Wing Commander

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a game by Origin Systems
Genre: Simulation
Platforms: PC (1990), SNESSNES
Editor Rating: 6.4/10, based on 9 reviews, 14 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Retro Games, Mechs Games, Wing Commander Games

It's been 10 years since the destruction of the Tiger's Claw, in the Vega Sector. Ten years since your court martial and demotion. Ten years since you were shuffled to this backwater outpost, right in the middle of nowhere.

Ten years of patrolling asteroids.

Now. all that is about to change. Kilrathi sightings have increased in the area. You haven't wasted a furball in years...

Wing Commander II is a faithful reproduction of the PC version. Choose from four different ships, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Several types of guns and missiles await you as well... Your wingmen (and women) will cover your butt as you try to chase the Kilrathi out of the sector.

Every battle determines the final outcome of the war. Will the Kilrathi conquer, or will the Terrans be victorious? It all depends how you do out there. So strap in and kick some kitty butt, pilot!


Having beaten the PC version about three years ago, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I was not expecting much to be honest. I was wrong. Simply put, this is one of the best translations from a PC to a gaming console I've ever seen.


I love the fact that the outcome of the battle determines the outcome of the entire war.


A keyboard. The only thing I don't like about these flight sim games is the fact that you cannot squeeze a 101-key keyboard into a six-button controller without losing some playability.


If you like flight sim games, or if you've always wanted to play the Wing Commander series but couldn't afford a PC, then yes, you will definitely like it. If flight sims aren't your gig, then, no, you probably won't like it... at first.

  • THEME - Flight/Simulation

Download Wing Commander


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed

Game Reviews

SNES Space Cadets, attenhut! Here's your chance to kick some big-time extraterrestrial tail! The Terran Confederation is up to its neck in a nasty 20-year war against the Kilrathi, a ferocious feline race. You're a hotshot rookie pilot, newly assigned to a refurbished space fighter battle wagon, the TCS Tiger's Claw. Your mission: to defeat the Furballs!

Wing Commander by Mindscape will blow your mind! It's a flawless portover of a modern-day personal computer classic. The basic game is a first-person perspective, inside-the-cockpit, space fighter simulator, where you fly or die against the killer Kilrathi forces. However, this sleek space interceptor is surrounded by entertaining, interactive, game play elements.

Galactic Good Looks

The game's graphics and sounds are top- notch. The fighting sequences, in particular, are out of this world! The slick, scaling graphics enable you to get so close to other ships that you can literally slam into them. Cinema sequences feature an even mix of movie-style shots, which make the story line flow. The close-up shots when you talk with other characters are excellent. The music's appropriately spacey and dramatic, and the sound effects help you "feel" every shot you make and every blast you take.

The Forever War

Saying that you get your money's worth with this game is an understatement. The war against the Kilrathi is organized into 13 Series with 40 total missions, although this info is not apparent during the game or in the manual. Whether you win or lose a Series determines the next Series you take on. For example, if you keep winning, you emerge victorious from the Wing Commander wars, but you will not have played all the possible scenarios. Naturally, victory or defeat also alters the flow of the story line.

A Series can encompass five types of missions. In Defend, you guard a stationary position, such as a base or a jump point. In Escort, you guard a larger ship. Intercept requires you to seek out and engage Kilrathi vessels in a certain area. In Patrol, you fly through unsecured territory to find trouble. Strike pits you against a particular enemy target.

ProTip: To destroy large enemy vessels, get behind them and shoot missiles "up the pipe".

Sinister Spaceways

The action runs a nice balance of flying and fighting. To find the cunning, cat-like enemy, you always rocket to areas called Nav Points. However, unlike some combat flight simulators, you don't suffer stretches of long, uneventful flying. You must stay alert, because your flight path might be cluttered with asteroids, mines, or Kilrathi patrols.

  • In a pinch, you can shoot asteroids, but you won't survive long with that tactic. Also, you can't fly around asteroid fields.
  • You don't have to reconnoiter every Nav Point to successfully complete a mission.

When you zero in on the Kilrathi, the fighting's as hot and heavy as SNES combat action gets! The outer space dog... err, catfights always pit you against unfavorable odds. Enemy fighters gang up on you, and sometimes you don't know they're there until they've blasted your human behind.

  • To score hits on long-range shots, line up the target on the ends of the cross hairs, not inside the center circle of the sight.
  • When you're on a Kilrathi's tail, you may have to slow down to stay there.

If you want to practice, you can find a simulator in the pilot's ready room. It's a video game within a video game that's a challenge in its own right, and it'll give you a good taste of the action to come.

Hi-tech Hardware

The sci-fi technology isn't meant to be the show here, but you get some cool gear. You fly four types of Fighters. The ships vary in their external appearance, but they all handle alike.

Regular Dart missiles are most effective on Kilrathi craft coming at you.

Your ship's control panel is lean but mean. It takes practice to eyeball all the critical displays and toggle switches in the heat of battle. You get a main-view screen, left and right Video Display Units (VDU), and a Radar Display. You live or die by the Radar Display, which reveals friends and foes when you can't see them.

Here Kitty, Kitty!

Interpersonal and interspecies communications play an important role in this game. You always fly with a Wingman, who can be any one of eight different individuals. You can make the Wingman attack a certain target with you, attack independently, or fly in to save your laser-fried can. Forming a team with a Wingman is a key strategy, but sometimes your comrade's personality makes it hard for you to control him.

  • Watch out for Maniac. He gets so pumped during a fight that sometimes he shoots you!
  • The Kilrathi don't like to attack you if you're close to a larger ship, such as the Tiger's Claw or a Draymon transport.

There are also four Kilrathi aces on the prowl. Like you and your fellow flier, these "cats" have individual skills and personalities, too. You can get into some intense sub-space name-calling, sort of "mano a gato". If you hate cats, this game's for you!

Practice makes perfect.

Wing Commander is a great space combat flying game that takes the SNES one step beyond. It'll take all your video flying skills to turn the Kilrathi Empire into kitty litter, and along the way you also play an active role in an entertaining story line. If you yearn to turn and burn among the stars, bring Wing Commander into your space.

Believe It Or Not, people didn’t always buy PCs solely to play games. It wasn’t just that PCs were expensive, bulky or downright ugly either. The fact was that back in the ’80s the painfully slowly evolving PC was, as a games machine, barely capable of making audible sounds, let alone displaying graphics of the colour and complexity other home computers and consoles could pour out. What games did exist were conversions of arcade and other computer hits, like Burger Time and Bruce Lee. There was the perennial Microsoft Flight Sim of course, the odd role-playing game such as Ultima and a raft of Sierra adventures, but by and large the PC was on the fringes rather than forging ahead.

Fast-forward to today and the PC is at the forefront of games technology, from 3D graphics and sound to highspeed connectivity and massively online gaming. It’s the fastest, most powerful and certainly the most adaptive games machine on the planet and, give or take the odd month when a new games console is launched, has been for the best part of the last decade. The question is, what caused such a change in the PC’s gaming fortunes?

The simple answer isn’t one of technology but of games. Just as Halo has sold the Xbox to thousands and Metal Gear Solid has done similar wonders for Sony’s machines, if the PC was going to become a great games platform it had to offer great games. Wing Commander, which was released in 1990, caught people’s attention like no PC game before and was to be its first 'Killer App’, the game thousands wanted, even if it meant spending hundreds of pounds on a PC to play it.

"If I had a penny for every time someone said to me they’d upgraded their PC or bought a soundcard just to play Wing Commander," says Chris Roberts, "I would have a hell of a lot of change."

Time Moves On

Having started out developing games for the BBC Micro in his native Blighty, Chris Roberts found himself in 1987 working for Origin Systems in the US. His first game for the Texas-based developer was Times Of Lore on the Commodore 64, a Gaunt/ef-inspired fantasy role-playing game whose technical achievements were lost on a games-buying public that was migrating onto bigger and better machines.

