[Posted to alt.games.wing-commander August 11, 1996]
Introduction to "Wing Commander 4.123106: The Price of Entertainment"
As a fan of the Wing Commander games, I was greatly impressed by Origin's fourth installment in the series. I enjoyed the improved graphics, real sets, better acting, and more complex plot. The story still had only one "good" ending (in two variants), but the additional plot branches were a nice touch.
On the other hand, I missed certain things from the other games. For example, WC 4 had no love interest for our hero. Having enjoyed WC 3's romantic sub-plot so much, I found this a serious deficiency. Even worse, in Wing 4 the only "welcome back" I ever got was a tiny, grainy green video. When I nurse a shot-up fighter back from a heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, do-or-die mission, I want a warm welcome from Rachel Pretty-slick-flying-sir Coriolis or even that Wing 1 smart-ass You-sure-got-yourself-shot-up-sir techie.
Worst of all, despite valiant efforts at comedy relief from Maniac, Wing 4 took itself entirely too seriously. In scene after scene, Blair & Co. were grimly determined, seriously determined, seriously grim, etc. In contrast, the characters in WC 3 seemed to have a lot more fun, even with the Kilrathi breathing down their necks. As I recall, WC 3 also inspired a number of humorous posts on the Net, which greatly added to my enjoyment of the game.
If Wing Commander IV were approached from a somewhat less reverent point of view, I wondered, what kind of humor could be extracted from it? My own answer to that question is found in the fanfic story "Wing Commander 4.123106: The Price of Entertainment," which debuts next week on alt.games.wing-commander.
While not exactly a comedy, this rewrite of the Wing Commander IV story tries to be considerably more lighthearted and uninhibited than the original. It follows the same general storyline, but I've rewritten every existing cut-scene and added many new ones. I've kept the same Wing 4 characters (although Pliers has a new job), added many new ones, and brought back a few more of the Wing 3 cast (guess who!). The story is told in the first person by none other than the Heart of the Tiger himself, which means of course that the story omits all cutscenes in which Blair is not present, e.g. the opening sequence of the attack on the transport Amadeus.
The combat missions in the story are inspired by Origin's, but all have been partly or completely rewritten. In most cases I've cut the size of Blair's opposition to something less arcade-like. Flight mechanics and tactics used in the missions are based on the game, but I've made some changes for dramatic or comedic purposes.
Despite extensive rewriting of the orginal story, WC 4.123106 still contains numerous spoilers for Wing Commanders III and IV and, to a lesser extent, WC I and II. I strongly recommend that readers finish both the Wing III and Wing IV games before reading this story; otherwise most of the gags and plot twists will fall flat--of course they may anyway. :-) Knowledge of the Wing Commander novels is not necessary, as I make no use of them.
As I write this, I'm sitting on 15 complete chapters of the story. The other 15 are in various stages of completion. I plan to post one chapter per week for the next 30 weeks, with new posts going out on Sunday nights, US Pacific time. Note, however, that I have family and work obligations, so I can't guarantee that I'll keep to this schedule, or even that I'll finish the story.
One final warning: due to violent content, profanity, nudity, and sexual situations, WC 4.123106 is rated R (by me!). US netizens under the age of 17 should not read it without permission from a parent or guardian. Non-US readers should of course apply the standards of their own countries.
I'll post the first chapter on alt.games.wingcommander next Sunday night (08/18/96) with the subject:
Some previews from Chapter 1:
"Oh, no, maggot, you won't die. Not yet."
"No, let ME buy YOU a knife in your throat!"
"I need you both to be strong while I'm out there."
The "WC 4.123106" feature is rated R. It contains:
AL Adult Language
GV Graphic Violence
GN Gratuitous Nudity
SC Sexual Content
EWSH Extremely Warped Sense of Humor