Wing Commander: Academy
Enroll ye in the Space Commando Prep School. Gather thy state-of-the-art star fighters and thy chum upon-chums wingman. Forage ye into deepest space and engage ye in laser-to-laser combat with the vile Kilrathi. Test thy mettle to the utmost limit with a choice of over 15 adversary craft, various sub space objects (asteroids, nav beacons, ejected pilots), and large mission based expeditions (each with a possible four submissions). Design ye these missions yourself and save ye these missions on disk, to play and play anon. Read ye this review and decide vhether to part ye with thy 'gold'.
As a sort of filler between the now-aged Wing Commander II and the long-awaited (i.e. long delayed) Privateer, Origin have released Academy, which as ye may read above, is an object orientated mission designer for the Wing Commander II engine I say 'object orientated' not just - as you may think - to be poncey, but rather to explain the disappearance of those long badly-dubbed intros and the exhaustive 'plot elements' which gave Wing Commander II a certain depth and character. Minus these sections, the Wing Commander package has been trimmed from an ott nine hd disks to an acceptable three.
On these three you receive a batch of'test' missions and a complete, if simple, designer. Starting with a blank sector of space, with you in the centre, you can select a few choice enemies from a bank of icons. These range from old stalwarts such as The Ferret and The Sabre, to some newies (and toughies) like the Wraith and the Jarthek. Placing these relative to you, alongside inanimate objects such as data pods or ejected pilots (to add rescue elements to your campaign), forms the backbone of your mission. Then you select your ship and its weapons load, and do the same for your wingman, defining his 'hobbies' and characteristics to give him a fuller character. For those new to the Wing Commander ethos, wingmen are 'stars' - the Wing Commander anthem runs along sort of: 'Without my wingman I am nothing/My wingman is my guardian/I would give my girlfriend to my wingman any day/Gladly. Gladly. Gladly.' lines. Once you've set up your variables, you are then ready to execute the mission.
The Wing Commander II system, ostensibly, uses scaled bitmaps which are ray-traced and speedily animated for maximum realism. In reality, while the graphics are very impressive statistically, they tend to start suffering as soon as they move. The scaling is performed in 'jumps'; making spacecraft turns a bit 'three point' and 'head on' attacks a messy jerky affair. The explosions, however, are great.
Wing Commander Academy has one major problem. It's coming out of the shadow of X-Wing. After spending hours in fluid and smooth and exciting full screen space combat, it's difficult to go back to Wing Commander's jerky, halting, quite repetitive one third screen experience. Although Wing Commander Academy plays heavily on character aspects in that it has more powerful wingman delegation commanders, enemy insulting, and a wider range of ships, it's depth (especially in this stripping down version) has nothing on X-Wing. Also, this designer exposes the shallowness of gameplay. With no objectives, or story, or an add story element, and sorely limited options (all you can really do is arrange battles) Wing Commander Academy is really only a must for those breastfed on Wing Commander in the pc's youth and, even then, they may find themselves kicking and screaming and smacking their gums for bigger breasts (if you see what I mean).
Download Wing Commander: Academy
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP