Reply To: Thoughts?
I know these games too well to give an unclouded opinion at this point. I’ve even played through most of the ports but it’s been years since I went back to the original versions like this. I’d agree that the story doesn’t add up to much in WC1. It feels tacked on but it was fairly unprecedented to have it there at all at the time. Chatting to the other pilots added a ton of atmosphere above just flying the missions – the game would have been far less memorable without it. You haven’t mentioned the Secret Missions add on packs. It felt to me like the story was far better told in both of those – with an actual overall arc instead of just bolting a few disparate plots together. The difficulty presented way, way more challenge also, especially in SM1. It seems to me like the real meat is in both of those rather than the main game.
The collision physics are a consequence of the sprite engine I think. You are looking at 2D objects while moving around in a 3D space. When a sprite gets near to snapping to the next image, what you are looking at can be way out of what the engine is tracking. It’s especially noticeable if you are near to a capship where you can crash into it while seemingly flying through empty space. It’s a limitation of the technology really, not sure Origin could have done much about it other than making all the ships cube shaped. The graphics are clearly dated but looked amazing at the time (especially in screenshots). I think they work well on the whole considering this ran on a 286.
I’m a few missions into Special Ops 1 having finished WC2 at the weekend. The sequel is very similar but a clear improvement on the original in just about every aspect really. The extra cutscenes give the story much more life but the gameplay is raised a notch as well. There is far more difference between the ships here – a Broadsword is so slow and lumbering compared to a Ferret. It’s a whole different experience flying those missions. I really like the addition of turrets and the need to use them when fighting the lighter ships. The capship missions are much more epic also with the new requirement to use torpedoes.
I’d recommend the whole series for people who have the time. I’m intending to carry on going this month and see how many I can get through. There is no shortage of Wing Commander to be getting on with. There is even a whole series of novels, a collectable card game, a Saturday morning cartoon series, not to mention the fairly terrible movie.