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SummaryA fascinating way for delivering a top-quality game to the masses...
The GoodSecret Ops is a rare breed. Mainly for 2 reasons. One: It's a free game, and Two: It's a HUGE Free Game.
In my opinion, Origin did Wing Commander fans a great service by providing us with a High-qualtiy game for absolutely nothing. Other than the huge INITIAL download (About 120MB), the game is great. I had the bonus of having a cable modem to download the episode from, so those with a 56K Modem are in for a LONG download time. Thankfully, Origin also hacked the full download into sizeable 20MB chunks.
Well enough of that, let's get into the meat of the meal...
The graphics, are outstanding. I remember playing the original WC series on my 386, and I still remember how jerky and unrealistic it feeled. Not any longer. The flight model rivals X-wing and feels very fluid and graceful (for a fighter game that is). Even on my clunky old P233, the graphics and the special effects are top-notch. There is some slowdown, mostly when fly thorugh an exploded Kilrathi fighter, but other than that, I am very impressed with the games graphics. All the cinemas are done with the game's engine, so the transitions between cinema and flight time are seemless.
The Sound is arguably the best I've heard in a space-sim. Although not as familar as X-wing blasters or the roar of a TIE fighters engines, It sounds REAL good. With the help of the Speech pack Add-on, the in-flight game comes alive with sounds, making the game feel that much more realistic.
The Control is well thought out as well. I'm a huge X-wing fan, so getting used to the different keyboard layout was difficult, but worth getting used to. Too bad there wasn't a way to re-map the keys to your tastes.
And finally, the way it was presented through the internet is still cool. After completing an episode, you receive a Password that unlocks the next episode, and so forth, until the end of the game. As far as I can tell, the Multiple Branches system is still used (i.e., depending on the Success or Failure of each mission determines the next mission you fly), and it still works like a charm.
The BadNot much. The game is a fantastic download.
Unfortunately Origin Systems no longer has the Episodes available for download. Luckily, ingava.com has the individual episodes availble for download off their site, so those who took the effort to download the massive game can enjoy it to it's fullest extent. Also, some of the links at the offical website are bad links, and if you want to download the 20Meg chunks, you might have to go directly to the SecretOps ftp site (ftp-east.sercetops.com or ftp-west.secretops.com) in order to download the game.
The Bottom LineBottom Line: It's Free :)
But seriously, I applaud Origin System for giving back to its loyal customers by way of this game. I hope other game developers take note of this and also start offering great games for free. At least a way of saying "thank you" to all the devoted gamers in the world that helped them become the companies they are today.
It's a fantastic space-sim that is worthy of the name Wing Commander. Download it today, or Buy it in the Wing Commander:Propechy/SecretOps Cd Package.
Either way, you'll be treated to a fantastic space sim.