Starflier Walkthrough by breslin_

Version: 1 | Updated: 09/08/06 | Printable Version

==                Freelancer "Starflier" Walkthrough                 ==

2004-2005 Steve Breslin
revised 2006


You will be welcome to republish this howsoever you like, but please do
not alter the text in any way, and please let me know in advance. My
contact information is at the end of the file.


This Starflier Walkthrough is designed purely to stretch your limits as
a pilot, by setting a single goal: get to the end of the standard
campaign flying only the Starflier, the ship you acquire when the game

While the Starflier is the "weakest" ship in the game, it does have some
significant advantages: the only ship that even approaches the
Starflier's maneuverability is the Drake. Also like the Drake, the
Starflier is difficult to hit because it is quite small. With some
finesse and grace, and relying on the ship's strengths, you can achieve
this challenge.

It is crucially important to tailor your weapons loadout to the enemy's
shields, and to equip the shield that is most resilient to the enemy's
guns. Before each mission, I make a recommendation on the best equipment
for the job. -- But you might like to re-familiarize yourself with these
matters: so, for your reference, I here list the three types of shields,
and six types of guns, along with some remarks and suggestions.

========================= Shields ==========================

Strong against laser, photon, and pulse weapons.
Weak against plasma and particle weapons.
Best shield available to the Starflier:
Available at Willard Research Station, California.

Strong against plasma and particle weapons.
Weak against tachyon and neutron weapons.
Best shield available to the Starflier:
Available at Rochester, New York.

Strong against tachyon and neutron weapons.
Weak against laser, pulse, and photon weapons.
Best shield available to the Starflier:
Available at California Minor, California.

========================= Guns =============================

+ Strong against graviton shields.
- Weak against molecular shields.
Recommended loadout:
Lavablade Mk II
Lavablade Mk II
Lavablade Mk III
Available at Fort Bush, New York.
** Note: these guns have a slow fire time. I don't use them.

Laser and Photon
(Two distinct guns, but having the same strengths and weaknesses.)
+ Strong against positron shields.
- Weak against graviton shields.
Recommended loadout:
Barrager I
Barrager I
Barrager I
Available from Rochester, New York. (Junkers)
Alternate loadout (faster velocity, otherwise weaker):
Available at Buffalo, New York. (Rogue)

Does mostly shield damage.
++ Very strong against shields.
+ Strongest against positron shields.
- Weaker against graviton shields.
-- Very little hull damage.
** Rather ineffective by themselves, but when combined with other
** gun types, these are useful and powerful shield-killers.
Available guns:
Stunpulse (level 2)
Advanced Stunpulse (level 3)
Available Baltimore Shipyard, New York.

+ Strong against graviton shields.
- Weak against molecular shields.
Recommended loadout:
Advanced Scorpion
Available at Ouray, Colorado. (Xeno)

+ Strong against molecular shields.
- Weak against positron shields.
** Note that this must be matched with other non-tachyon weapons:
** there is no level 1 or 2 tachyon weapon, so it must be combined with
** other weapon types.
Recommended when fighting against Molecular shields:
Matterthief 1
Available at IMG bases. E.g., Cardiff, Freeport 4.

+ Strong against molecular shields.
- Weak against positron shields.
** The Starflier cannot equip Neutron weapons.


Nothing really new here: indeed, most people fly the entire Mission 1 in
a Starflier anyway, although fans of the "Sideplay" walkthrough might
pick up a Rhino in Pittsburg, during the Mission 1 interlude.

When you get to Pittsburgh: if you sell your nanobots and most of your
shield batteries, and if you've flown aggressively, you should be able
to comfortably afford three Advanced Starbeams, and an Advanced Sentry
Light Fighter shield. You should get them for the interim, but you won't
be keeping this equipment for long.

==== After Mission 1 ====

If you have not already done so, you should acquire an Advanced Sentry
Light Fighter shield from Pittsburg. You'll replace this with a Guardian
shield when you reach Willard Research Station (during the second

Because the Starflier has relatively little power, you'll want to gather
all usable guns and equipment.

