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Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger

aka: Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger for Macintosh
DOS Specs [ all ]
(prices updated 9/22 4:30 PM )

Description official descriptions

The war against the Kilrathi is going badly for the Confederation. Its flagship, the Concordia, has been destroyed, battles are lost on all fronts. War hero Colonel Christopher Blair is transferred to the old carrier Victory. Take the role of Blair and ensure the success of the Confederation's last-ditch attempt for victory: the destruction of the Kilrathi homeworld.

Wing Commander III has the usual mix of space battles and cinematic storytelling. Changes from the first two games include SVGA graphics, the use of texture-mapped polygons instead of bitmaps for spaceflight sequences, and real Hollywood actors appearing in the cinematic scenes.

Spellings

  • 银河飞将3:虎之心 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (DOS version)

232 People (230 developers, 2 thanks) · View all

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Writing Credits
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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 89% (based on 36 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 108 ratings with 8 reviews)

This game is the best of the series...

The Good
Strangely enough when I started playing this game I became immersed in the plot, the characters and the cool FMV. It took me back to when I first played Wing Commander on a friend's Amiga. I guess that when I played it solid for eight hours one evening, flying several missions and getting right inside the spirit of the game (something, with the exception of Wing Commander 4) I have not been able to recreate in terms of experience since that the true meaning of Interactive Movie became known to me personally. The game allows you to select various degrees of difficulty and the keyboard (the most important part) settings were at once intuitive and sensible. I had hoped that somewhere a gamer would create a game with WC3 compatble key stokes, similar to "Wordstar compatible" keystrokes. I miss this in other games. The fact it runs in DOS meant that I could play it full window under Windows 95 on my P75 with 24MB ram and 1MB VRAM card, unlike todays monstrousities which would be happier running on a server with a very fast CPU and tons of RAM, not to mention a graphics card with an amount of Ram of biblical proportions.

The Bad
The fact that it crashed when I had done four missions straight off and hadn't bothered to save it. The fact that I broke the joystick pounding away at Kilrathi. The fact that it it didn't like certain sound cards, and because it was a DOS based game took a dim view of Windows 98 attempts to "interpret" how it should run. I also found some of the missions truly insane, such as the one where if you don't cloak you go into an endless loop of Kilrathi fighters popping out of nowhere, etc. Some of the plot was a bit mediocre and when replaying, unless you had a suitable save game entry point you had to do the whole lot again to get to whichever mission you wanted.

The Bottom Line
An excellent DOS based space combat sim with cool effects, FMV and a decent storyline (unlike the Prophecy series which was just plain (a) boring and (b) virtually impossible to play on the machine I was using. If you play just one game in the Wing Commander series this is the one to get. Rec Sys Req: P90, 16MB Ram,1 MB graphics card, SB 16 P&P sound card,Port 220, IRQ5 DMA 1

DOS · by Richard Carrington (3) · 2000

A solid flight sim with an excellent story..

The Good
The graphics are good enough that you can tell what stuff is. The controls are pretty good. The story is terrific and all the movie cut-scenes are pretty good quality. The mission design is good.

The Bad
The graphics are pretty old. You have to study the manual to learn about the weapons etc. If you can't complete the mission, the mission doesn't quit. No analog controller support.

The Bottom Line
If you find this game, pick it up. It's a solid space-sim. With 4 discs, how can you go wrong??

PlayStation · by James Kirk (150) · 2003

Yet another masterpeice - three in a row!

The Good
Origin is to be commended; they knew what worked in WC's 1 and 2, and didn't change much.

Wing Commander 3 has everything those games had and more: Space battles extraordinaire. Great ships, fast, exhilarating missions, and a terrific, engrossing backstory supplemented by mid-mission cinematics. Like all other WC games, the missions are expertly designed, perfectly balanced, and bug-free, but in THIS game many of them are on a much grander scale than in the first two games. The fighters and capital ships look great and fight great. There's just no aspect of a space combat sim that isn't awesome about this game.

One nice (and, surprisingly, not-often-copied) aspect of the game is that the cinematics actually look like movies. Some reasonably famous actors (highlighted by Tom Wilson's boffo performance as Maniac) deliver some decent acting on decent sets; it's a shame this isn't tried more often. It adds to the super-immersive experience.

The Bad
I guess the CD-swapping can get irritating.

The character of Hobbes (a Kilrathi deserter) is sort of silly.

The Bottom Line
The third straight home run in the Wing Commander series, and this one's a grand slam.

DOS · by Rick Jones (96) · 2001

[ View all 8 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Free on Origin chirinea (47013) Sep 5th, 2014
A question about EA Classics release. Virgil (8569) Jan 3rd, 2008

Trivia

Actors

Charlton Heston was initially approached by Origin to portray the role of admiral Tolwyn, however several monetary drawbacks (such as spending nearly $15,000 on the purchase & processing of 16 mm film only to discover later that videotape served their digitizing needs better) made Heston's fee of $100,000 less than attractive.

