Starsiege: Tribes

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Starsiege: Tribes
Tribes manual cover.jpg
Basic Information
Video Game
Sierra Entertainment
First-person Shooter
Keyboard, Mouse
Microsoft Windows
Retail Features
Starsiege: Tribes
Technical Information
CanadaUnited StatesMexico North American Release Date(s)
Awards | Changelog | Cheats | Codes
Codex | Compatibility | Covers | Credits | DLC | Help
Localization | Manifest | Modding | Patches | Ratings
Reviews | Screenshots | Soundtrack
Videos | Walkthrough
GOG | In-Game | Origin | PlayStation Trophies | Retro
Steam | Xbox Live

Starsiege: Tribes is a sci-fi based first person shooter game available for the PC. It was developed by the now defunct Dynamix, published by Sierra and released in 1998. Although the game features a single-player mode, it is more for training purposes then anything else. The larger appeal would be the online portion of the game. This features large maps consisting of both indoor "bases" and outdoor areas on the same map and can also support 32 players. The game featured many different gametypes - covered in further detail below - and a unique ability to fly via a jet pack.

Gametypes[edit | edit source]

Capture and Hold

The object of this gametype is to capture and hold bases. Scoring is based on time multiplied by the number of bases held. Capturing a base is accomplished by reaching a control point inside the base and standing near it. Once captured, the base's equipment stations are opened to your side and any automatted turrets belonging to the base will fire upon enemy players who draw near.

Capture the Flag

By far the most popular gametype in Tribes. Much like the capture the flag played in school, there are usually two teams (the most popular variant, although there can be up to four), each team has their own flag. The goal is to grab the enemies flag and return it to your teams flagstand to "capture" it while preventing the enemy from capturing your flag. Your teams flag must be at the stand in order to score "a cap". Teams tend to be separated into players on an offense position and players on a defense position. This gametype seems almost like a team based sport and relies heavily on good teamwork, communication, strategy as well as insuring you have enough players in each position.

Offensive positions:

  • "cappers" - Try to capture the flag.
  • "rapers" - Try to destroy the enemies defenses.
  • "Heavy-O" or "Heavy Assault" - Players who used heavy armor to destroy enemy resources (such as equipment stations, turrets, and generators). Many developed disc/mortar jumping techniques combined with and high speed skiing routes designed to get them from their home base to the enemy base. Although there were two transport vehicles available designed to fly 2-4 passengers from location to location, most players found these too slow and vulnerable and opted to travel by foot instead.

Defensive positions:

  • "chasers" or "pursuit" or "Light-d" - Not only chase the "cappers" when they get the flag but also try to prevent them from acquiring it in the first place.
  • "D-setters" or "engineers" - Specialize in setting up elaborate defenses both in and around the base to prevent the enemy from getting at the flag.
  • "Heavy on Flag" or "HOF" - Operate in heavy armor directly on the flag. Their main purpose is to try and physically block cappers from grabbing the flag while moving at high speed, slowing their momentum and lessening their chances of getting away and scoring.

Another position used both on the offense and defense is the "sniper" who tends to stay hidden and pick off enemies from afar. Snipers were both an offensive and defensive role, used to both kill incoming attackers and thin out or pin down enemy defenses.


A free-for-all fight to the death. All inventory stations are open to all players.

Defend and Destroy

In this mission, each team has an objective (usually a power generator) they are charged with defending while simultaneously trying to destroy the enemy objective.

Weapons[edit | edit source]

Blaster A long range, high rate of fire pistol that fires energy bolts at the target, using the player's energy reserve as ammunition, giving the player unlimited ammunition over time. However, this weapon does very little damage, and is nearly useless in conjunction with jet pack use, making it a very weak weapon in most situations. Focused blaster fire from long range by several players could destroy enemy assets such as turrets, scanners, and other stationary equipment. However, most players, especially ones that favored light armor, traded this weapon in as soon as they could get to an equipment station.

Plasma rifle A short to medium ranged high powered explosive weapon that fires glowing balls of plasma at a relatively fast rate of fire. These plasma shots do large damage to the area around where they hit and continue to do damage for a short time as the plasma explosion burns the area for about a second after impact, making this weapon especially useful at destroying stationary targets such as turrets, stations, and generators. The shots lose strength and disappear after travelling a certain distance, making it useless at long range.

Disc Launcher The hallmark weapon of Tribes. The disc launcher firs a medium-long range explosive disc in a straight line that explodes on impact. Often compared to a rocket launcher in other games. Usual server settings had players starting with a disc launcher upon spawning.

Chaingun A short-medium range rapid fire gun the spews bullets at a high rate of fire. Early in the game's evolution, this weapon was often shunned by players due to its difficulty of use, although it found some acceptance amongst heavy defenders who used it to spray approaching enemies. This weapon was found to be extremely useful in the hands of a skilled player in air to air fighting between two light armored players. Typical server settings have players starting with a chaingun upon spawning.

ELF A short range weapon that drains the target's power supply. This weapon could be used on players to reduce their power and rob them of the ability to use their jumpjets or heavy weapons or on equipment to drain shield power and in the case of turrets to prevent them from firing. Mainly useful for defense, or when players fight in pairs (one player uses the ELF to drain the target while the other player uses a normal weapon to finish the crippled enemy off).

Laser Rifle A long range sniper weapon availabale to light armor wearing the energy pack only. Fires a pinpoint laser beam that drains all power from the player's energy reserve and instantaneously strikes its target. With a full charge the laser does high damage to light and medium armor. Hits on heavy armor and shots with less than full energy in the player's reserve do less damage. "Head shots" do more damage than body shots. Also, since the weapon instantly drained the player's power reserve, this weapon was not a good choice for close range fights where jumpjets and mobility were key to survival.

Grenade Launcher A medium range area affect weapon available to all armor types. Especially popular in many light armor builds. The grenade launcher fires small explosive grenades that detonate a few seconds after being launched. Grenades bounce if they hit the ground or a wall too soon. This makes the weapon particularly useful inside, where grenades could be shot around corners to do damage while the shooter remains safely out of sight.

Mortar Only available to heavy armor. The mortar is a long range weapon that fires a large shell which produces an extremely powerful explosion upon impact, strong enough to kill a player in light armor if it detonates close enough. The mortar shell flies at a medium speed and has an easily visible trail that follows behind it. In addition, the mortar shell does not arm for explosion until a few seconds after it launches from the mortar, meaning that if the shell lands near the shooter it doesn't detonate for a few seconds.

Modifications (covered below) will usually add weapons or may slightly change the names of already existing weapons.