Written by  :  Kasey Chang (4617)
Written on  :  Nov 24, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
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An excellent example where the sum is greater than all the parts

The Good

Dynamic music that changes depending on combat rhythm, the back story, the graphics, the little graphical touches like hand moving the stick, intelligent wingman...

The Bad

A bit too repetitive, AI needs work, too much talking heads, a few impossible missions

The Bottom Line

Wing Commander is the game that managed to combine all the great touches into one solid package, and forever changed PC gaming. Wing Commander is hardly the first PC game to use bitmap for 3D graphics (Falcon was), or the first game to feature MIDI music, or digitized sound, or any of the many features that we now take for granted, but it's the first game to do ALL of that in a single game.

You're a 2nd Lieutenant just out of the Academy, with some good work under your belt. You're posted to Tiger's Claw, the flagship of the Confederation Fleet. The Confederation have been at war with the Kilrathi for the past 20 years, and you're just now joining the Vega campaign. Will you help the Confederation to victory, or go down in infamy?

The game is divided into two parts, the shipboard activity where you save/load game, visit the bar to get the latest gossip, or go on to the next mission briefing, and the 3D space combat part. The 3D space combat have you sitting in the cockpit, where you control the craft like roll, turn, up/down, afterburner, as well as fire guns and launch missiles. There are four different crafts on the Confed side, each with different flight characteristics and armament. You will have a wingman on each mission, and you should keep the wingman alive as the wingman will help you if you issue the right orders. You can also taunt the enemy. When the mission is complete, land back onboard the ship and get ready for the next one.

The mission tree is quite complex, and you do not need to "win" every mission. In fact, it's often more fun to try to lose a few missions in order to fly more missions and get more kills on the killboard (yes, every single kill you make are recorded). You also get promotions and medals should your performance warrant it.

The overall experience has forever changed PC gaming. Medals and promotions are nothing new, musics are nothing new, speech are nothing new, but all together, Origin has shown the world that a space combat sim need not be boring with just stats and shooting. It can have a decent backstory and emotional impact as well. This game launched a whole franchise for Origin, and even inspired cartoon series, several novels, and a major motion picture!