Wing Commander: Eject! Eject!

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

wing1This will be my final Wing Commander post for a few reasons.  I wasn’t planning on stopping here, as it’s certainly not a bad game, but I’m at the point where I don’t think I can squeeze much more out of it in terms of interesting posts.  The structure of how the game works is pretty apparent and keeps repeating over and over again — fights, slightly different challenges, other pilots hinting at foes you’ll face or tactics you should use, eventual promotions for kills, and the whole win-lose mission branching.

But what Wing Commander really doesn’t have is much of a story, and that’s hurting my enjoyment of it especially as I remember WC2’s tale with greater fondness.  The space flight portion is solid and occasionally engaging (there’s a particular thrill when I get a good shot lined up and blast through an enemy ship), and for the era, it’s pretty amazing how much mission variety the designers got out of the game.

I wanted to make a special mention of the game’s music because Origin did something pretty cool here as well.  First of all, even for MIDI music, this was pretty amazing stuff in 1990 and a good excuse to invest in a SoundBlaster (as I did for my 386).  Second, the music during missions and briefings reacts depending on the mood and events, making it far more interactive than static soundtracks.  Finally, I just loved the launch music that blasted every time I took off:

I don’t think there’s much more to say here.  Wing Commander deserves a lot of the praise and recognition for what it did, especially when viewed in light of its contemporaries in 1990.  It strived to create a “full package” experience that reacted to the player’s achievements, created an immersive environment of space war, and boasted a (still) pretty challenging experience.  I’m sure I’ll get back to this series one day, but for now it’s time to trade my space boots in for something a little more… fantastic.


2 thoughts on “Wing Commander: Eject! Eject!

  1. So the only Wing Commander I ever really picked up and played was 4, which was a-freaking-mazing. But same as you, I only played with a mouse and keyboard. Come current day, and I bought Elite: Dangerous and have finally bought into Star Citizen (it’s that Squadron 42 which really did it, which looks essentially like a straight-up Wing Commander reboot, Mark Hamil and other actors on top).

    So I finally bought a joystick and started playing E:D… which turns out I’m not the biggest fan of. Lots of space, lots of options… but not really for me. However, with my joystick now in hand, I can play the old Wing Commanders like they intended!! And play I have, having just beat 1. Beat. Joystick really does make all the difference, and I have a new appreciation for it.

    Trying the first expansion currently, holding the title of “first expansion ever released for a game”, but it was an age where the difficulty for an expansion was seriously ramped up. Crazy tough. But since I’m running through it now, thought I’d come back and read your Jan 2014 playthrough again, nostalgia in it’s own right. :P

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