Wing Commander

Title		Wing Commander
Game Type	3D Combat Sim
Players		1
Compatibility	All
Submission	Isaac Abraham

This game was first made popular on the IBM PCs, at the time 386s (roughly
equivalent to 030-50s). It, along with Doom, pushed the CPU to the max, and
rewarded those who spent big on their machines by making the game play
better. The Amiga version was an excellent conversion, in my opinion,
retaining almost all of the features of the PC version, which was a good
game in the first place.
Wing Commander places you in the position of a rookie space pilot, joing up
with your space marines to fight the evil Kilrathi, who have been at war
with you since the dawn of the C=64, i.e. a very, very, long time ago. The
game is split into two sections, the first places you in the bar of your
starship, allowing you to talk with fellow officers, practise flying, and
save/load your game. Once you`ve chatted away a bit, entering the briefing
room will take you to your next mission. The Admiral will first tell you
your mission, and show you where you`re to go and in what order (your
mission can contain several way points and tasks, although during the
mission you are free to change it if necessary). Next, it`s into the ship,
with a virtual cockpit in full 3D. Typical missions range from patrols to
protect a cargo carrier to full on assaults. The good part is depending on
how you perform, the ongoing campaign is affected - there are four missions
per sector, and the more of them you complete 100% successfully, the better
your campaign fares. Fail too many of them, and there`s the possibility that
the Kilrathi might win the war!
The title of the game hints at one of the gimmicks of this shoot em up - you
fly in teams of two, and can give orders to your fellow fighter, for
example, if there are enemy ships approaching, tell him to "break and
attack". When facing large enemy craft, "attack my target" might yield good
results. There are several different pilots in the game, all with different
characteristics, some who are all too happy to plough on into a hopelessly
outgunned dogfight, others will run at the first sign of trouble (quite what
they`re doing in this profession I don`t know...). It adds a neat element to
the game, certainly if they get killed off, your future missions can become
a lot harder!
There`s the standard fare of weapons, from lasers to snot shots (well, the
mass driver) as well as the cool neutron gun. Missiles and mines also make
several appearances. Depending on your performance, you may get promotions
and medals, as well as better ships with more powerful weapons - again, a
plus point in my book, as this adds to the game, rewarding you for good
missions etc.
Only when I played this game did I realise how slow my Amiga at the time
was, an A500 off floppy drive with 1 meg of ram. The speed of the game
could almost have been measured in SPF as opposed to FPS =)) When I bought
my A1200, I was expecting big performance gains, as all the hype had led me
to believe that the A1200 was much faster than the A500. But, Wing Commander
still ran too slow to really be much fun. Thankfully that changed when I
bought my old 030-50 card. Wing Commander became fast, notching up about 15
fps. It became harder, due to the speed increase, but more importantly, it
was much more fun (although the external views were still useless =). Enemy
ships whizz pass, asteroids fields are now negotiable, the texture mapping
seems worthwhile, and in general, it looks much better. It`s a bit of a
mystery why this game didn`t have a bigger impact on the accelerator market,
like Quake and all the newer games have done - maybe at the time it was
released the public didn`t really expect to have to buy them?
Either way, Wing Commander is a decent game. The difficulty level is quite
good, although a dedicated player should have it finished within couple of
months, and provided you have an average Amiga system (i.e. 030+) you should
be able to fully benefit from it - I`d love to know how it runs on an 060@
50 or even 66 mhz - anyone out there tried it? Overall, a good game, quite a
few years ahead of it`s time - give it a whirl.

Category list.

Alphabetical list.