Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom

aka: Wing Commander IV: Mekhir ha-Khofesh, Wing Commander IV: O Preço da Liberdade
DOS Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 10/2 11:51 AM )

Description official descriptions

Christopher Blair, "Heart of the Tiger" had retired to a farming planet after the war, content with retirement, so he says... In the depths of space, a new menace has surfaced. Some unknown attackers are killing civilian ships. The tension between the Confederation and the Border Worlds is at an all time high, as both sides accuse the other of staging the attacks. Admiral Tolwyn has recalled Blair back to service, where he will make the most difficult choice of all... And contemplate action he had never dared before, in the name of justice...

Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom is a mix of interactive movie and space sim. The game has a dynamic mission tree, which means the player's behaviour will determine the next mission. The videos feature real actors, like Mark Hamill, Tom Wilson, John Rhys-Davies and Malcolm McDowell. Before the start of each mission, the space craft can be equipped with different weapons. Sometimes the mission objectives change during flight, and the player has to make decisions what he wants to do next, e.g. help out his friend or destroy an enemy fighter.


  • Wing Commander IV: מחיר החופש - Hebrew spelling
  • 银河飞将4:自由的代价 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

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Average score: 86% (based on 34 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 80 ratings with 6 reviews)

Is it a movie or a game?

The Good
Actually, not much. The only thing that could justify paying for this game when it was released was the great amount of cinematographic content which was a way to show off your new Pentium back then. The movie sequences were pretty impressive! Some scenes were filmed depending on what you chose to say or do, and I found that nice to finally be able to control a movie character.

The Bad
The action sequences were just too plain hard for me to spend weeks trying to get a hold of them. Since there's no diversity in them, the only thing that kept me going was the tentation to see a new cut scene.

This game is spilled on seven - yes, seven CD-ROMs. Swapping CDs is like going back in the eighties when you had no space left on your 20 meg hard drive and had to swap floppy disks in order to play games which took increasing real estate. If I still had this game, I should try to burn it on a DVD just to get rid of these nasty memories.

The Bottom Line
Origin often surprised us with technological breakthroughs. This one pushed the term "interactive movie" even further by letting us spend more time looking at multimedia content than playing the game. I heard rumors that the game cost a whole bunch of money to create, which is clearly due to the large amount of film in it. The actors must have got as bored as much as those involved in Star Wars as it is obvious that they spent a lot of time in front of blue screens.

While this game is really something the first time you see it considering it was released in 1995, you quickly get bored and the gaming sequences aren't good enough to keep you interested.

Chris Roberts finally had its chance at directing a real WC feature movie in 1998, but you can see that creating a movie, not a game, was his trip with WC4. I can't really blame him as he brought us great games before that.

DOS · by Olivier Masse (443) · 1999

This is a game?

The Good
Be aware, that when you buy Wing Commander IV, you are not getting a game trying to be a movie. You are getting a movie trying to be a game. So let's talk about the movie.

The plot follows Christopher Blair (nee Bluehair) as he is called out of retirement to put down a rebellion by the Border Colonies. Eventually, he winds up joining the terrorists and attempting to stop the mad General Tolwyn, and his secret force of pilots wielding devastating bioweapons.

The game essentially features about 20 minutes of 'choose your own adventure' type interactive movie watching, followed by a briefing, and then a mission. Overall, the transition between movie and game is obvious (no MGS-style smooth cuts here) and it's easy to see where the production values went. A cornucopia of B-list sci-fi actors are assembled, including Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys-Davies, and Tom Wilson, all playing the only characters they ever seem to play (weary hero, psycho, well-meaning ally, annoying moron). And while the sound is excellent stereo, the video quality is, well, CD-level.

I must say, the movie is not bad by any means, the plot isn't original and Chris Roberts' direction seldom moves past the 'competent' level, but it would be a good popcorn flick if you didn't have to grab a controller every few minutes to make a decision or fly a ship. And it's definitely better then Wing Commander the movie (that movie NEVER HAPPENED, you hear me?)

The Bad
Game? Oh yes, the game. As I said, it's easy to see where the money was spent, and the end result is a gaming experience that is just plain bad, the console equivalent to Ultima IX. But here it's not bugs, it's simply a very poor engine. The low-resolution of the PSX results in a grainy HUD that could have been done better on a Vectrex. All the ship models are laughably pixilated and have ridiculously low polygon counts, especially the cap ships. And trying to map a game designed for a PC keyboard onto an eight-button controller just does not work. Cockpit communication is almost impossible thanks to the lousy control, very frustrating because two of the game's most major plot decisions have to be made in-flight.

