Wing Commander is a popular space combat simulator game released in 1990. The game is set in a futuristic universe where the Confederation, a human alliance, is at war with the Kilrathi, a race of feline-like aliens. The player takes on the role of a 2nd Lieutenant who has just graduated from the Academy and is assigned to the Tiger’s Claw, the Confederation’s flagship. The game follows the player’s journey through the Vega campaign, as they engage in a series of space combat missions against the Kilrathi.
The game features two distinct modes of gameplay – the shipboard dialogues and the 3D space combat. Onboard the ship, the player can save and load games, visit the bar to get the latest gossip, or proceed to the next mission briefing. During these briefings, the player will receive information about the mission objectives, enemy forces, and any special circumstances. The shipboard dialogue also offers opportunities for the player to interact with non-player characters and build relationships with their wingmen.
The 3D space combat mode has the player sitting in the cockpit of their fighter craft, which can be maneuvered in six directions using roll, turn, up/down, and afterburner controls. The player can fire guns and launch missiles, and each craft has different flight characteristics and armaments. The player is accompanied by a wingman on each mission and must keep their wingman alive by issuing appropriate orders. The player will encounter different types of enemy fighters and capital ships, and even face off against Kilrathi aces.
After completing a mission, the player must return to the Tiger’s Claw and prepare for the next one. The game offers both winning and losing paths, and the player’s choices and performance will determine which path they follow.
Overall, Wing Commander is a challenging and engaging game that offers an immersive space combat experience. Its shipboard dialogue and character interactions add depth to the gameplay, and its branching campaign tree offers high replayability. The game has inspired several sequels and spin-offs, and its impact on the space combat genre is still felt today.
- Genre: Simulation
- Publisher: ORIGIN Systems, Inc.
- Developer: ORIGIN Systems, Inc.
- Year: 1990