Wing Commander: How do I land, again?

(This is part of my journey playing through Wing Commander. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)

star1I’m back in the cockpit as Ace Acerton, Space Ace, after a few days off and some tweaking to the game’s DOSbox settings that I found in this guide.  I also looked up some of the keyboard commands so that I’m not a total star noob (maybe one day I’ll be a citizen?).  OK.  Let’s give this another shot.

star2Yup, that’s the kind of hero I am — the rebel that dares to daydream during an important mission briefing!

So this was a very instructional session with the game as I ran the first mission over… and over… and over… and over again.  I think it took me six tries?  You die once during it (which is surprisingly easy to do) and you have to start all over again.  It’s definitely not a cakewalk tutorial, let’s just say.  But at the end of it, I walked away knowing a lot more of the commands and could actually fight worth something.  The DOSbox tweaking helped a lot, too.

star3Oh the taunting!  I forgot they taunted you!  I was grinning at that, which probably threw off the Kilrathi pilot who is Snapchatting with me there.  Love the ear vents, dude!

OK, so the first mission involves flying around to several waypoints, two of which involve fights and the other two involve navigating asteroid fields.  Frankly, I prefer the fights.  At least those are kind of exciting, even if it requires a lot of patience and fine motor control to line up the right shots.  Sure, it would probably be easier to buy a joystick but this is not 1990 and I am not that kind of guy.

I acquit myself during these fights, taking down two “hairballs” in the mission where I finally succeed.  The ship I’m flying has all of the defensive capabilities of a TIE fighter and is armed with a blaster cannon that shoots (as far as I can tell) dodge balls, two missiles that do nothing unless you fire them at point-blank range, and a single heat-seeker missile that is good for a kill.

star4My wingman, Spirit, makes the occasional kill as well.  Mostly she just gets in my way and then acts all offended that I’m blowing chunks out of her canopy and engines.  But no matter how much I attack, she still gives me a glowing report at the end of the ride.

star5On my sixth try I was so tense just trying to get to the end.  Those asteroid fields can smack the death out of you in just a couple of hits, which definitely happened to me more than once.  So what a relief to see the Tiger Claw and know that I was back safely.

Uh… how do you land?  Crud, that’s not in my notes.

/tab out… Google search

So to land you have to face the carrier deck head-on, hit C to open up a comm channel, select the Tiger Claw, and then request landing.  After that, I got close enough and a cutscene took me home.

Woo!  I did it!  I… beat the very easiest level in the game.  Fine.  Whatever.  I’ll take my victories where I can get them.

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4 thoughts on “Wing Commander: How do I land, again?

  1. Mouse? Joystick? We didn’t have those newfangled contraptions when I played Wing Commander back in 1991. We used our keyboards. . . And we liked it!

    Seriously- I even remember that shift+arrow made you turn faster an dead very helpful I’m the dogfights. 1st time I tried it with a mouse was in late 91 at a friend’s dorm at college, and I actually thought I had better control using keyboard than the mouse. Mouse was too easy to heel over too far.

    Later on when I had a joystick for Privateer in 94 well . . . can’t imagine going back to a keyboard or mouse after that. Stick is definitely the way to go if you have one. If not…. maybe try the keyboard and see if it makes a difference.

  2. Ahhh yes, Wing Commander played on a keyboard, I remember that too. Yes, once you start down th dark (joystick) path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

  3. Now that I think about it, I think I played Wing Commander 2 at a friend’s house the summer of 92 and used a stick then also. Definitely couldn’t go back to keyboard control after that.

  4. I’m behind in my blog reading as usual, but I remember playing F19 at my brother’s house and getting it along with a joystick when I got my first PC, a 386. About the same time Wing Commander came out and so I already had the joystick to use with it. It was one of the games along with F19, Warlords, Civilization and Ultima VI that I can still stick with me, though I’m not sure I’d be able to play any of them today. I spent so much time with WC 1 and 2, but I never got far into WC 3. I think it was that time when there was a fascination with being able to use live action video within video games but it didn’t work for me. Or maybe I was just at a different place then. Thanks for reminding me of a fond time in my life.

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