Other Space Sim's

criticalmass said:
Star Crusader?

I think that might be the one... (checks Google)...

"A solid 3D space combat underdog, Star Crusader has it all except the hype: great graphics (if not as sharp as Wing Commander), lots of cool and colorful ships, over 100 missions, and a great "space opera" plot about intergalactic family feuds that unfold as you progress. "

That sounds like the one! (Save for that they don't mention the ability to change sides.) Thanks! It's been driving me nuts trying to remember what it was called. I seem to have gotten it confused with the name "Jagged Alliance" at some point, and then couldn't remember what the actual name was! The only thing the description above gets wrong is that it *did* have hype when it was released. Somehow, though, the general gaming community wasn't impressed. :)
Yep, definitely Star Crusader. I had a hard time telling it apart from the other two, and mobygames.com didn't have much of a review, but in the trivia section, someone says:
This game allows you to switch sides in the middle of the game by "defecting". And unlike Wing Commander 4, you are NOT forced to defect, as you can finish the campaign on either side.
criticalmass said:
Star Rangers? Star Crusader? Xenocracy?

Ah well, just let me check my collection and see what registers as a space opera... (all WC titles removed):

Absolute Zero
I remember that game. Fun game to play, and the story was pretty good, too.
hey now! I bought Star Crusader as well and thought it was a darn decent space sim. Easily a hundred times better than Freespace... It didn't have quite the character interaction of Wing Commander but it did have a pretty decent plotline and character interaction on some levels. I played that game many times through on both sides of the conflict. I prefered the Gorene side but since Kara Helmer and Hella Selraise (sp?) were both so darn cute and they defected I had no choice but to follow them. :)