"I designed the game to be loaded from tape as opposed to a disk drive and the end result was quite a technical achievement," he remembers. "Unfortunately when it was released US gamers had started to move to IBM. so the fact that I had packed so much into 64K was lost on people who played games on computers with 384K and built-in disk drives.

"I decided then that my next game would be for the PC, and that I would use every bell and whistle I could with the available hardware, to deliver the biggest audiovisual punch I could. When I saw what Larry Holland was doing with 3D sprites in LucasFilm's WWII flight sim Battlehawks 1942,1 decided there was no time like the present to create the game I had wanted to make from the moment I started programming."

Having worked with Denis Loubet on Times Of Lore, the pair embarked on what was to become Wing Commander in early 1988: Roberts programming, Loubet working on Wing Commander's trademark graphics. "I wanted detail in the 3D ships that a PC could not deliver," recalls Chris "At that time the best a PC could do was 3D wireframe or very basic flat polygons. It would be another three years before the PC could handle texture-mapped 3D objects."

Squadron Leader

Roberts’ vision for the game (originally called Squadron), was to help forge an experience more akin to a movie than a game, with a cinematic feel that would blur the distinction between scene-setting and interaction.

"I had always wanted to play a game that qave me the feel of a complete universe, like Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica," he says. "I wanted the Wing Commander universe to be immersive -an alternate reality with no hint that it was a game at all. I always felt that the conventions of cinema, along with a nod of the head towards cinematic visual cliches could go a long way to creating an immersive world for people much in the same way as I was completely lost m the world of Star Wars when I first saw it "

Into The Unknown

"As crazy as it may seem, there weren't that many problems during development ' recalls Chris. "We never tweaked or balanced any of the missions - that is how good Jeff George s initial mission construction was... It just came togethei"

Wing Commander took 18 months to create from start to finish. After months working as a pair, the team would swell to more than eight full-timers and a number of freelance programmers, artists and sound specialists, one of whom was Erin, Chris’s younger brother.

"Wing Commander gave me the chance to do my first design work." says Erin today. "I felt it was a really good game, and Chris had brought together a number of not only very original gameplay elements, but a movie like story that would give the game a much wider appeal. I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be as big as it was, but we felt it was a very strong product."

"We were a kind of stealth project." adds Chris. "Ultima was Origin's cash cow and they had planned to exploit the franchise with spin-offs and sequels. On the Ongin sales projections Wing Commander was an after-thought. After all we were a total unknown."

Just before the game's release, at the Consumer Electronics Show during the summer of 1990. the team first got an idea as to how well the game might be received. Having put together a rolling demo and looped it to run onscreen, the cinematic qualities of the m-game graphics drew generous crowds around the Ongm booth, prompting the company's then vice-president of sales to offer a friendly wager.

"He bet me he would sell 100,000 copies on the PC in the US before the end of the year," recalls Chris. "Back then that was a huge number and foolishly I thought he was crazy, so I took the bet... and lost. I also had a pretty good idea that it was going to do well based on the other developers at Origin - instead of working on their games they were playing Wing Commander."

Above And Beyond

"I think the first time I felt like we had delivered beyond my expectations was when we started reading the online comments. "People weren't talking about which ship to use and who the most effective wingman was to finish such and such a mission, they were talking about the characters: how they hated Maniac, Paladin, Angel.

The Kilrathi... It was like people were talking about a movie or a book, not a game." Almost immediately Roberts began to work on expanding the senes. By the end of 1991 Wing Commander had received two expansion packs and I was done.

"With characters and cinematic convention, but the story arc and character development was pretty basic. Based on the success of WC1 we realised we could exploit the medium to take the story to another level - essentially tell a good old-fashioned space opera inside the game. That is what we set out to do with WC2."

Sir Lancealot

After leaving Origin and EA behind, Roberts set up Digital Anvil in 1997, partly to work on a Wing Commander movie and also to oversee a new breed of space combat games that would build upon, though be quite distinct from, the Wing Commander series. While most were disappointed with the film and Digital Anvil's first game Starlancer, we've been waiting with bated breath for the sequel Freelancer (expect a review next issue), now in it’s sixth year of development.

