Mega CD Wing Commander Gets Some Love (September 14, 2023)


Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Here's a fun review of the Mega CD port of Wing Commander. It's noteworthy for having fully (Japanese) speech similar to its (English) Sega CD counterpart. This piece was originally posted to Twitter by Baller Speeder and ZealousFoX, and I've formatted it into one block of text. I like to encourage people to appreciate Wing Commander across all platforms and media types, so I wanted to acknowledge this here!

Game review: Wing Commander (Sega Mega CD / 1994 Sega/Electronic Arts/Origin Systems/CRI/Game Arts/Bits Laboratory)

Yes, five companies worked on the Mega CD port of a Chris Roberts space flight sim classic. Oh well, the important bit is, this gave me the most fun.

Published by Sega themselves in Japan and ported by Game Arts in collaboration with CSK Research Institute (the guys behind the Mega CD port of Might and Magic 3) and Bits Laboratory (the Mega CD Prince of Persia guys), the player sees himself aboard Tiger Claw, a Bengal-class Strike Carrier. The player names the pilot and choose his call sign. The pilot rises through the ranks of the flight wing. The campaign will split to various different planets and scenarios depending on the player's performance.

If the player performs overall well, they eventually lead a strike on the Kilrathi High Command starbase in the Venice system and force the Kilrathi to retreat.

The Mega CD version of Wing Commander is superior to the SNES and Amiga 500 (and by extension the PC MS-DOS) versions in so many ways. I mean, this is an excellent game that is geared towards taking advantage of the Mega CD's strengths.

Why do I have to mention this? Because I already played Secret of Monkey Island on the same console and I was shocked at how badly ported it was compared to the PC original. The colours on that game looked much darker and the gameplay wasn't much fun on the console.

Wing Commander, in comparison, feels much faster and more energetic, is more colourful than the Amiga 500 version, and dare I say it, much tighter in terms of controlling Tiger Claw.

The biggest difference is in the music. The music here is vastly different to the PC original, and to me it seems more arcadey. The speech samples are clear and easy to the ears, though the vast majority of the tunes are generated by the Mega Drive.

I am unsure what sound driver Game Arts used in this port. Maybe it's the same sound driver used in Sonic 2? Or maybe they are using the same sound driver used in Tenka Fubu, I don't know.

Wing Commander is a stellar intergalactic warfare adventure in every sense of the word.

The Japanese version contains native dubbing for the speech as well as translated text to suit the market. Oh, and it has a really nice disc that should help lift your spirits up high if you ever want to be your own Tails and pilot your own intergalactic X-Tornado.

Original update published on September 14, 2023
To be honest, it is not hard to beat the performance of the Amiga 500 powerpoint version of Wing Commander. That was the version that got me started as well 🤣