Fight, fly, trade, die.
"Itís a fair trade."Black Market
—The Black Market
is a sci-fi trader/RPG developed by Big Block Games. Inspired by the likes of Elite
, gameplay revolves around space combat and commodity trading, as the player slowly builds a fortune to spend on bigger guns and better ships.
The game also features a sizable campaign, which tells the story of Vincent Wake- a man with no memory, no hair, and a talking eyepatch. Guided by the incredibly untrustworthy ghost of a former trader and general pervert named Hardgrove, Vincent find himself swept into the conflict between an ambitious Megacorporation, a hostile Confederation, and a very angry robot. Things in the Galali system are about to take a turn for the worse.
Why? The answer lies with the mysterious force that calls itself the Market...Black Market
is primarily a browser game, though a High Definition version is also available for download. It can be found here
This game provides examples of:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with; AIs are portrayed as being just as varied as humans. They also suffer serious social prejudice. The Campaign for Equal Sentience, a pro AI-rights group, appears to be doing more harm than help. Then there's Robin Good...
- The Alcoholic: Hardgrove- trapped, to his frustration, in a body that doesn't drink.
- The Atoner: Hardgrove. Sort of. Maybe.
- Alliance Meter
- All There in the Manual: The flash version of the game comes with an encyclopaedia sidebar, which contains ludicrous quantities of background fluff.
- And I Must Scream: Averted with a group of pirate ghosts, who react to their disembodied afterlives by wishing for a TV and some female company. Just for conversation, mind, not for any disgusting fleshy reasons.
- Animal Theme Naming: Interceptors are all named after types of insect.
- Artificial Atmospheric Actions: NPC ships are constantly shuffling back and forth along the tradelanes, occasionally offering the player deals. Important events sometimes happen to planetary ports, which the player is informed of on landing.
- Asteroid Miners
- Asteroid Thicket: Many of them, all mineable.
- Attack Drone: Combat Drones can be purchased. Interceptors and Bombers also fulfil a similar function.
- Badass Grandpa: Lambert Kera, supposedly. Thelma Nassad is also a force to be reckoned with, when she's in a bad mood.
- The Battlestar: Buy a Colossus. Buy lots of fighters. Win.
- Black Market: It's in the title!
- Bounty Hunter: Apparently, the closest thing to law enforcement on the frontier. Molder and Sook are at the forefront of their profession.
- But Thou Must: Several of the game's apparent choices result in this.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- The Clan: The Nassad Family in spades.
- Cosmic Horror Story: A mild Lovecraft parody pops up as optional reading material during the main campaign.One possible explanation for the Black Market is that a group of interdimensional cosmic horrors has developed a taste for free-market economics.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Averted by Tricorp which, while very shady, does not seem corrupt per se.
- Copy And Paste Environments: Some backgrounds are recycled.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Ships show visible damage in battle.
- Cryptic Background Reference: While the encyclopaedia sidebar goes into a lot of detail about the backstory, it never explains why the Cerberus Incident was so terrible that it stopped a hundred years of interstellar war. The Century War timeline is similarly full of obscure references.
- Cyber Punk
- Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: They don't, but they might give you someone else's soul, which will try to get you drunk. Supported by the pirates, who love both cybernetic implants and hurting people.
- Deadpan Snarker: Hardgrove. Always Hardgrove.
- Deflector Shields: Available as an item.
- Derelict Graveyard: Huge clumps of starship wreckage will occasionally drift into the middle of battles.
- An Entrepreneur Is You: The player is a trader, after all.
- The Empire: The Confederacy, or so Tricorp claims.
- Ending Fatigue: The final, final end-game conversations which just. Won't. Stop.
- Escort Mission: It doesn't go very well.
- Eye Patch Of Power: Or rather, I-Patch of dubious advice.
- The Federation: The Confederacy, or so the Confederacy claims.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation
- Ghost in the Machine: Hardgrove, in the main campaign- although he's more a Ghost in the Human Being. A few of the sidequests feature more literal examples.
- Gray and Gray Morality: Several sidequests offer options of varying immorality, with no real punishment for taking the less ethical path.
- Neither Tricorp, the Confederacy, or Robin Good are as well-intentioned as they would have everyone believe.
- Great Off Screen War: The Century War.
- Hostile Terraform: Apparently a common tactic in the Century War.
- Happiness in Slavery: One sidequest features a robot trying to explain to a group of equal-rights activists that he'd rather be happy by machine standards than free by human ones.
- Jerk Ass: At times in the campaign, basically everyone.
- Law Enforcement, Inc.: Tricorp stresses that it doesn't want to be seen as any kind of official legal authority, but at the same time, it will maintain a prison planet if necessary. One of their executives can be called out on this.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: By the end of the campaign, a sizeable cast has assembled.
- Intrepid Merchant: The traders, who largely consider themselves above petty concerns like planetary law.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Missiles are fired in batches.
- Mega Corp.: Tricorp, though their desire to avoid repeating the (terminal) mistakes of past Megacorporations has led them to at least trying not to be actively evil. The Confederacy is not convinced
- Mugging the Monster: Partially averted, in that players can call on their reputation to scare overambitious random encounters away.
- Nanomachines: According to the backstory, how pretty much everything works.
- Negative Space Wedgie: Weird flashy space clouds are an occasional navigational hazard.
- Oh, Crap: Vincent and Hardgrove's simultaneous reactions at the end of Act II.
- Portal Network: Inhabited solar systems are connected by artificial wormholes.
- Quest for Identity: Initially subverted, in that Vincent's past is of no consequence. Played straight, at the very end, in the most literal way possible.
- Randomly Drops: Exploding enemy ships drop cargo, which can be tractored aboard and resold by the player.
- Religion of Evil: The Brotherhood, who anxiously wait for the day when their berserker machine gods have consumed everything in the universe.
- Religious and Mythological Theme Naming: The Thrace system.
- Rebel Leader: Robin Good, in her crusade against Tricorp.
- Scifi Writers Have No Sense Of Scale: Ships battle each other at a range of approximately three feet. The backstory makes some attempt to justify this by invoking electronic jamming.
- Single-Biome Planet: Horr is an ice world, Turin is a desert world, Sigma Khan is a city world. Averted in other cases, where port information specifies that some planets do indeed have multiple environments.
- Space Clouds
- Space Is an Ocean
- Space Pirates: Pirate gangs are the main source of trouble on the tradelanes.
- Space Fighter: Player ships can deploy fighter support.
- Space Mines
- Space Police: The Confederacy seem to think of this as their mission, more or less.
- Soul Jar: Literally.
- Take Your Time: The player can wander away during any campaign mission and embark on sidequests, or just plain trade. This creates some odd moments of dissonance if the situation is supposed to be urgent.
- Terraform: Every human-populated planet has been terraformed by World-Building Engines.
- Timed Mission: Not a mission, but the countdown to Galford Gate opening.
- 2-D Space: Well, it's a 2-D game...
- Used Future: At least, the parts we get to see.
- Video Game Tutorial: Hardgrove is interrupted in the middle of giving one and never really gets back on track.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Hardgrove. One dialogue option reveals that a lot of his so-called "information" is actually made up on the spot.
- Wall of Text: There's quite a lot of talking, for a browser game. Sometimes it can be a little much, though skipping is always an option.
- We Will Spend Credits in the Future: Averted, the currency appears to be in dollars.
- Wide Open Sandbox