To add insult to injury, invulnerability is not a cheat, but a gameplay option right off the top, which is Origin admitting the only reason we would play through the game would be to get to the next bit of movie, and letting us stroll trough these sections as quick as possible. Ugh.

The Bottom Line
If you want to see Mark Hamill in a B-grade sci-fi movie, save yourself $36 and go rent Guyver. This series peaked in it's second iteration, and it's sad to see another Origin franchise go out with a limp.

PlayStation · by Anatole (58) · 2001


The Good
This was something of a watershed - at the time, it received rave reviews and was very popular, without being any good. Basically a cross between a cheap, made-for-tv sci-fi show and a space shoot-em-up, this was inferior to the contemporary 'Tie Fighter' in every way except for the texture-mapped, processor-hogging graphics.

Still, it's nice to see Malcolm McDowell.

The Bad
Where to start? The flight model was no more advanced than that of 'Star Raiders', and it was obvious by this time that the creators were more interested in the FMV than the game, but lacked the skill to make the drama compelling - the end result is a shoddy space shoot-em-up crossed with a cheap b-picture. 'Privateer 2' did much the same, but seemed to understand that it was never going to be art, and was therefore much more fun. And whilst it is the most expensive computer game ever, the budget was still nowhere near that of a proper film.

The Bottom Line
A technical showcase that has no value as a game whatsoever.

DOS · by Ashley Pomeroy (225) · 2000

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
How do I run this game in WinME?? Darkon Jan 22nd, 2008


1001 Video Games

Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


  • Now well-known actor Casper Van Dien ("Sleepy Hollow", "Starship Troopers") got his first non-TV role in a bit part for this game. Officially dubbed "Confed Pilot #3," he can be spotted during one of the early cinematics as Blair and Maniac first board their new carrier.
  • The non-speaking pilots on the roster are mostly Origin employees on the WC IV project. For example, Anthony "Yaeger" Sommers (QA Project Lead), Frank "Turbo" Roan (Lead Programmer), and more.


Creative Labs included a special DVD version of this game with their original DVD drives that included higher quality recompressed video.


There is a novelization of the game published by Baen Books.

Production cost

As of June 2000, WC IV held the record for most expensive video game ever made. Dissatisfied with the blue-screened video of #3, Chris Roberts decided he wanted to build full-sized sets for the game. The end result was around $10 million dollars spent. By comparison, that's roughly what the original Star Wars movie cost. As of 2002, WC IV is the second most expensive game after Shenmue.

Removed content

One scene got cut out of the final game. The scene, which shows Wilford telling Blair to board a Black Lance Transport was never released in any official form, but can be found around the net. Be warned that since the scene was cut out at the last minute it is already encoded, meaning you'll need Xanmovie to play it, just like any other WC IV movie file (Xanmovie can be found on Origin's Crusader: No Regret).

Story issue

In a rare "script ignore" for the Wing Commander series, if 2nd Lt. Troy "Catscratch" Carter (played by Mark Dacascos, also of several movies including "Le Pacte des loups" (Brotherhood of the Wolf), survives his final mission, he absolutely disappears from the rest of the game. No mention is made of his fate at all and he is no longer available as a wingman. Lt. Velina Sosa, who is his love interest and is quite upset should he die, never mentions his mysterious disappearance from the ship. Also, his name disappears from the killboard. Normally, when a pilot is killed, "KIA" is written next to their name and their stats remain. But Catscratch, for all intents and purposes, is erased from existence if he actually survives the one mission he doesn't complete properly.

Windows 95 Patch

A Windows 95 patch is available that makes the game run smoother and look better when playing under Windows 95.

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Jason Musgrave, John Chaser, Kasey Chang, WizardX, and Zovni

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by robotriot.

PSP, PlayStation 3 added by Lance Boyle. PS Vita added by Charly2.0. Windows added by 80. PlayStation added by Adam Baratz. Macintosh added by Terok Nor.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Olivier Masse, Unicorn Lynx, chirinea, Alaka, CaesarZX, Picard, FatherJack.

Game added November 1st, 1999. Last modified August 25th, 2023.