Budget

At the time, it was the most expensive video game ever made, at approximately $3 million. It was dethroned by its sequel, Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom.

Bugs (Spoiler)

This game has an interesting example of how bugs can critically hinder gameflow. As most people know, once you've defeated Hobbes and Thrakhath the game is pretty much over, since the trench run is a piece of cake. This wasn't intended to be so, since the cloaking device is supposed to function only once. However a bug exists that resets the cloak once you enter Kilrah. In reality you should have been going through the trench while avoiding endless swarms of fighters, which is a really difficult thing to do.

Of a somewhat less importance but equally exemplary is the pretty undramatic finale for both Hobbes and Thrakhath. In reality both of them send you a final message when you blow them up, however you can't hear them while playing normally. You've got to pause the game just as they blow up, and for some weird reason they'll play just after the explosion sfx dies out.

CD-ROM

While the manual and test program clearly state you need a double-speed drive to play the game, over 90% of the video sequences play just fine with a single-speed drive.

Cut scenes (Spoiler)

Several FMV scenes were cut from the final release of the game, including several newscasts from anchorwoman Barbara Miles (the one that appears in the opening sequence), three rendered action sequences, and most importantly of all the so called "Hobbes explanation" a scene in which Hobbes leaves Blair a holographic message explaining his betrayal.

This scene appears on the 3DO version of the game but was left out of the PC release because of lack of space (no one has ever explained why they removed such a critical scene and left others which were of absolutely no importance), however all these scenes appeared later on other sources (the behind the scenes interactive cd, etc...) and are all available for download on several sites around the 'net.

Also removed from the game was a scene which supposedly played in the final stretch of the game (when you reached the first secret asteroid base) and only if some key wingmen were with you at this point. In the scene Blair addressed his wingmen and prepared them for the final fight. It is unknown if this scene was filmed or not, but it does appear on the master script included on the Behind the scenes CD.

Novel

There's a novelization of the game published by Baen Books.

References

  • The phrase "Atomic Batteries to Power, Turbines to Speed'" listed at the bottom of the pre-flight checklist displayed before each flight is a reference to the old, campy Batman TV show from the 60's. Everytime the Dynamic Duo would get in the Batmobile in the Batcave, Robin would say this line (after buckling up like a good passenger, of course).
  • Besides the standard manual, the game came with a booklet called Victory Streak - Your personalized guide to the TCS Victory, which gives new recruits all kinds of background info. In the back of the Victory Streak there's a section with HoloVid reviews, one review is for the HoloVid "Hail SHODAN":

Hail SHODAN radiates with cyberpunk action and the good looks of Clint Mason. After streetwise hacker James Finn (Mason) accepts the challenge to punch deck into Citadel research station, he unknowingly removes the logic systems behind the station's artificial intelligence. Finn finds himself trapped in a steel jungle with nothing but his good looks and a few electro-magnetic grenades. The furious pace of this game-based HoloVid will send you reeling through the aisles... the ending will astonish you. (2.24 hours) ***

Shodan is of course the A.I. from the game System Shock.

Special Edition

The Special Edition was a special release only available trough a select few retail outlets (like Sam's club). It includes all the original documentation plus the T-shirt, the film canister packaging, and a "behind the scenes cd" which is not the one included on the premiere edition, it's actually the VHS tape documentary encoded as an avi file.

Story branches and endings

Unlike most games, there's actually an entire branch in the story that leads to a so-called failure ending aka The (Last) Battle of Earth. Failure on some plot-critical missions will lead the storyline into the Proxima system, where confederation forces fight a losing battle; retreating to Sol in an unwinnable scenario. Obviously since the activation of the dialog/videos for this branch require LOSING, it's probably a minority of players (or people who download from fansites) who have seen all this, flown the missions and most would probably just restore from a saved game. There are also three separate "good" endings, depending on your choice of who to befriend.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • May 1995 (Issue #130) – Action Game of the Year
    • May 1995 (Issue #130) – Best Male On-Screen Performance (for Tim Wilson's performance as Maniac)
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #54 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #9 Most Innovative Computer Game
    • May 1997 (Issue #154) - Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • Mega Fun
    • 1996 - PlayStation Game of the Year
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #30 in the "All-Time Top 50 Games" poll
    • April 2005 - #48 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1995 – Biggest Hype in 1994

Information also contributed by Kasey Chang, PCGamer77, Ray Soderlund, Roedie, WildKard, WizardX and Zovni

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Wing Commander 1+2
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Wing Commander Academy
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Wing Commander: Privateer - CD-ROM Edition
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Wing Commander II: Deluxe Edition
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Terok Nor.

Windows added by Picard. PlayStation added by Quapil. 3DO added by quizzley7.

Additional contributors: Trixter, MAT, CaesarZX, Patrick Bregger, ZeTomes.

Game added February 5th, 2000. Last modified September 11th, 2023.