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Wing Commander

aka: Squadron, WC1, Wing Commander: Der 3D-Raumkampf-Simulator, Wing Commander: The 3-D Space Combat Simulator, Wingleader
Moby ID: 3
DOS Specs
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Description official descriptions

The Confederation have been at war with the Kilrathi for the past 20 years, and you're just now joining the Vega campaign. 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. Will you help the Confederation to victory, or go down in infamy?

Wing Commander is a space combat simulator interspersed with shipboard dialogs. Onboard the ship, you can 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 has 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. You'll be fighting several different types of enemy fighters and capital ships, and even combat a few Kilrathi aces.

When the mission is complete, land back onboard the ship and get ready for the next one. The campaign tree has both winning and losing paths.


  • ウイングコマンダー - Japanese spelling
  • 银河飞将 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Average score: 82% (based on 36 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 200 ratings with 17 reviews)

The game that began it all, and made a long series of hatred for Kilrathi.

The Good
Wing Commander started the space flight sim, so its no wonder it's still a good game. There are many different missions, and all of them you end up blowing up the enemy ships; in other words, mindless gameplay. But it worked, and that is why it is still the classic it is now.

The Bad
The cockpit is so fragging huge, sometimes you can't tell half of what you're doing; also, you'll find yourself shooting your allies by acident a lot.

The Bottom Line
Fly in a ship, blowing up (almost) evrything you see. Simple, huh?

DOS · by Dragoon (106) · 2000

I avoided flight-sims like the plague until this one came along.

The Good
This game is the grandaddy of all space flight sagas and was truly revolutionary for its time. I liked almost everything about it, and I'm a flight-simulator hater. The game is easy to learn, fun to play, and satisfying to complete. We're talking leaps and bounds compared to the then staple flight sims that have you drone on and on for hours over the Kansas corn fields!

As the title suggests, you are a Wing Commander. Your mission each time is to go out and kick some Kilrathi behind in one fashion or another. Depending on your success, or lack thereof, the plot branches off in one of several directions. But fear not, you are not in this alone. You have trusty wingmen (some are women, and some not so trusty) who will accompany you on each mission. So communicate and coordinate with your compadre, and go take out them cats out there!

The Bad
Overall, the game was too easy to beat. Also, the wingmen that accompany you on each mission flew more like nincompoops than graduates of a military space academy. It's not uncommon for you to finish a mission having garnered 9 kills while your wingmen came home with zippo. What do they think this is? A casual Sunday flight through Kansas?!

The Bottom Line
The Wing Commander series is better than the X-Wing/Tie Fighter series. When Paladin died, I almost cried...Okay, enough sentimentality! Chalk 'em kills up, Charlie!

DOS · by Yeah Right (50) · 2000

Looks and feels like an expensive Hollywood sci-fi movie

The Good
The first thing you will notice when you start the game is the incredible quality of the graphics. And the Hollywood style epic sci-fi soundtrack is simply impressive for a PC game made in 1990.

All the characters, and the settings look so real. You feel just like you are in there. In almost all of the major cutscenes screen sized animations are used. In no other game excluding the games using real movie clips or vector graphics I have ever seen that big character animations. The cutscenes are also random in themselves (e.g. everytime the briefing starts people sit down or stand up in different order).

The Bad
The game is generally very hard, and the perceived distance between the enemy ships and your ship does not match closely with the actual distance due to the pseudo 3D game engine.

The Bottom Line
Definetely a milestone in PC gaming.

DOS · by IJan (1971) · 1999

[ View all 17 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Save the destroyer. Victor Vance (18099) Jul 30, 2014
Amazing non-linear story from a space simulator? Indra was here (20755) Nov 11, 2008
Need help landing. Indra was here (20755) Nov 8, 2008
How Many Floppy Diskettes? mobiusclimber (235) May 21, 2008


Amiga version

The standard Amiga version of Wing Commander has only 16 colors, as it was released just before the Amiga 1200 which added the 256-color AGA version. Some early demos were made in 32 colors, but the number of colors had to be reduced as the game was too slow on not accelerated Amigas. The only 256-color version is the one bundled with the CD32 system, which also runs on A1200s with CD drives.

Auto pilot

Due to the way the game has you auto-piloting to different nav points where the action takes place, most gamers would think that the engine simply has a generic "endless" space and it simply spawns the required objects when you use the autopilot feature. In reality the game actually generates the entire area you see on your nav computer with all its objects. This can be seen when actually flying to each of the nav points manually.


Wing Commander features a full "winning" and "losing" branches of a campaign tree, with some "neither" branches where you can turn yourself around. Unfortunately, most players simply replay each mission until they win (or else they eject and reload the old savegame), thus NEVER experiencing the "losing" side of the campaign, thus wasting all the effort put in by Origin. Origin simplified the campaign flowchart in all later games (and the mission packs) so that they no longer need completely separate campaign paths for the "losing" branch, to save on development costs.

Copy protection

The original package came with blueprints for the 4 Confed fighters in the game: Hornet, Scimitar, Raptor, and Rapier. The copy protection ask you questions from those blueprints.


