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Hi! Just finished playing WC1 and WC2 with my son and I must say the experience was solid.
I’m quite impressed by WC1 as a product, technically was pushing boundaries, but also the design has a clear vision for an immersive experience. The way the game starts with the user “losing” in the simulator, the save screen with the sleeping pilots; but also the different wingman’s personalities during flight and the damage reflected on the ship after landing, I think helps a lot to tie-up the space combat with the Tiger’s Claw sequences, enforcing the feeling that “you are there”.
The story is kind of weak, but since wingmans can die at any point, I think it becomes a necessity not to go any deep.
IMHO the most interesting bit about the space combat is the damage system. Not only systems and parts of the ships can be damaged (and there is a direct repercussion on the game), but also weapons can be destroyed: missiles and cannons alike; you can end up with no weapons at all on your ship, and I could not confirm this but I suspect you can do that also to your enemies.
The Space engine is solid but sometimes the game pushes it too far, and I’m pretty sure on some heavy combats, like the ones in an asteroid field, it reached the max amount of objects it can track, and I couldn’t fire my weapons until some missiles and lasers cleared up. I also suspect the game area is dynamic and extends as far as it is needs, just because on one mission a bug happened and a KIlrathi cruiser started to travel pretty fast off-map; at some point the map not only started to zoom out, but also the game become slower and slower until I managed to destroy it and return to the “normal” space.
The AI feels like a mixbag. There are odd bits, like ships colliding and how almost any one vs one combat becomes a ballet of ship crossing each other; but on the other hand, the AI is well aware of the damage and ships break combat to run home when they are near destruction, and I think I caught enemies breaking combat to go out of range and charge shields.
This is indeed a very interesting title to analyze, can’t wait to listen to this episode 🙂
I also think this game and the sequel can be reviewed in conjunction. They did a very good job portraying the TV show, and the voiced version I think it was the last time the original cast was reunited on a project. There is so much love for the characters here, and the episodic format was very interesting.
I was trying to replicate this on DOS box without success. I can disable extended and expanded memory, but seems that DOSBOX has always a min of 1MB of memory free, and that is enough for the game to go full graphics.
Something interesting: if you change the graphics from VGA to EGA, the installer actually converts the art to 16 colors without backup, so, if you later want to go back to VGA, it asks for the original discs.
Really good game, and one of my favorites for DOS.
In retrospect I’m still surprised on how well it makes use of the resources. The Adlib soundtrack keeps surprising me on how good and crisp it sounds, but also there are a lot of little demoscene-esque details, like the palette rotations, distortions and zoom effects.
I prefer the floppy version, probably because of nostalgic reasons, but also I didn’t like the transition animations and pretty much prefer the simpler fly-by animation with the day-night cycle 🙂
What an interesting suggestion. I’m a fan of the flight simulators, specially the combat ones, and I remember playing this game and feeling it was something special. The way you must coordinate the attack with other planes was really unique and accurate to the way an actual operation involving Tornados might develop in real life.
Digital Integration was also a very experienced company, that started producing simulators back in 1982 for the ZX81 and ZX Spectrum, producing several memorable titles for those machines (and yes, I played them all 🙂 )