turret. Doubles as That One Level due to the turrets pathetic HP and energy reserves, and the massive amounts of enemies.
    • Before these, there was a story mission where you had to fly through a canyon to blow up a shield generator protecting Kabro's hideout. As Ramirez reminds you, your ship will handle differently on a planet's surface. Sadly, this is the only time you ever go onto a planet.
  • Vast Bureaucracy: The Arrack's government is this trope, to the point where it could rival that of the Vogons. Most of their dialogue will include references to their civil code, such as "...In accordance with Directive X, Paragraph Y, Subsection Z." There's probably more paperwork involved in their government than there are offenses to the Raptor gods.
  • Verbal Tic: The aforementioned Raptors speak in Snake Talk. The Arrack, being obsessed with their dogmatic civil code, mention a passage from said code in nearly every piece of their dialogue.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Criminal acts will earn you a spot on the wanted list, and if your crime record is at the highest, everyone in the systems that you offended will attack you, and there's a chance that a cruiser will appear if you stay too long. Doing too many criminal acts can negatively impact you in the long run. Smuggling makes patrol ships scan your cargo more often, piracy makes bounty hunters and freighters attack you, and killing civilians will make a wing of patrol ships follow you wherever you go.