The Let's Play Archive

Freespace 2

by Psion, BloodWulfe, & Gasket Basket

Part 1: Surrender, Belisarius!

Thirty-two years have passed since the great war.
The Shivans vanished half a lifetime ago, and now we live in the mausoleum of history. We inherit the legacy of ghosts who haunt these ruins.
The elders call us "The Lost Generation."

I remember stories of a glorious civilization. Of cities, with spires that reached the sun. Of a blue planet, with vast seas. Of people with myths of Humanity everlasting. Of children who saw embers of dying stars, the destiny of their race.

And they hurled themselves in to the void of space with no fear.
They say our people have no present, only a past filled with horror, and a future they can only dream of.
Now we forge a new alliance, to guard the tomb of space, and to find, within its cold expanse, the salvation of our race.

Full intro sequence:

High Quality / High Quality (mirror)

Low Quality (Youtube) / Backup

Freespace 2 is, without a doubt, the most immersive and gripping game I have played in my life. Nothing has ever sucked me in so much.

Massive space battles, the urgency of chasing down a torpedo that is hot on the heels of the transport carrying half of the remaining human race, the excellent storytelling, superb voice acting, beautiful graphics, and the feeling of actually being the pilot have this game leaving a sweet, sweet aftertaste in my mouth even after beating it.

While I have never played the first Freespace, it's fairly easy to figure out the story and take off right from the beginning of Freespace 2, which is available for free (see this thread for details), and I strongly urge everyone to play it. It's perfectly playable with only a keyboard and mouse (I don't own a Joystick) and it's a sweet ride all the way through.

And with that, let's begin

This screen gives us basic info about the story. It tells us what's been happening elsewhere in the war, it tells us if we've been moved to a new unit, new technological breakthroughs or if we've been assigned to a new capital ship.

The 53rd Hammerheads

"Welcome to Vega, Ensign. I am Lieutenant Loukakis, squadron leader of the 53rd Hammerheads. You have been assigned to our unit. The Hammerheads are a Space Superiority Squadron. We'll be flying the Myrmidon fighter, developed to replace the old GTF Ulysses. The Myrmidon is a Terran-Vasudan design and a versatile ship with high marks for speed, maneuverability, armor, and loadout."

It's worth mentioning now that the Vasudans are an alien race that the humans have forged an alliance with, namely the GTVA (Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance). This spurred the formation of the NTF (Neo-Terran Front), a rebel group that believes that Terrans should not ally themselves with aliens.

History of the 53rd

"The 53rd Hammerheads were formed during the Great War. At the time, we served on board the GTD Bastion, the finest ship in the history of Terran space travel. You may not know this, but the pilots who destroyed the SD Lucifer in 2335 were based on the Bastion, and some were even Hammerheads. With the 53rd, you're part of a long and proud tradition."

The SD Lucifer was a Destroyer of Shivan origin. The Shivans are a hostile alien race, and the enemies of the Terrans during the Great War.

Our New Hope

"When the explosion of the Lucifer collapsed the jump node to the Sol system and severed all contact with Earth, Command transferred the Bastion to the 4th Fleet in Vega. Since then, we've called Vega our home. Now Command has de-commissioned the Bastion and reassigned its squadrons to the newer Hectate Destroyers. We'll be joining the GTD Aquitaine, the flagship of the 3rd Fleet, Capella."

Review Your Training

"The Aquitaine will be here in 36 hours. In the meantime, it would be advisable to review your training. We have all the simulator modules you'll need for the Myrmidon fighter. These modules will give you a refresher course on such basics as your Head-Up Display (HUD), throttle controls, and targeting. If you need to review your training, now would be a good time to do so."


"Because this is your first combat assignment, you'll be authorized to carry the standard armaments: the Subach HL-7, the Tempest Dumb-Fire, and the Rockeye Heat-Seeking Missile. These weapons are covered in the training modules and in the tech room database. As you gain experience in combat, you will be authorized to use more advanced weaponry.

Good luck, pilot, and welcome again the the 53rd."

Because I don't need any training, let's go ahead and view the technical specs of our ship and weapons.

The GTF Myrmidon fighter

The GTM Tempest Dumb-Fire Missile

The GTM Rockeye Heat-Seeking Missile

And finally, The Subach HL-7, our primary gun at this time.

After skipping the training, the Aquitaine arrives.

Welcome to the Aquitaine

"This is Admiral Petrarch, commanding officer of the GTD Aquitaine. For those squadrons joining us here in Vega, welcome aboard.

With a complement of 150 combat spacecraft, the Aquitaine serves as flagship of the GTVA 3rd fleet, based in the Capella system. You join an elite crew of 10,000, the finest officers and enlisted personnel serving the Alliance today."

The Neo-Terran Front

"After 18 months of fighting, Admiral Bosch's Neo-Terran Front has become the most significant threat to regional security since the Great War ended 32 years ago.

The NTF demands the independence of their systems and the revocation of the Beta Aquilae Convention, or BETAC. The BETAC treaty centralized power in the GTVA as the supreme authority in Terran-Vasudan space."

The Ideology of Neo-Terra

"Integral to NTF ideology is Bosch's vision of Neo-Terra, a utopian society where the lost grandeur of Earth will be restored. Bosch and his followers oppose any alliance with the Vasudans as a threat to the future of the Human race.

The rebels are entrenched in Polaris, Regulus, and Sirius, but before we hit these strongholds, we must secure Epsilon Pegasi, Alpha Centauri, and Deneb. These contested systems are now the focal point of Allied operations."

