The 3-D Space Combat Strategizer (January 21, 2019)

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Pix and Dennis Mull have both recently found an interesting compilation by Empire Interactive. The set bundles together Wing Commander, Civilization, War in the Gulf and Frontier: Elite II all in one pack. Two of them are space sims, plus there's a tank sim and a classic turn-based 4X - not unlike hundreds of various '90s packs. However, this one is titled "Strategy 4 in one." In fact, the back of the box claims you can "build an empire on earth or fly across the galaxy, you can do it all with this pack - 4 of the greatest strategy games of all time." Now you know!

WING COMMANDER puts you in the middle of the most intense starship action you've ever experienced outside of a movie theatre. But in WING COMMANDER you're the star! "WING COMMANDER changed the way that other developers thought about designing games. This is more than ever an essential addition to any self-respecting PC gamer's collection." -PC Review
It is pretty cool how much play Wing Commander got in bundles like these. This was probably released in late 1994 or 1995 - in the era of Wing Commander 3!





I just ran across it and it's a new one on me. Kind of curious to see Wing Commander in a strategy game bundle.

[The manual] has a shrunken reproduction of the playing Wing Commander section and all the other docs but missed the rest of Claw Marks. According to the back of the box WC was one of the 4 greatest strategy games of all time circa 1995.

The DSG on the back is Dixons Group so it was probably only sold in Dixons, Currys and PC World. Would explain why there don't seem to too many about.
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Original update published on January 21, 2019
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
"WING COMMANDER changed the way that other developers thought about designing games. This is more than ever an essential addition to any self-respecting PC gamer's collection."
That's absolutely true.

X-Wing borrowed heavily from Wing Commander but couldn't touch it in terms of gameplay satisfaction.
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
But many of its mechanics were better. Plenty of stuff in WC3/4 was just "there" without any real benefit, like the power distribution. Plainly, it is just not really necessary to even engage in that gameplay mechanic.
 

Dyret

Super Carrot!
Wing Commander and the Star Wars games were both very good in their own very different way. Freespace took the best from both but failed to actually make you care about their universe in any meaningful way.
 

JasonRocZ

Vice Admiral
But many of its mechanics were better. Plenty of stuff in WC3/4 was just "there" without any real benefit, like the power distribution. Plainly, it is just not really necessary to even engage in that gameplay mechanic.
I kinda liked how I could shift the damage off and put more power to engines and guns. No point in needing to fix anything if you're too fast and too gun happy to need it ;)
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Wing Commander and the Star Wars games were both very good in their own very different way. Freespace took the best from both but failed to actually make you care about their universe in any meaningful way.
Haha yes, just like Tachyon: The Fringe.

The gameplay was excellent but I felt no immersion and I just didn't care about the lore or feel remotely connected to the story.

I don't mean to run down the Star Wars games. I absolutely love XWA, but I still consider Wing Commander to be the top dog in the genre. Biased though.
 

L.I.F.

Vice Admiral
Haha yes, just like Tachyon: The Fringe.

The gameplay was excellent but I felt no immersion and I just didn't care about the lore or feel remotely connected to the story.
It didn't help that the game had no random mission generator. For a Privateer-like, it's a crime.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
It didn't help that the game had no random mission generator. For a Privateer-like, it's a crime.
I haven't played it for years, but its lack of freedom was a real let down. I remember thinking it was a true open-ender before I got it. The comedy lines save that game though.
 

Panther1.0

Ensign
I agree, the Freespace universe lacked depth, felt cold, Wing Commander gives both gameplay and gripping story-line..
 

Vidmaster

Rear Admiral
However, Freespace was explicitly written with the you are a small, irrelevant part in a giant war machine idea in mind. And it works well, at least in the well-written sequel, where the game really shines.

Rookie One on the other hand is terrible, an actual character with voice, face and lack-of-personality.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
However, Freespace was explicitly written with the you are a small, irrelevant part in a giant war machine idea in mind. And it works well, at least in the well-written sequel, where the game really shines.
I don't disagree that this was their objective and they achieved it well. I do however, question whether it makes sense to create a game with that objective at all. As a general rule, no one likes to feel small and irrelevant. This is certainly one of the key reasons why Freespace never became a viable franchise - there are no characters to care about, nothing to attach your emotions to.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
I don't disagree that this was their objective and they achieved it well. I do however, question whether it makes sense to create a game with that objective at all. As a general rule, no one likes to feel small and irrelevant. This is certainly one of the key reasons why Freespace never became a viable franchise - there are no characters to care about, nothing to attach your emotions to.
I agree, but I also think it's nice sometimes to not be at the centre of universe, where your actions absolutely define the outcome. Wing Commander was great at having the player feel every part the all-important hero and the war is won or lost on the missions you fly. But you know what was a nice break from that?

...Standoff. Where the story was already written, so the protagonist's role only had a limited effect in the long term. It was refreshing in a sense, to know that the best or worst endings weren't a million miles from each other, but you could do enough to make a positive and significant difference without shaping the fate of the whole war. I really liked the feeling of being a part of something bigger, you were just relevant enough to feel like your efforts are making a difference in the Battle of Earth, whilst knowing that you won't be solo'ing Kilrah yourself any time soon. I don't know if this was spoken about at the time, but it was certainly worthy of praise in that regard.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
...Standoff. Where the story was already written, so the protagonist's role only had a limited effect in the long term. It was refreshing in a sense, to know that the best or worst endings weren't a million miles from each other, but you could do enough to make a positive and significant difference without shaping the fate of the whole war. I really liked the feeling of being a part of something bigger, you were just relevant enough to feel like your efforts are making a difference in the Battle of Earth, whilst knowing that you won't be solo'ing Kilrah yourself any time soon. I don't know if this was spoken about at the time, but it was certainly worthy of praise in that regard.
Thanks! That was both intentional, and an inevitability - you can just imagine what a mess it would have been had we somehow managed to come up with a story that makes the player the hero in this particular battle. But you will notice the player did have a name and personality, as did all the other characters around him :). Even then, Standoff wasn't exactly designed to draw people into the universe - it was built for people who already were into Wing Commander, and relied on their knowledge to maintain engagement.
 
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