Today Chns Roberts looks back on the first Wing Commander with pride. "Wing Commander was the first game that really delivered the promise of immersive storytelling inside a computer game. I certainly noticed a lot of the interface tricks and storytelling shorthand that we pioneered popping up in subsequent games, in more than just the space sim category. I also think it was the first game that showed developers if they pushed the hardware and thus delivered an audiovisual experience beyond the audience's expectation you’ll be rewarded."

Brother Erin agrees: "It showed gamers that they should expect more. I think Wing Commander was one of the first games that really started pushing people’s expectations... it was also one of those games that defined a genre, and had an impact on people that few games do. Selling well is nice, but making a game that is remembered 10-20 years later is much better."

"I have never made a game since or before where everything came together so smoothly and felt so right." says Chris. "If I had the chance to go back to my games I would say that the first Wing Commander would be the one game I would leave alone."

Oh, what a coquette of a game. The original title was controversial, for no more reason than it needed a powerful machine. The division it caused in journalistic circles was amazing, for one who considered himself something of an outsider, to watch. Hard-bitten hacks savaged it, tearing apart all of its memory requirements and fancy graphic techniques, while technophiles did cartwheels over it for the same reasons. You must remember that these were the early days of British pc gaming and how could we possibly know that our high-brow word processors were going to turn into the home entertainment centres they are today?

I liked it for no more reason than it was fun. I remember many a happy lunch hour or two losing myself in the battle against the Kilrathi. We had no idea an even more controversial sequel would appear and X-Wing wasn't even the merest of twinkles in LucasArts' eye when we first began to play this. But this was all we gung-ho space jockeys had then.

And, I'm glad to report, it still plays well. Better, some might say, than its sequel. Not, others would voice, as good as X-Wing. But, a couple would chip in, it is at a budget price.

It's Wing Commander, and there's nothing you can really add. You'll love it or you'll hate it, whatever its age and price and nothing I could say will change your opinion. You'll either embrace its pixelly bitmaps and use of the word 'bastard' in one of the text bits with open arms, or you'll turn up your nose, sniff haughtily and rankle with distaste when you think about how it has been responsible for all those other Commander games as well as that one that thinks it's Elite. I know which way I'm facing and my mark is given accordingly. Feel free to ignore it, this is a democracy after all.

How to Become the Wing Commander


  • Origin's latest action/adventure is a three-dimensional space-combat simulator with some amazing attributes. Players must help forces on Terran overcome the evil Kil-rathi forces, in an attempt to restore freedom to the galaxy. This is done by commanding four different spacecraft through different assignments ranging from simple "search-and-destroy" runs to complex escort, rescue and defensive missions.
  • Start in the bar by questioning the bartender and the people sitting down. The bar should always be checked after each mission: The pilots who hang out there usually have some important news for anyone who'll listen. This is also a good place to practice flight maneuvers on the training simulator. Use it to get accustomed to the controls before actually heading out.
  • In the hangar, gamers are given an objective and shown where the nav points are for the current mission. If it's a search-and-de-stroy, it's simply a matter of blasting all Kilr-athi ships and heading back. If the objective is an escort mission, remember to stay within 3,000 klicks of the escort ship at a|l times to avoid getting a negative review. Don't chase enemy ships too far on these missions. Instead, wait for them to come to you.
  • Once airborne, choose the missiles you like best. Early on, players can use the heat-seekers to take out the enemy and blast the last couple of guys with lasers. Later on, it becomes important to save those power missiles for the second or third nav point, where the enemy wing leaders are. In these rescue missions, always head straight for the rescue ship and try to get the enemy off of it. If it looks like they're in big trouble, fire a few random laser shots to scare your enemies and (hopefully) get them to chase you or the wingman.
  • When the wingman spies an enemy fleet, remember to give an order such as "stay in formation" or "break off and attack." If many hostile ships are concentrated in one area, make the wingman break off and head the other way to split up the enemy. > * Once that's done, listen for messages and be ready to help the wingman if things get tough.
  • When engaging the enemy, never fly straight. Shake things up to make it hard to get a lock on the ship. Remember to press "T" then "L" to get a lock on the enemy if missiles are required. Try to avoid a head-to-head fight. The enemy is usually a better shot with a laser gun. Instead, break left or right hard, and try to come up on him from the side. Don't fire random laser shots. They use energy and wasting them could spell disaster later on if things get really hot!
  • Finally, if the briefing warns that the upcoming mission may be met by one of the Kilrathi star pilots, watch the corn-screen to find out which one he is. This smart mouth always communicates something sarcastic before he attacks. When he does, lock on him and try to get off a missile before switching to guns. Once done, fire a volley of lasers across his front. If done correctly, he'll either blow up or run away scared.
  • Of course this doesn't always happen. If it doesn't, you'd better be ready to use some fancy flying maneuvers if you're ever gonna nail this guy!

