The amazing Pix of Pix's Origin Adventures is back with a second look at Wing Commander for the Japanese FM Towns system. If you missed his first look, it's worth a read so you can get a better understanding of the hardware and software package that goes into this. Now that he's played the game a bit, he's summarized some of the pros and cons inherent in this fairly advanced port. There are some minor but surprising glitches, although the sound is improved and Japanese pilot voices are pretty cool.
Let’s start with the sound which is where the biggest differences lie. The entire soundtrack is played directly from the CD rather than the MT-32 original. The music hasn’t been rearranged as far as I can tell but simply mapped to another fairly similar synthesizer with some more realistic samples for some instruments than were available on the MT-32. Usually I would always prefer the MT-32 in these circumstances but here the new versions are an improvement. Where they do suffer is by taking about 2 seconds to start each track due to that single speed CD-ROM. This is particularly jarring when the music switches up in combat.
I also prefer the digital sound effects for shooting, space debris etc. It would have been nice if they didn’t always play at the same volume but it’s not a big deal. I even like the Japanese voices for the pilots. The language being unintelligible to myself doesn’t really matter given that there are English subtitles. I do wish they had done a Scottish accent for Paladin just to hear what Scottish Japanese sounded like – probably more convincing than the Scottish American in WC2 I expect. On the whole, the FM Towns wins on the sound front.
Get Ready, Get Net
The American release of Wing Commander IV for the Playstation included two manuals: a 'Battle Book' which includes detailed controls for the flying portion of the game and a 'New Officer's Handbook' which shows new players how to navigate the game and lists specifications for several flyable ships (the European releases of the game had a single combined manual.) For today's update, we're looking at the cover of the latter booklet which is a little more interesting than it might seem!The single most fasscinating aspect of the New Officer's Handbook is that it introduces a small amount of lore in the form of the 'login text' which shows a new officer (not Blair as they are apparently an Ensign) logging into a Terran Confederation computer system. (2018-10-16)
Wing Commander Sprite Refresh Looks Promising
The original Wing Commander has never looked better! The fantastic work that UnnamedCharacter has been doing on the WC Toolbox is paying off in a big way. Goliath has begun adapting his work to increase the resolution of ship sprites in the game and the results, which use Howard Day's beautiful models, are looking very promising! (2018-10-15)
PC Games Previews Wing Commander IV
End your week with a nice blast from the past: a German PC Games magazine with an EXTENSIVE preview of Wing Commander IV! The cover features an awesome clear shot of the Kilrathi guard seen in the background of Wing Commander III and the exhaustive preview is full of rarely reproduced Wing Commander IV set photos and concept art. (2018-10-14)
Familiar Fighters Found
Eagle-eyed ship spotter Doug Lee has found a squadron of familiar Wing Commander designs in an unlikely place: a mobile game called Stellar Patrol: Galactic Conflict! The top-down space game features a host of familiar Wing Commander designs... and even uses a Rapier as its app icon! (2018-10-13)
Victory! Moongate Kickstarter Hits WC Goal
There's great news out of the Through the Moongate: the first stretch goal has been reached, which means that there will be an extra chapter looking at the developing of Wing Commander II! Here's the official word:A million thank yous to all our backers who made another achievement possible! We will have the pleasure to work with Siobhan Beeman, Ellen Guon Beeman, and other Originites on the Wing Commander 2 chapter, which will be delivered as a digital download to all backers from Honesty tier and higher. (2018-10-12)