I recommend you visit he shipwreck Flint, located in the lower-right
part of sector 6C. The Azrael guns are useful, so keep them. Sell the
remaining goods on Manhattan, and you can easily afford the following

From Rochester, acquire:
the Sconce shield
three Barragers
the Heavy Thruster
Improved Countermeasures
one Javelin missile launcher
one Eraser missile launcher
one Stalker missile launcher

From Baltimore (or Newark, etc.), acquire:
Advanced Stunpulse

From Fort Bush, acquire:
Lavablade Mk II
Lavablade Mk II
Lavablade Mk III

(Personally, I don't use the plasma guns, as I find them too slow for my
combat style. But do pick them up. What's the harm in having them
anyway, right? The Lavablades are the only plasma guns in the game that
are available to the Starflier.)

At this point, you have one of three ideal shields, and three of five
ideal gun loadouts. 


Recommended equipment for this mission:
Advanced Sentry shield

I recommend a full Barrager loadout for this mission, although I admit
this is fairly slow-going. In principle, a Lavablade loadout should be
ideal, but my experience is that the guns are simply too slow, and are
actually worse than Barragers. Better would be Scorpions, but you
haven't acquired them yet.

==== After Mission 2 ====

I recommend you visit the shipwreck Balboa, located in the lower-right
part of sector 5C in California. Sell the goods wherever you like, and
you will easily afford the following equipment.

From California Minor, acquire:
Cuisse shield
one Slingshot missile launcher
one Windstalker missile launcher

From Willard Research Station, acquire:
Guardian shield

From Ouray, acquire:
two Scorpion guns
one Advanced Scorpion gun

From Buffalo (or Alcatraz), acquire:
one Drail gun

Sell any Starbeams and Justice weaponry you have acquired; the Azraels
and Drail are better for this weapon type. You might also prefer them
over the Barragers.

At this point, you have all three ideal shields, and four of five ideal
gun loadouts. The only remaining gun to acquire is the Matterthief,
which you will acquire after you reach Bretonian space. (You might also
like to scope out the Bounty Hunter Brave I (level 2 particle gun) and
Gunslinger I (level 2 lazer), available at Sheffield, Manchester. I
wouldn't go out of my way to get them, however: the Scorpion surpasses
the Brave; and although the Gunslinger is better than the Azrael, the
Barrager tops them both by my estimation.)


Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Barragers or 2 Azraels (or 2 Gunslingers) and a Drail
(hereafter I simply recommend Barragers)

For a change of pace, you could approach the second phase of the mission
with your stunpulse/missile combination of choice. Just make sure you
have enough ammunition to take out the three Rheinland vessels.

For the third phase of the mission (defending Willard Station from the
Rheinland pirates), I suggest you equip the Slingshot missile launcher,
along with two Barragers.

Mission 4

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Guardian shield
And either...
  Slingshot missile
  Advanced Scorpion

The mission is still relatively easy, but you might also want to equip
the Improved Countermeasure Dropper, and your mine-dropper of choice.

After arriving at Mactan, switch to:
Cuisse shield
And optionally, your missile launcher of choice.

==== After Mission 4 ====

From Cardiff (or any other IMG base), acquire one Matterthief.

From Cadiz, acquire an Advanced Thruster and an Advanced Countermeasure
Dropper. (You must be "in the white" with the Corsairs.)

Before the next mission, acquire one Razor Mine dropper.

==== Sideplay challenge ====

This is not necessary for completion of the Starflier campaign, but it's
a fun challenge.

From the Sabre wrecks in Omicron Alpha (4F), acquire at least one Ripper
Mine dropper, and twenty Ripper mines. (It's practically impossible to
do this unless you're "in the white" with the Outcasts.)


Although the fastest way to Omicron Alpha is via Omega-41 and Omicron
Theta, there are some dangers along this route. Be warned not to
approach the neutron star in Omicron Alpha. Also, in the likely event
that Bounty Hunters don't currently feel kindly to you, be ready for an
ambush as you enter Omicron Theta. It's a good idea to save the game at
Cadiz, and again at Freeport 9, if you can dock there safely. Don't rely
too heavily on "Autosave" on your way to Omicron Alpha -- it's possible
to get into an unmanageable situation.

Tricky tip:

Retrieving the Ripper Mine Dropper and the Ripper Mines from the
wreckage can be difficult, as the nearby Nomads far outpower your little
vessel. But with some finesse and patience, it can be done. My strategy
is this:

First, fly to the Unknown jump-hole (in Omicron Alpha), then back off to
a safe distance (between 8-10k, or as far as necessary if any Nomads are
chasing). You do this so you can get the several Sabre wrecks on your
scanner (listed under the "bases" readout in this case).

From a safe distance, kill your engines, and select the first Sabre
wreck on your list. Then, "scan" it by clicking on the "select target"
icon in your lower-left hand HUD (it's the picture of a ship with the
box around it). (Alternatively, you can simply double-click on the
object in the list.) Scanning the object, you'll be able to see if
there's a Ripper displayed in the picture; if you're not sure, you can
click on the "select next sub-component" icon (it's the arrow pointing
to a round crosshairs). If the ship appears empty, move on to the next
wreck in the list.

When you find a ship in which a Ripper displayed, fly to the ship at top
speed, shoot it, and tractor in the equipment. Then, very quickly back
away to a safe distance, and repeat the process. You can fly through a
jump-hole to autosave at any point during this operation.

Note: I've sometimes gotten a false reading from my scanner, so don't
get too frustrated if you shoot a ship that should be loaded, but
nothing comes out. Just back off to a safe distance, and continue the
operation as usual.

When you're done, you should have at least twenty Ripper Mines, four
Ripper Mine Droppers, and some other equipment that you can't use. Sell
the surplus as you see fit, but I recommend you save the surplus for
now, so you can sell it later piecemeal, to achieve the inter-mission
money requirements.

At this point you have a perfectly equipped Starflier. A rare treasure.

Mission 5

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Barrager, or Javelin missile
Barrager, or Stalker or Eraser missile
Matterthief or Slingshot missile
Razor mine
(or Ripper mine, but you might want to save the ammunition for later.)

Note that I recommend against doubling up on any missile: a Javelin and
a Stalker, for example, are far superior to two Javelins or two
Stalkers. If you use two of the same missile launcher, you burn through
your ammunition twice as quickly; and when that's gone, two of your
three gun-slots become useless.

You should choose whatever combination of guns and missiles you feel
most comfortable with. Recall that you'll be fighting Rheinlanders
packing Tachyon weapons, and using Molecular shields. So the Cuisse
shield is best, and now is a perfect opportunity to break out your new
Tachyon weapon, the Matterthief, if you so choose.

The combat is fairly light in the first half of the mission, so there's
little chance, during the first part, that you'll run out of ammunition
for any missiles you select. The second part is a bit more difficult
than the first, so make any adjustments you like during the intermission
at Baxter Research Station. If you decide to go with missiles for the
second half, I recommend using only one. Unless you're a far better shot
than I, you'll run out of ammunition well before the last Rheinlander

Before the next mission, acquire one Tadpole Mine dropper.

Mission 6

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Slingshot missile
Tadpole mine

The first part of this mission (the race against Dexter Hovis) should be
very simple. You have the fastest ship in the game, after all. But alas,
it's not so easy. Your tiny ship has very little inertial momentum, so
one bump from Hovis, and you go flying out of control. If you can get in
front of Hovis at the very beginning, you're golden; so definitely hit
your thrusters as soon as possible, and take the corners fairly hard.
But if he's in front, give him a wide berth.

I've found the race far easier if you shoot out the several weapons
platforms before docking at the Battleship Hood. It may well be
coincidence, but I have had serious trouble in the race when I didn't do
this, and it's a snap when I do. So if you're having trouble with the
race, consider this move. (Hovis will still call a couple of his cronies
to shoot at you towards the end of the lap, no matter what you do.)

The second part of the mission consists in destroying the Rheinlanders
attacking the GMG station Glorius. They are equipped roughly the same as
the ones from the previous mission. Thus, the recommended equipment for
this mission is about same, except you will want to upgrade your
mine-dropper, and I especially recommend the Slingshot missile launcher.
The fight is relatively short, and the Slingshot makes it that much

The last part of the mission consists in escorting Quintain through a
couple Rheinland ambushes, and back to Leeds. After re-equipping at
Glorius, the same loadout should serve perfectly well.

Mission 7

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Matterthief, or Slingshot missile
Tadpole mine

Unless you go missile-crazy, you'll easily reach Shinkaku without
depleting your 50 Slingshots. The missiles are convenient, but if you
prefer strict gunning, the Matterthief is the best choice against the
Rheinland fighters.

Between Shinkaku and Cali lies a small Rheinland fleet. I recommend the
two Barragers, plus the Slingshot missile, as my strategy is to take out
the Gunboats quickly with the Slingshots. After this, I make passes at
the Goethe, flying along its flank, laying Tadpole mines all the way
down. A few passes like this, and the Battleship is destroyed. Once the
Gunships and Battleship are dispatched, the remaining fighters are
relatively easy to handle. You'll run out of missiles, and destroying
Rheinland fighters with Barragers and mines is, I admit, rather
slow-going. But you've eliminated the major threats early; anyway, this
is the safest and most effective strategy I've found.

Mission 8

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Slingshot missile
Tadpole mine

The potential problem with this mission is the swift destruction of the
two weapon platforms nearby Tekagi's transport. There comes "mission
failure" if they are not dispatched quickly enough. So it is necessary
to hit the two weapons platforms swiftly and decisively with both
missiles and guns. After this, the rest is (by comparison) relatively

Once you're finished, back on Kyoto, you may want to quickly continue to
the next mission. If you've run out of things to sell, the three wrecks
in Hokkaido (4C) are nearby, and will easily provide the necessary push.

Before the next mission, acquire one Driller Mine dropper.

Mission 9

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Advanced Scorpion or Slingshot missile
Driller mine or Ripper mine

Here we have the first really difficult mission. There are two main
parts to this mission, and unfortunately no autosave between them.
First, you must dispatch Tekagi's patrol, then shoot down the four
shield generators protecting the entrance to his base.

The Tekagi patrol is pretty difficult, but luckily you have several
allies taking a share of the damage. Rely heavily upon them; you're
playing only a supporting role in this battle. It doesn't help for you
to draw the fire from the enemy away from your Dragon allies, but if you
can do some damage to the enemy, this speeds things along.

It's a good idea to play especially defensively, so as to save your
shield batteries and nanobots, which you'll want while breaking into
Tekagi's base. You must rely on your maneuverability, ducking and
bolting the instant you come under fire. (Bouncing off of asteroids is a
good way to change trajectory in a hurry.) When your shield goes down,
go into a purely defensive posture, running and weaving at full
throttle, using the asteroids as cover. When you get the opportunity,
try to target the most damaged enemy. Firstly because you want to
eliminate the number of enemy guns in the battle as quickly as possible,
and also because you want to avoid a head-to-head battle. If you find an
enemy who's targeting one of your allies, you need to worry less about
his gun pointing at you. While, yes, it's easier to aim at a head-on
target, it's much safer to go for the guy who's weaving: if he's
weaving, he's not shooting at you, and plus, you'll weave along with him
as you target him, so the enemies behind you have a more difficult

When you get to Tekagi's arch, I recommend you go straight for the
generators, not (as you're instructed) through the cylinder that cuts
through the giant asteroid. You'll want to use the shield surrounding
the top of the arch as cover from the Battleship's guns. So, take up a
position under the arch, so the shield is between you and the
Battleship: this is your home position for this operation. With the
shield between you and the Battleship, your position is relatively safe.
Target any of the generators.

A couple of the generators are comparatively easy; the arch's shield
provides perfect cover. Fly slowly towards the targeted generator,
shooting it the whole way, and when you're just passing it, lay a mine
and hit your thrusters, turning back towards the asteroid and cylinder,
to return to your main position under the arch. A few passes like this,
and the generator will be destroyed.

A couple of the generators are not so easy; the arch's shield does not
provide adequate cover from the Battleship. The pattern is basically the
same, but you'll have to do more runs, because you have to take the runs
at full thrust. When you've returned to your position under the arch
(and away from the Battleship's guns), take a moment as necessary to
recharge your shield. (Don't take any runs with your shield down.)
Beware any incoming missiles; they're fairly easy to out-maneuver, and
it's worth the trouble, as one blow will knock out your shield.

The instant the last generator is destroyed, dock on the arch. You'll be
close enough that you'll immediately get into the familiar "letterbox
screen" part of the docking pattern, which means you're no longer
vulnerable to enemy fire. Landing on the arch means finally achieving a
much-sought-after autosave.

You'll have to deal with a few fighters and a couple Gunships shortly
after the interlude concludes, and you probably will have few if any
shield batteries or nanobots. Nevertheless, this battle will seem fairly
easy compared to what you just went through. For fun you might begin by
selecting a gunship to terrorize. Remember to get behind it, and make
passes at it so you can use your Driller mines on it. (Your guns may be
relatively weak, but those mines are pretty good.) Alternatively, you
can just concentrate on the fighters.

Mission 10

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Cuisse shield
Barrager, Javelin, or Stunpulse
Barrager, Stalker or Eraser, or Stunpulse
Matterthief, Slingshot, or Advanced Stunpulse
Driller mine

In the first couple parts of this mission, your role will be one of
minor support, the main point being simply to stay alive. Thus, the
suggested loadout is pretty open-ended.

Along the way to New Berlin, you'll encounter a small Rheinland fleet.
Although their guns are a significant threat, and you should certainly
keep your distance from the battleship, you can mostly just stay out of
the way and let your allies take care of the enemies. After a certain
number have fallen, your group will retreat and proceed to New Berlin.

Upon your approach to Bruchsal, some Rheinlanders attack. These are rather easy,
and again your allies will do the heavy lifting.

After reaching Bruchsal, you should change your loadout to the following:
Cuisse shield
Javelin missile
Stalker missile (or Scorpion)
Slingshot missile
Driller mine

Your main goal in what follows is the destruction of one Nomad
Battleship, so you're equipping for maximum damage. If you've equipped a
full-missile loadout, you have barely enough juice to destroy the
battleship, but don't miss many shots. If you decide to take a Scorpion
along for the ride, you're sure to have enough firepower for the job,
but the going is slower.

When you reach the battleships, select one and focus your firepower on
it. Be careful to avoid the crossfire, but otherwise stay focused on
your Nomad Battleship. You must make every missile count, but they alone
will not sum enough damage to destroy the Battleship: you will need your
Driller mines also. You can use your mines to good effect, if you fly
down the flank, dropping mines as you blast missiles at it.

Or better, if you can find a relatively quiet place near the battleship,
and can risk killing your engines for a few seconds, come to a stop and
release mines while you're facing the Battleship. They are seekers, and
should find their way to the right target; but if they're not connecting
with the Battleship, maneuver your vessel a bit and try again.

If all of your missiles and most of your mines hit the target, it will

Mission 11

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Guardian shield
Advanced Scorpion
Driller mine

The Navy fighters that ambush you as you enter New York are relatively
harmless. The satellite installation is quite a challenge by comparison,
in part because it's in open space, and also because there are weapons
platforms to contend with.

You can actually take down the satellite fairly quickly, simply flying
tight circles around it and dropping mines, but as it's not a threat,
it's best to ignore it until the fighters are destroyed. (You'll have to
destroy the fighters anyhow.) Once they are destroyed, you can position
your ship such that the large "shield" on the satellite (which I'm
guessing represents a the satellite's solar array) stands between you
and the weapons platforms. From this position, you can destroy the
satellite with your guns (or mines), and the weapons platforms can do
nothing to stop you.

The standoff at the gate into Alaska is more difficult still, as now the
Navy fighters have equipped Nomad weaponry. Nevertheless, if you're
careful to avoid the line of fire, you can pick a few of them off. If
you get into trouble, you can go into a circle pattern around Walker's

Once you've made it to Alaska, the worst is over. You'll be attacked
again upon your exit, but you can just stay in cruise the whole time,
avoiding all fighting until Walker heroically dispatches the two
Battleships. Upon your return to New York, you'll automatically drop out
of cruise as you approach another enemy Battleship. Here you can simply
return to cruise and evade the crossfire, while you wait for the Osiris
to appear once again.

Mission 12

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Guardian shield
Slingshot missile
Driller mine

I've tried this with many different loadouts, and the above
recommendation is the only combination that I've had any success with.

Unfortunately, even if you've done the Ripper sideplay challenge, you
only have 20 Ripper mines, which is not enough for successful completion
of the mission. Drillers are necessary.

Given the Starflier's limitations, this is the most difficult challenge
of the Starflier campaign, the "make it or break it" mission, so good
luck, and brace yourself for a challenge.

The strategy itself is pretty simple. Find a relatively safe spot within
around 150 meters of a Generator, face the Generator and cut your
engines. Then give it everything you've got, keeping a close eye on the
mines, to be sure they're moving towards and hitting the Generator.
(Repeat the process for all three Generators.) When you run out of
missiles and mines, you'll still have enough time to take out the rest
of the last generator with your guns alone.

This is fine in theory, but finding an even relatively safe spot is
rather difficult at times. Keep it icy, man! And don't get too
distressed if you have to try this mission many times. I did.

Once you've acquired the power cell, get out of there quickly, before
the jump-hole collapses. On the other side is a fleet of Nomads. At this
point you probably have zero mines or missiles, zero shield-generators
and nanobots, and you're probably also somewhat damaged. This makes
things a bit tricky, but be heartened -- the really difficult part is

You can go into cruise and fly around the perimeter of the battle,
avoiding cruise-disruptor missiles with cruise disruptors and fancy
flying: your allies will eventually destroy the Nomads. However, this is
time-consuming and also dangerous, so I prefer to go into the thick of
battle immediately. With a little luck, you'll make it through after a
few tries.

This battle may remind you somewhat of the Tekagi patrol, although it is
more difficult. I have the same battle-advice as above, but also recall
that Nomad Interceptors drop much-needed shield generators. So for each
one of them you take out, you substantially improve your position. The
Gunships are easier targets, though better armored. They're worth your
effort also, because they're dangerous; however, they don't drop
anything useful.

Mission 13

Recommended equipment for this mission:
Guardian shield
Slingshot missile
Driller mine or Ripper mine

The early parts of this mission are relatively easy and straightforward.
You can even be somewhat reckless in the first part of the mission,
since after the evacuation you'll have a chance to repair and re-equip
on the Osiris.

You'll then encounter relatively light resistance outside the Nomad
jump-gate. Avoid contact with these enemy ships, so you can save your
ammunition, shield batteries and nanobots for the main assault. After
you get through, fly straight for one of the power generators, and take
each one with the familiar combination of guns, missiles and mines. (Be
aware that these things are quite large in size, and it is therefore
difficult to judge how close you are; judge your distance from the meter
display, not visually, and be careful to fire your mines only when
you're close enough to make them count.)

The shield generators (a.k.a. "Nomad Satellites") around the central
Nomad fortress can be taken simply with your Scorpions. Evade the Nomad
ships, but otherwise concentrate on the generators. The safest position
(away from the Nomad weapons platforms) is between a generator and the
main Nomad fortress.

When you've destroyed two of the several generators, you're done. You've
accomplished the most difficult challenge there is to find in
Freelancer. Welcome to the Starflier Elites.


Anyway, I hope you found this walkthrough enjoyable. Let me know if
there's anything significant that I have left out.


This trail was blazed by Sherlog back in 2003, on the forums
of <> -- I just came later to perfect the
plan a bit, and mostly just to revise and document.


Steve Breslin
versim at hotmail dot com

Corrections and suggestions are warmly welcome.

Please put [freelancer walkthrough] at the beginning of the subject
line, to make sure I don't accidentally delete your mail. 

=== End ===