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SummaryThe game that has arguably put the PC as a serious machine for gaming.
The GoodWing Commander II Vengeance of the Kilrathi (WC2) was the first game I have had the privilege to buy myself. It was during this time I was inundated with adventure games. There were few space simulators that debuted at this time but I can only recall playing games such as Stellar 7, Nova 9, or even the very first Mechwarrior. After playing the original Wing Commander, my expectations heightened when I heard the sequel was coming out.
Before Heart of the Tiger took the series into FMV and full 3D, and long before Prophecy topped off the space combat franchise of franchises with a whisper against the likes of Descent Freespace and X-Wing, Vengeance of the Kilrathi opened the door to a little heard of genre and the masses ran in drooling. Wing Commander II was engaging, dynamic, and full of life! It was everything its predecessor was, only better and more impacting. With its multiple upgrades, the title that was cool became the title that was awesome. For being so memorable, recognizable, enjoyable, polished and sweet, Wing Commander II easily earns its rank among classic games. WC2 still placed emphasis on presentation - the elements that surround the gameplay and imbue it with meaning.
WC2 continued with the style of hand drawn characters, its unnamed character and unique space fighters. This time they added the ability of speech. It was during this time WC2 rewarded PC gamers who had the coveted Sound Blaster. WC's tradition of elaborate launch sequences are still here and there is always the option of skipping them. The tradition of dynamic music makes its second installment and it is well conceived and composed. In this sequel, the intergalactic war between the Terran Confederation and the Kilrathi Empire continues but this time there are plot twists within the Confederation itself! Ooh! Aah!
WC2 still has the neat missile tracking crosshairs since WC1 but one of nicest additions to WC2, which also happens to be the most enjoyable moments in the game, is the replay camera which can be played back as a whole single mission. In addition, angles of the replay camera can be used to replay the torpedo runs or even missile cams! Although the replay cannot be rewinded, it is a nice touch for a game that was done to exploit its cinematic tone.
Another feature I've always liked about WC2 is its ship designs and the ability to use turrets on specific fighters and bombers. The ship designs are original and purposeful but not so much that they are unappealing.
The BadWC2's only weak point is its sappy story. Some parts of the story was cliched drama and clumsy make-out scenes but at least the hand drawn characters help subside some of the cheesy parts of the story. Other than that, the story was enough to immerse the player. Despite some of the weakness in the story, WC2 was definitely a faithful follow up from Wing Commander.
The Bottom LineEach and every Wing Commander game was at the forefront of technology and innovative gameplay when they were released. Games today still rarely exceed the polish and production values associated with installments in the series. This is why Wing Commander fans around the world share a special bond. WC2 exudes in a very well thought out single player experience that can't be beat.