Reply To: DosBox Warnings in Reviews

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Sorry for the bump, but as others have stated, Wing Commander was never designed to run at 70, 60, 30 or probably even 20fps. The target was probably a fast 286 or one of the early 386 that were around at the time.

Performance is sluggish on those systems, but I personally quickly get accustomed to it, it just takes a bit of time. Running Wing Commander on newer systems, even 486 just a couple of years later, caused performance to speed up to obscene levels thanks to the lack of a frame limiter in the game. I believe Wing Commander 2 fixed that, but WC1 is definitely one of those games that people tweak their systems by disabling caches and adjusting frequencies just to get the right balance to play the game properly.

As such, people attempting to play the game nowadays through DOSBox might try to raise the cycles to get smoother performance, which in turn makes the game play way too fast and it becomes impossible to control your ship and hit Kilrathi crafts.

The situation is not unlike StarFox on the original SNES which ran pretty sluggishly, probably sub 10fps at times. When powerful emulators and systems came around, people tried to hack it so that the SuperFX chip hidden within the cartridge ran at a higher frequency. While this undoubtedly made the game run smoother, it also meant that it ran a lot faster making it very very hard to play. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

I too recommend a joystick with this one, mouse doesn’t feel good at all for this one for me, it feels like they tried to map the mouse axes to joystick axes, so it’s just weird to control. Keyboard is better, but obviously not as good as a joystick.