Wing Commander, first released in 1990 by Origin Systems, is a flight combat game interwoven with a cinematic storyline set in the 27th century. Rather than modeling real-world physics with a completely accurate simulation of space flight, the game is designed to provide a fun, intense, first-person space dogfighting experience.
Several things distinguish this title from other games upon its initial release: the graphics, music and sound are state of the art, surpassing most (if not all) other competing products in the industry at the time. The storyline, of which a short segment unravels after each mission, has many plot devices rarely used before in a computer game of its type: character development, interpersonal conflict, ethics and more.
In the first scenario, the player takes the role of a young Lieutenant who has just been assigned to the carrier ship Tiger's Claw, the pride of the Confederate Navy. As the primary goal of the game unfolds, you learn of the Confederation's campaign to take Vega Sector from the Kilrathi, an alien race bent on ruling the galaxy.
The Confederation have been at war with the Kilrathi for the past 20 years, and you're just now joining the Vega campaign. You're a 2nd Lieutenant just out of the Academy, with some good work under your belt. You're posted to Tiger's Claw, the flagship of the Confederation Fleet. Will you help the Confederation to victory, or go down in infamy?
Wing Commander is a space combat simulator interspersed with shipboard dialogs. Onboard the ship, you can save/load game, visit the bar to get the latest gossip, or go on to the next mission briefing, and the 3D space combat part.
The 3D space combat has you sitting in the cockpit, where you control the craft like roll, turn, up/down, afterburner, as well as fire guns and launch missiles. There are four different crafts on the Confed side, each with different flight characteristics and armament. You will have a wingman on each mission, and you should keep the wingman alive as the wingman will help you if you issue the right orders. You can also taunt the enemy. You'll be fighting several different types of enemy fighters and capital ships, and even combat a few Kilrathi aces.
When the mission is complete, land back onboard the ship and get ready for the next one. The campaign tree have both winning and losing paths.
Wing Commander surely is one of those few groundbreaking games each genre has. One of those defining games like Civilization, Elite, Monkey Island - to make it short: future games will (and have been) measured against this. What makes this game so special then? Well, it is an involving mixture of action and science fiction story. You do not just fly one dull mission after another - you interact with other pilots, you see what's going on - you even got this nice game in the game (the arcade shooter - good for training!). The story around the battle with the Kilrathi, feline aliens, evolves from mission to mission. The graphics were remarkably good at that time although you don't get the "realistic" 3D feeling like in X-Wing for example. It's all just 2D trying to look 3Dish... but that very successful. Steering your craft does not work SO well with an analog joystick I have to add.
When Wing commander shoved up in 1991, it was a major breakthrough in PC gaming. It had FANTASTIC graphics, good sound and great story. It set new standards, which many tried to follow, but only LucasArts' X-Wing could compete with WC series. So, what is the game about? You're a novice pilot aboard TCS Tiger's claw. It is the time of war. War against Kilrathi, alien humanoid cats. Enough about description - just download this masterpiece and play it!
People who downloaded Wing Commander 1 have also downloaded:
Wing Commander II: Deluxe Edition, Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom, Wing Commander Privateer (CD-ROM), Wing Commander 2: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, Wing Commander: Prophecy - Gold, Wing Commander: Academy, Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga
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