Most of the major cutscenes are random in themselves (e.g. every time the briefing starts people sit down and stand up in different order).


This game was almost canceled the quarter before it shipped. The sales & marketing director Marten Davies at Origin did not believe it would sell. In an interview with the German magazine GameStar (issue 05/2016), Roberts refutes this claim and replaces it with a different anecdote: Roberts believed the game would sell 100.000 units, Davies calculated with at least 200.000 units. So Roberts did bet his car (Porsche 944 Turbo) on it - and lost because the game sold 250.000 units in a short time frame. However, with the royalties he could easily afford a new car of the same model...


When you fly a mission with "Maniac", there's the name "Joker" written on his helmet, however if you fly with the other pilots, the right name is on their helmets. Probably Origin changed this before the final release. At least this happens when you play the original Wing Commander Missions with the sm2.exe from Secret Missions 2: Crusade.


The game manual, like other Origin games, is written inside the universe and titled "Claw Marks: The Onboard Magazine of TCS Tiger's Claw". Inside is various stories and articles that might be interesting to an active pilot, including a set of ship's schematics under the heading "Joan's Spacecraft". This is a various obvious nod to the Jane's Information Group which for years published encyclopedic specifications of ships, aircraft, tanks and other machines of war. In the video game world, the Jane's branding has been attached to multiple products.


There have been eight novels written and published set in the Wing Commander universe; unusually, most of them have been at least partially written by the same author, and hence for game novel adaptations can be considered to contain extraordinary degrees of internal continuity:1. Freedom Flight (1992), by Ellen Guon and Mercedes Lackey; 2. End Run (1993), by William R Forstchen and Christopher Stasheff; 3. Fleet Action (1994), by William R Forstchen; 4. Heart of the Tiger (1995), by William R Forstchen and Andrew Keith; 5. The Price of Freedom (1996), by William R Forstchen and Ben Ohlander; 6. Action Stations (1997), by William R Forstchen; 7. False Colors (1998), by William R Forstchen and William H Keith; and 8. Pilgrim Stars (1999), by Peter Telep -- a novel specifically inspired by the WC movie.


There's a large blurb on the back of the original box that says "Every screenshot taken from this game - What You See is What You Play!" However, that's incorrect. Most of the shots on the back were taken from a beta version of the game, featuring weapons, names, and graphics not seen in the final version. Isn't it ironic?

PC Gamer release

A complete version of Wing Commander is available on Classic Games Collection CD featured in the July 2000 issue of PC Gamer Magazine.

Player character

In Wing Commander, the player character has no name and when he was created, his black hair was "highlighted" with lots of streaks of blue (there was a limited color palette). Within Origin, he came to be referred to as "BlueHair" when discussing him. It is possible that this was the basis when he was named "Blair" in later installments of the series.


If you look at the "weapons ratings" you will notice that some are rated in "ESK's". This stands for "Earth Shattering Kabooms!", as per the Marvin the Martian cartoon.

SEGA CD version

The Sega CD version of Wing Commander features voice acting for all the dialogue in the game. There are not even any subtitles.


In 2002 Team Fat announced the release of a completely redone Soundtrack-CD. The bonus track of this CD - a surf-version of the WC-Theme - can be found at http://www.gamasutra.com/galleries/audio/george_sanger/index.htm


Unique for its time, Wing Commander used a hybrid 3D system that took place in true 3D space, but used bitmaps drawn from different angles for sprites. The end result was a 3D system that was fast without the speed penalty of rendering polygons in realtime (bitmap scaling and rotation was employed instead). A similar method was used in Wolfenstein 3D and Doom, but not until several years later.


The game was originally going to be called Wingleader and had that name until very shortly before it was shipped. It was changed at the last minute when it was discovered a board game had the same name and they didn't want to risk trademark infringement. Some beta-test pictures can still be found which contain that name.


  • ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)
    • March 1991 (issue #42) - Included in the list Greatest Games of all Time in category Simulations (editorial staff choice)
  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1994 – Best Simulation in 1993 (Readers' Vote)
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1991 (Issue #88) – Game of the Year
    • April 1992 (Issue #93) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #7 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #10 Best Way To Die In Computer Gaming (receiving a funeral)
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #12 Most Rewarding Ending of All Time
    • 200th anniversary issue - #4 in the "Best Game of All Time" list (Readers' vote)
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #20 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #34 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #4 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1991 - Best Action Game in 1990 (DOS version)

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Big John WV, Felix Knoke, IJan, Kasey Chang, Martin Smith, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, quizzles7, rstevenson, Steve Cantrell, Thomas Perl, weregamer, Windowskiller, WildKard, WizardX and Zovni


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  • MobyGames ID: 3
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Amiga added by Rebound Boy. SNES added by Satoshi Kunsai. FM Towns added by Terok Nor. SEGA CD added by quizzley7.

Additional contributors: Brian Hirt, Kasey Chang, monkeyislandgirl, formercontrib, Ricky Derocher, 梦迪 高, Patrick Bregger, Jo ST.

Game added March 1, 1999. Last modified February 20, 2024.