Wing Commander: The 3-D Space Combat Simulator. Its name sounded impressive enough, but seeing this wild game from Origin Systems brought images of Star Wars, Space 1999 and Battlestar Galactica to a computer screen. The 27th- century space battle will no doubt define what is state-of-the-art for arcade-action computer games. Similarly, it will show people that flight simulators can be fun. But mainly it will be copied by other developers, who will see Wing Commander's style as something they will have to add to their software to keep up with the Joneses.

The Story

A particularly nasty band of aliens, the Kilrathi, have engaged the Terran Confederation in a universe-wide conflict. Over the years the Terrans have built their federation through the vast exploration of space, grouping together various civilizations in an attempt to create strength through cooperation. It's worked, but the Kilrathi are relentless in their efforts to destroy this friendly union of planets.

All attempts to enter into discussions with the Kilrathi result in laser fire. It's seems that the only way to deal with the Empire of Kilrah is on their terms. These battles will bring your best pilots and wingmen into dreaded encounters with this savage race of space pirates. The abilities of the Kilrathi Imperial Star Force leave no room for slack in your flying. One flaw in your dogfighting battle plan means certain death.

Not only do you have the best pilots on your side, but you also can place them in some of the finest starfighter craft and weapons this side of the Milky Way. As you gain experience against the Kilrathi, you'll be able to upgrade your wings, perhaps up to the Confederation's pride and joy, the Raptor class.

Lights, Camera...Action!

Though this kind of space battle has been created for computer gamers before, Origin, behind the impressive talents of Chris Roberts, aimed at breaking new ground. While talking to Roberts, who's the youthful age of 22, the fact that he has been in this industry for eight years comes out. He first started developing games in his native England, though he was born in Redwood City, California (to a British father and an American mother), and has three major successes his credit: Wizardore, an arcade- adventure for Imagine Software; Match Day, a soccer game for Ocean Software; an Stryker's Run, a side-scrolling shoot-'em-up for Superior Software.

In 1986, when his parents moved to Austin, Texas, Roberts was working on his next game project, Ultra-realm. After visiting his family, he decided that his work on Ultrarealm, which was renamed Times of Lore, was not dependent on location, and he moved to Austin. When Times of Lore was completed, a bidding war resulted between some of the main software companies - Electronic Arts and Broderbund, among others - but Roberts went with Austin-based Origin, "not only because they were local, but they were some of the nicest guys I met in the business", Roberts said. It may have been one of the best decisions either Origin or Roberts have made: Roberts' Times of Lore and Bad Blood have been quite successful.

For Wing Commander (the name was changed from Wingleader when a conflict with a board game was discovered), Roberts wanted a realistic 3-D combat simulator, but for the most part it would have to be created from scratch because a project of this scope had never been attempted before. By the time the movie-like process was done, Wing Commander would have a crew of six programmers, four graphic artists, two musicians, one sound-effects person, one scripter and a budget of about $250,000. "We could make a cheesy slasher film for that", Roberts noted. The whole process began nearly two years ago, at Christmas of 1988, but the results will find their way to future Origin projects.

