(This is part of my journey playing through Wing Commander. You can follow the entire series on the Nostalgia Lane page.)
Big thanks to Pkdude, who found a graphic of the branching mission paths in Wing Commander! While this setup is really neat and probably contributed a lot to replayability when the game first came out, I’m definitely feeling a lack of story because of it. I know this changes in successive installments (I’m most familiar with WC2), but what I have right now are just shreds of make-your-own-narrative dolled up in great cinematic style. Maybe part of the idea was just to flesh out the story yourself with you in the lead role, kind of a framework for your own saga without a writer butting in. Or maybe I just haven’t encountered the story yet because I’m still in the early stages.
It’s safe to say that if you’re a cat lover, you’re going to find some of Wing Commander jargon a little offensive. If you’re not a cat lover, like me, then you can get a little glee out of pulling quotes out of context like the above. Kitten killer!
So can I vent? I want to vent. This game can be stupid hard at times, particularly with its controls. Arrow keys aren’t fast enough, I’m not going to buy a joystick for a 24-year-old game, and the mouse doesn’t offer the precision I need. It’s really dang difficult to line up good shots, a problem that is compounded by the fact that the Scimitar’s blasters lets you shoot like, tops, eight rounds before you’re on a very lengthy cooldown. Who makes a ship that can’t shoot?
This next mission about makes me want to drop-kick the game across the room. I keep getting smacked around well before I ever get to the warship, giving me ample time to admire how the game can disable my ship’s many systems and leave me helpless. Ever been in a dogfight where it’s 4-to-1 against you and the enemy has destroyed every offensive weapon on your ship? I have! It’s glorious.
I don’t want to make it out like I’m totally useless. I scrag plenty of fighters during these sorties — it’s just that I can die so easy and it’s me against pretty steep odds. It gets even worse when I get to the warship.
You’re supposed to take out the escort fighters first, which is a good idea since the firepower coming off of the warship is immense. The best I was able to do for a long time was kill one fighter before the other one took me.
Eventually I scrape through, fill the destroyer with about six thousand very slow bullets, and head home for a well-deserved promotion and award.
Dang, look at that chin! That is one very, very manly chin, and it is only slightly lessened by Ace wearing the world’s strangest turtleneck. And what about that bronze star, huh? Bet you wish you had one of them!