The Battle of Deneb

"Allied Command has ordered the Aquitaine into the Deneb system. There, we will reforce the 13th Vasudan Battle Group, lead by the GVD Psamtik.

Both the NTF and the GTVA have sustained heavy casualties in the battle for Deneb. In the past seventy-two hours, we have lost the GVC Andromeda, the GTC Trafalgar, and over 15 fighter wings. Command anticipates the arrival of the Aquitaine and the Psamtik will shift the battle for Deneb in our favor and force the NTF to withdraw to Sirius."

This is the briefing screen. It sets up the missions and gives us our objectives. Don't worry, the text is almost over and the action will begin soon.

"This is Captain Loukakis, squadron leader of the 53rd Hammerheads. At 0320 hours, the Aquitaine entered the Deneb system. Admiral Petrarch launched fighter and bomber wings as part of an all-out attack against NTF positions throughout the system. He has kept the Hammerheads on standby, until now.

A situation is developing near the inhabited planet of Cygnus Prime. We have over 100,000 Vasudan Refugees fleeing their colonies in transports. Allied ships are rescuing the Vasudans as quickly as possible, though the logistics of this operation leave many refugees still vulnerable to Rebel attack.

At 0545, we received a distress signal from a refugee convoy 900 clicks, or kilometers, from the outer orbit of Cygnus Prime. The Vasudans responded with a wing of Serapis fighters, designated Epsilon, which have just called in for reinforcements. Alpha wing, you're going in.

Because these Transports do not have jump drives, you must protect the convoy until a recovery ship arrives. With all warships engaged and other convoys in dire need of protection, we do not know when a craft will become available. Command will keep you updated and send in reinforcements as needed."

With that, we jump in to the fray.

(Sorry for the slightly low quality screenshots, but I want to keep filesizes down so that I can post full images and you don't need to click through a million thumbnails.)

Alpha 2: "Alpha 2 here, I have a visual on the convoy. Fifteen hundred meters dead ahead. The escort wing is down two fighters."

If you look down in the bottom of the screen, you can see one of the transports, slightly to the top right of the radar.

And here they are a little closer.

Alpha 2: "Iota Transports, this is Alpha Wing of the 53rd Hammerheads, GTD Aquitaine. We have orders to protect your convoy. What's your status? Over."
Epsilon 1: "Alpha wing, we have lost three transports to the Rebel attack. The surviving vessels have sustained moderate damage. We anticipate the Rebels will return with greater force."
Alpha 2: "Hang in there, Iota. Command will send a recovery craft as soon as possible. All right, Alpha, let's get to work. We must defend these transports until the recovery ship arrives."
Alpha 2: "Sensors picking up incoming hostiles. A wing of Hercs closing in."

Two NTF Hercules fighters jump in and fly towards the transports.

Epsilon 1: "Alpha 1 and 2, intercept those fighters. We will defend the transports."

Simple enough.

Hercules fighters aren't exactly the strongest things around. They go down very quickly.

Altogether, three more wings of Hercs attack, and are subsequently destroyed. They laid quite a beating down on Iota 2, however, and it's hull integrity falls to a measly 37%.

In the end, this doesn't matter.

Command: "We have transmitted your coordinates to the GVD Psamtik. The vessel should be exiting subspace momentarily."

And indeed it does.

Psamtik: "Command, this is the Psamtik. We have arrived at the designated coordinates."
Command: "The NTCv Belisarius, a Deimos-class corvette, has run our blockade of the Sirius jump node. We are now tracking the vessel through subspace. We have vectored its course to your immediate vicinity."
Psamtik: "Acknowledged, Command. We will intercept the target."
Command: "Incoming jump signature! It's the Belisarius!"
Psamtik: "Gunnery control, power up the photom beam cannons. Commence plasma core insertion."
Command: "All units stand clear of the Psamtik and Belisarius!"

This doesn't look like a very fair fight to me.

Psamtik: "Belisarius, this is the GVD Psamtik. You are ordered to power down and surrender!"
Belisarius: "Negative, Vasudan! The NTF is the ONLY legitimate authority in this system!"
Psamtik: "Surrender or be destroyed, Belisarius. This is your final warning."
Belisarius: "Your posturing insults us both, Vasudan. I will NOT give up my ship!"
Psamtik: "As you wish."
Psamtik: "Gunnery control, open fire!"

With that, the Psamtik's beam cannon begins charging, and fires.

The beam stalls for a second on the Belisarius' hull, then finally pierces through

The Belisarius explodes in a glorious flash of red and blue.

Command: "Belisarius objective has been neutralized."
Psamtik: "Now deploying wings Zeta and Theta. You are relieved of your escort, Alpha wing."
Command: "Mission accomplished, Alpha. Return to base. Well done, pilots."


"Good work, Pilot. You held off the Rebel attack and saved both Vasudan transports from destruction. Your squadmates and I all agree: you'll make a fine addition to the 53rd Hammerheads. Command reports that 75 percent of the refugees have been recovered with few casualties. The remaining 25 percent are under allied protection and will be rescued shortly. We have also won major victories against the NTF. The NTD Jacobus and the NTC Hengst have been destroyed, and our blockades of the Alpha Centauri and Sirius jump nodes has isolated the rebel fleet. Furthermore, 600,000 ground troops will soon land on the surface of Cygnus Prime in our effort to retake the planet. Prepare for your next mission, pilot, the battle for Deneb is not over yet."