After determining what was needed to bring his dream to disk, Roberts created a system for moving bit-mapped objects in three dimensions. By developing this system, he could offer the realism he wanted without having to sacrifice the massive quantities of disk space needed to store a separate image for each angle an object could be viewed at. Furthermore, this method increases the number of "camera" angles Wing Commander could display the action from.

Next, artists sketched out what the ships would look like, and these drawings were ray-traced on an Amiga 3000 as 4,096-color, 3-D models, then ported to the IBM in 256-color VGA mode through custom programs. The shape tables, the data that tells the computer the make-up of the objects, were also ported over for use by the program. Finally, enhancements, such as landing lights, were added for polish.

Other segments of the game were created in a manner similar to an actual movie. The design team would get together with a storyboard artist to discuss how the game would "play". The resulting scene sketches were digitized and used as templates for the graphic artists, who created extensive animations using D-Paint Enhanced by Electronic Arts. "We didn't want a digitized look," Roberts said, instead opting for an effect similar to rotoscoping, a process used in some animation, where filmed scenes are traced over by artists. This gives a realistic yet surreal look to the scenes.

Final touches, such as the first-person perspective of running down a hallway with the other pilots toward the starfighters, were added using videotaped segments, which were digitized and touched up by the artists. Again, the cinematic feel comes into full use.

The last major step was the integration of sound and music into Wing Commander. Employing the talents of George Alistair "The Fat Man" Sanger - whose work has been used by Lucasfilm Games, Wham-O and Mattel, among others - the intention was to have the soundtrack blend into the action. "We wanted the music to be seamless and in the background, much like a movie", Roberts explained. "But we also felt that it should add tension to the game".

The strength of the soundtrack is that it is programmed in a manner similar to the game itself, with breakpoints and changes that are used when the action changes on screen. Depending on when the player accomplishes certain feats, the music switches to other passages inconspicuously, whether it's a victory theme or death dirge. Wing Commander will also support optional soundboards to allow the player to fully enjoy the depth of the stereo sound effects and orchestral arrangements.

Coming to a Theater Computer Near You

The final result is a combination of movie-like scenes tying together the intense arcade action that the player faces. The evolution of Wing Commander will begin on the IBM PC (supporting EGA, VGA, MCGA and Tandy graphics) around Christmas 1991, with a likely appearance on the Amiga line. Commodore's compact disc-based CDTV, using the Amiga as a foundation, will also be a natural location.

Eventually, Wing Commander will be ported to video-game consoles. Roberts discussed how easily the game - along with its stereo sound and high-resolution graphics - would port to the Genesis and, whenever it's brought to the U.S., Nintendo's Super Famicom.

The end result is that the name Chris Roberts will be on the lips of more electronic gamers, given the quantum leap Wing Commander will take in the computer game community. Who knows what he'll accomplish before his 25th birthday?

As Malone flipped the switch, I stood there mesmerized by what I saw. My peripheral vision left me and my eyes locked onto what Malone called a game. Ha! This was no game, but I still stood there, frozen and entranced.

Then it went black....

"What, the...," I stammered.

"It's only a demo", Malone chuckled, knowing that he had me teased. "Better warm up your screen, Paperboy". And he walked away, patting his cohorts on the back and gesturing toward me.

Now I'm helpless to do anything else but sit at my desk, waiting for the mailman to swing by each day. "Maybe they'll get done with it soon", I say to myself, in an effort to justify my wasting away, accomplishing nothing in the meantime. But I think the mail-man knows too. I think I saw him laughing as he left.

Hey, did his shoulder patch say "Origin" on it?

  • Machine: Sega CD
  • Manufacturer: Electronic Arts.

This is more than just a flight sim - it not only follows a script, but the story is different depending on how well you fly as well. All your wing men talk to you, and you even get to attend their funerals if they don't make it through a mission.

System requirements: IBM, Tandy, or compatible computer running at a speed of 12 megahertz or faster; hard disk recommended; EGA, MCGA, VGA, or Tandy 16-color graphics; mouse or joystick optional; supports Ad Lib, Sound Blaster, and Roland sound boards.

