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Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: 3DO
Developer: Netdevil
Media: CD/1
Players: Massively Multiplayer
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Jumpgate might impress people, if they were given a better chance to do so. The vastness of space and the lack of things in it don't make it a great art gallery. Apart from the occasional space station or cosmic storm, you'll be staring at the starry sky for most of the game. But where Jumpgate lacks in content, it makes up for in detail. The lighting effects inside the cockpit are subtle but pretty, the special effects are right on, and the ships are nicely detailed.

The music in Jumpgate may be the only thing to save you from space madness on those long voyages in the deep unknown. Depending on the sector you're currently flying in, the music changes accordingly. The eerie sci-fi tunes feel right at place in this game. The sound effects are well done, but nothing to cheer over. There's nothing here that you haven't heard in other space sims.


With the advent of MMORPG's long since upon us, fantasy games seem to have a foothold in the genre, with an apparent lack of science fiction games. Sci-Fi fans have been heard, and answered with the likes Allegiance, Anarchy Online, and Raider Wars. Though flawed, their presence indicates an interest and will likely usher in bigger and better games. Jumpgate sets it's sights high. It might not exactly get a bulls-eye, but it comes close enough for most.

Upon entering Jumpgate, you get to pick between three factions to join. Each are different from each other in that they are stereotyped as either mining, fighting or trading oriented. While they have their unique characteristics, players will ultimately be able to do any of these three no matter which faction they pick.

The basic premise of Jumpgate revolves around the different missions you can complete for the five different factions left after a catastrophic event that decimated the galaxy. You can only choose between three of these, but missions can be completed for any of them. Missions get you experience and money. Both are essential to buying bigger and better items for your ship. Most of the missions are very trivial and only serve to better your position, but the two types that really matter are missions specific to your faction and TRI missions (TRI being the group all the factions form), which help further the unfolding storyline of the game.

Your personal ship can be customized to a great degree. Apart from buying an entirely new ship, alterable parts range from lasers to energy capacitors. Jumpgate does well here as it doesn't overly complicate the customization possibilities. Instead, it makes it an integral part of the game that can actually be fun. Parts aren't limited to what you can find immediately in shops. As the game progresses, new parts will be created and made available to the Jumpgate community.

The main problem of the game is one that you will notice right off. Starting out is more than a bit confusing and proceeds at a slow crawl for about the first 10 levels of your character. You're given a ship that's too slow and outgunned by about everything else in a very hostile environment. The only way to gain rank and earn money is to fly very boring and tedious missions that will quickly feel like a job.

Once past the extremely slow and demanding beginning, the game becomes a great deal more in-depth. The ability to actually do something is a great privilege indeed, and players' actions do a lot more than increase personal status. Everything you do affects your position with your faction and other factions. The position your faction takes with another depends on its member's actions. You can push your faction to the edge of war or help it prosper in times of peace.


A less than helpful instruction manual and overly complicated interface can make for a frustrating experience. Veterans of both space sims and MMORPG's will have trouble coping with the unfamiliar styles of this game. The confusion can be alleviated, though, by the helpful advice of Game Masters and other players who have played the beta. There is a specific chat channel solely designated for helping new players cope with their disorder. The same problem with the slow beginning is apparent in the difficulty. It's going to take some solid playing hours to overcome the boredom and frustration all too common in the early stages of the game.

Game Mechanics:

Players accustomed to game physics like Independence War will feel at home in Jumpgate. The flight model uses momentum, so there is no stopping on a dime. More than once have I flown into a space station while trying to dock. A harsh reprimand system for screwing up is in effect here. It's a bit too easy to for beginners to crash into things when they first start out. Again we see that after about the first 10 hours, pilots should have a good eye for flying their ships.

Once inside a station, the interface there can be a little overwhelming to the new player. A torrent of menus and options can swallow an unsuspecting player in their labyrinthine appearance. Besides asking the other members of Jumpgate, trial and error is the only real remedy for the game's ailment.

Jumpgate has its flaws. However, most are superficial and shouldn't take away from what should be a great game playing experience. The real ugly part is the beginning, and while after this rough start the game truly shines, for most players the beginning is the crucial part. Most games rely on getting the player hooked in the first few minutes, lest they grow tired and start watching TV. Nobody wants to have to work to have fun. But it would be unfair to cast aside Jumpgate right away, because while it appears ugly at first, at it's core is a great blend of role playing and space combat elements. Hopefully enough people will be able to look past it's ugly guise, because it can only get better from here, and it will be interesting to see how the in game events and the story unfold.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 95/98/2K/Me, 200MHz processor, 250MB hard drive space, 64MB RAM, 4x CD-ROM, 16MB 3D accelerator video card, 16-bit sound card, 28.8K TCP/IP connection to the internet

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card

Windows Joan of Arc Windows Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns Gold

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated