Say, reader dear, do you like the future? Do you like jetpacks? Do you like mechs? Do you like first-person shooters? Do you like multiplayer with vehicles and bases? Do you like classic series which folks grumble go forgotten too often? Do you like skill-based movement exploiting weird physics tricks? Do you like free video games?
If you answered yes to at least three of those, hie thee to this website, where Tribes Ascend folks Hi-Rez Studios are offering (almost) the full Tribes world o’games for free, from 1994’s Earthsiege through to 2004’s Tribes Vengeance (their own Ascend, of course, being free-to-play anyway).
That’s a full decade of rompin’, stompin’, shootin’, skiin’ fun for you to blast through, and it is very exciting. Hi-Rez had stepped away from Tribes: Ascend, focusing on their MOBA Smite for a few years, but in September they came back with a surprise new update. These here freebies are a nice “Hey, Tribes!” gift.
There are a few hiccups. Starsiege Universe is supposed to contain both Starsiege and Starsiege: Tribes, but this download only has Starsiege. Presumably that’ll be fixed soon-ish. You’ll also need to get your hands dirty.
Most of the downloads are simply ISO files (a self-contained copy of a disc, an actual physical disc, like something you’d put in a DVD drive, like something you’d have to hold and touch with your actual hands – the ’90s were a wild time, let me tell you). Windows 8 and upwards come with built-in tools to load ISOs, but otherwise you’ll need to download something like… heck, I haven’t done this in years; readers, what’s good for simply loading ISOs? You’ll also need to wrestle with DOSBox for some if you don’t have a computer from 1997 at hand. There are a few other technological hurdles too, as detailed and worked around in this Reddit thread.
To give an abridged history of Tribes, Dynamix kicked the whole thing off with mech series Earthsiege, which jumped into the future with Starsiege then span off into Starsiege: Tribes, a multiplayer FPS series of huge maps, vehicles, and bases. Over the years, development duties and rights bounced between a few companies, but they ended up at Hi-Rez. If you want to be picky, this collection’s missing Earthsiege’s multiplayer sibling Metaltech: Battledrome but it does have the PlayStation 2 Tribes game and that novelty surely makes up for its absence.
I bet this Tribes 2 download doesn’t come with the Mötley Crüe theme song, though.