Origin's Wing Commander is simply the best space-combat simulation ever made for PCs. It combines the tense excitement of a great arcade shooter with a role-playing story of surprising depth and swashbuckling melodrama.

Designed from the ground up (primarily by Chris Roberts) to take maximum advantage of the power, speed, and memory of high-end PCs, Wing Commander offers graphics and animation that will make your jaw drop in astonishment.

Missions take place against a deep, velvety void sprinkled with ice-blue nebulas, pitted asteroids, and flaming suns. Enemy warships - from sleek, light fighters to huge, wallowing transports - are modeled, scaled, and animated with uncanny realism and detail. The space battles are fast, furious, deadly melees. The illusion of battling against an intelligent, aggressive foe is at times quite unnerving.

In contrast to the usual simple minded arcade shooter, in which victory usually goes to the strong of thumb, victory in Wing Commander goes to pilots who learn how to evade, how to maneuver at high speeds without ramming other vessels, and how to think two steps ahead of the enemy. When all the junking and turning is done, you'd better end up with your foe's exhaust pipes in your missile-lock instead of the other way around.

Strategic thinking, improvisation, and initiative are important, too. As in real combat, the unexpected often happens and a judgment call must be made. Do you ignore those apparently easy kills lurking behind that asteroid belt and get on with the mission, or do you try to score a couple of quick victories?

Or suppose you're attacking a big Dorkir transport that's loaded with reinforcements for a besieged enemy base. Your wingman - a reckless kid who's more concerned with racking up kills than following orders - gets into trouble and cries for help. Do you ignore his pleas and dive on the transport, hoping you can dodge its flak and put your missiles into its belly before the kid gets shot to pieces? Or do you break off your attack and come to his rescue?

In Wing Commander, these are not trivial decisions. If your wingman dies, you have to watch his funeral on the screen. On the other hand, if the enemy transport gets through, an important battle could be lost.

Wing Commander is an elaborately branched program. The outcome of your seventh mission determines not only what your eighth mission will be, but also has an impact on the entire campaign. If you fail too many missions, the tide will turn in favor of the enemy. Once that happens, you'll have to fly and shoot like a winged demon to wrest the initiative back again.

Your enemies are the Kilrathi, a ruthless, fanatically brave race of aliens who resemble a cross between lions and tabby cats. Their goal is the enslavement or extermination of the human race. As the game begins, the Terran Confederacy is stretched thin and both sides have thrown everything they've got into the strategic Vega Sector.

To the Kilrathi, humans are nothing more than "monkeys". Humans, in turn, disdainfully refer to the Kilrathi (with a touch of grudging respect) as "hairballs" or "fleabags".

The Kilrathi are a notch above the usual computerized opponents. Origin has created a number of deadly Kilrathi aces, each with his own style of flying. You'll meet them during the course of ferocious one-to-one dogfights in deep space. Some of these encounters take place inside asteroid fields, where you have to keep one eye on the enemy and one eye on the great pockmarked boulders tumbling through space all around you. During combat, your Kilrathi opponents will sometimes direct personal taunts and insults at you. If your computer has extended memory, you'll even be able to see their faces as they jeer.

This attention to detail, fitted seamlessly into the context of an ongoing campaign, gives startling depth to the role-playing aspect of Wing Commander. Make no mistake: This game draws you in and doesn't let go until the Terrans either defeat the Kilrathi or go down in balls of flaming plasma after an epic last-ditch stand.

By using the save-game feature to mark your place, it's possible to play straight through to victory - if you don't mind refighting the same missions over and over again until you win. But a more entertaining method is to play several careers at once, letting the victories and defeats dictate the story's progress. Those who have an aversion to complicated flight simulators need not be shy about taking control of a Terran fighter in Wing Commander. Origin has made this aspect of the game as simple as possible, consistent with realism. You will spend most of your time and concentration on flying and fighting, not punching keys and watching lots of gauges and screens.

