Wing Commander: Mud pigs and man skirts

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

One thing I wasn’t too aware of in regards to Wing Commander until I did a little research is how much it relies on branching paths for a player’s story.  Apparently this was a big deal for the game when it came out and it still is pretty neat to understand, even if the resulting story is a little weaker as a result.  Essentially, you can win or lose each mission by completing or failing objectives, and depending on that, you get sent down different paths.  The more you win, the more you end up helping to win the war, and the more you lose, the worse things get for you.  Here’s a quick guide from a walkthrough that illustrates this (unfortunately I couldn’t find a flow chart of these):

winloseSo far I’m doing well, 2 for 2 on wins and on to McAuliffe.  Time to join my new outfit, the Blue Devils, and chat up my team.

win2He is talking about a ship, thank goodness.  The ship I’m getting, thank no one.  Also, aren’t most pigs mud pigs?

Well I’m off on my third mission, this time with wingman Paladin, AKA Scottish Stereotype.  It’s a jolly ship full of planeteers, it is.  Time for our mission briefing!

win3“…so naturally we want you to fly straight through it.  What?  Oh, no reason.  We just think it’d be fun.  The boys upstairs and me have a wager, 5-to-1 odds against you making it back.  Either way, I’ll be smiling at the end of the day!”

Seriously, it’s the stupidest mission yet.  Go fly right through a mine field.  Are we supposed to clean it out?  Report back on its size?  Nah, just plow through it and hope you don’t die.

It sucks.

win4The mines are nearly impossible to shoot down or avoid, so I keep replaying the mission trying to survive without losing too much of my hull or sanity.  To make matters worse, we have fights right before AND after the mine field.

Everyone was right when they told me the Scimitar is a truck.  It’s just not fun to fly at all.  The extra armor doesn’t really help and the only thing that makes me happy is the increased complement of heat-seekers.

win5Paladin is a horrible, horrible pilot, by the way.  He dies in just about every attempt that I did with this mission.  And by the way, that’s what you want your final words to be?  You want me to think of losing your man-skirt?

Anyway, the bad news is that Paladin dies, but the good news is that I finally win the mission and kill five bad guys doing it.

win6“It was something about your butt.”

3 thoughts on “Wing Commander: Mud pigs and man skirts

  1. pkudude99 January 26, 2014 / 9:25 pm

    It’s not the easiest to read, but here’s a visualization of the branching structure of the missions (going top to bottom):

    IIRC, I actually preferred to let my wingman die as early as possible so s/he wouldn’t get in my way in subsequent missions. Gotta love crap AI. . . .

  2. Syp January 27, 2014 / 9:26 am

    Thanks! That’s exactly what I was looking for!

  3. pkudude99 January 27, 2014 / 12:58 pm

    Something else vaguely remembered… might have been better in asteroid fields, not minefields, but I recall a trick to getting through them in 1 piece (and usually your wingman too, since they mirror your actions when not in combat) was hold down the afterburner and then “porpoise” the ship about 4-5 seconds up, then 4-5 seconds down, etc until you burned through.

    Downside is of course burning all your AB fuel, but I don’t recall ever really using it in a dogfight anyway.

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