Origin says that one of its goals in Wing Commander was to "advance the state of the art in computer games". As a result, the breathtaking experience of the game is best savored on a fast 16-megahertz computer with 256 color VGA graphics and a good sound board. If you have such a system, your reward will be the smoothest animation, the lushest graphics, and a thunderously effective soundtrack. Wing Commander also runs well on 12-megahertz computers, although some of the more complex scenes may be a bit jerky. The VGA graphics are so terrific, however, that playing the game with EGA graphics is recommended only as a stopgap measure. It's only when you see a game this good, this compelling, and this virtuosic that you realize how thin is the line which separates computer entertainment from a genuine interactive movie.

In Wing Commander, the art of computer gaming has been not merely advanced - it has taken a quantum leap.

  • Theme: Action

Take on the Kilrathi Empire like never before. Super Wing Commander is flying your way on the 3DO, and it looks to be hot.

This version of the PC classic sends you deep into space where you'll face deadly swarms of Kilrathi fighters. There are dramatic cinema displays that make you feel like you are right in the middle of the action. Super Wing Commander is a challenge from beginning to end. Are you good enough to save the human race from extinction?

  • Manufacturer: Origin
  • # of players: 1
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Available: March 1994
  • No. of Levels: 72
  • Theme: Simulation

Super Wing Commander is a space war game of the flight simulator variety. You're a rookie pilot flying in your first missions. The enemies, oddly enough, resemble common household cats. A savage race, ruthless in battle - the Kilrathi - is a worthy opponent. Your commanders assign you to the position of wing leader with a more experienced pilot flying on your wing. The first mission you must complete is to gather information. Engage the enemy only if you think the odds look good. You'll fly three missions before being promoted to a heavier ship. During your missions, you have total control of your ship and team. Send messages to your wingman and tell him or her to go back to base, stay and attack the enemies, or keep formation to continue the onslaught. On the base ship, you can save your game, talk to other pilots for information or play a simulator to hone your piloting skills. The cinemas and game play in this one are top-notch! Definitely one to watch for.

Nothing else will have prepared you for the look and feel of Wing Commander on your Super NES.

Here's why!

Wing Commander has incredible 3-D action, fullscreen explosions, 33 super stereo soundtracks and CD game quality. But it plays on your Super Nintendo.

Wing Commander is the most extremely cool, 3-D Space Combat Simulator with more than 40 separate deep space missions that progress to near suicide dogfighting with the tiger-like Kilrathi. It's like an action-adventure movie - and you're the star!

Are you up for the challenge? This award-winning mega-hit is now available for the Super NES. Kick some Kilrathi butt with Wing Commander.

Prepare for takeoff!

The highly acclaimed computer title Wing Commander is coming soon to the Super NES! Take control of the best space fighter in the 27th century! The evil Kilrathi are engaging the Earth in galaxywide space war! You arc the Wing Commander in this three-dimensional battle with the invading alien forces! Brilliant cinema displays highlight each break in the action, making the story unfold and telling you the next mission! Earn commendations, promotions, and increasingly better starflighters as the war progresses. On top of it all, Wing Commander sports some the best music and sound effects ever heard on the Super NES! Every piece is fully orchestrated and digitized to bring the true feel of the computer game home to the video game screen! Try it for yourself and feel the adventure!

One of the greatest computer flight simulations of all time is finally being converted to the Super NES format! You are the best starfighter in your fleet, but nothing has prepared you for what lies ahead. The advancing enemy employs some of the hottest weaponry, but, as always, so do you.

Wing Commander is a futuristic space combat game where the fighting is so intense and the feel of flight is so accurate you'll be sweating bullets!

Your mission is to stop the advancing Kilrathis, a race of feline-type creatures. With four super-charged fighters, wingmen, and an entire fleet behind you, the battle is sure to be heated!

Humanity is threatened by a relentless enemy from the stars! The feline Kilrathi are determined to conquer the universe, and only a small band of fighter pilots from the Terran Confederacy stand in their way. Wing Commander is a perfect blend of arcade-style shooting, strategy, and simulation. This Super NES version of the PC hit is a great translation, with realistic conversations, highly detailed graphics and mind-blowing sound effects from start to finish! So punch the afterburners and power-up the shields for hot and heavy space battles unlike all others!

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots