Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!
Flight sims may not be very prevalent today but back in the 90’s, they were huge. Games like X-Wing, Freespace, even Descent, were all capturing the feel of being in a cockpit. Flight sticks were commonplace amongst PC gamers of the day, so much so that even many non-flight sim games would have support for them. While not the first in the genre by any means, one of the most important series for the flight sim genre was Wing Commander. Today, let’s talk about the second entry in that seminal series. Today’s game is Wing Commander 2: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, developed by Origin Systems and released on MS-DOS in 1991.
Wing Commander 2 picks up right after the first game. The Tiger’s Claw has become the pride of the Terran Confederation fleet and is currently on a mission in Kilrathi space. After a surprise attack though, the entire Tiger’s Claw is destroyed with only one pilot out on command. Wing Commander 2 still allows players to set their character’s name but later games would canonize his name as Maverick. Maverick is demoted and charged with cowardice. The game then jumps 10 years where Maverick is guarding a backwater station before a surprise attack brings him back into the war.
Wing Commander 2 sounds rather odd on paper. The original game was famous and popular for the branching storylines and features depending on your mission performance. Players could finish the game even if they fail nearly every mission. So it seems like a strange choice for Wing Commander 2 to simplify this significantly. While there are still branching paths, players can no longer be promoted or demoted, nor can their actions get their wingmen killed.
Otherwise, Wing Commander 2 looks and plays very similarly to the first. In between missions, players can move around their vessel, talking to their fellow pilots and gathering information about their missions. In mission, you can see much of the cockpit and must use a combination of flight stick and keyboard to complete missions. Missions often consist of destroying Kilrathi vessels or defending allies. You get to fly a number of different fighters throughout the game, each with their own flight and combat capabilities.
Despite the scaled back branching paths, Wing Commander 2 was extremely well received, with several outlets giving the game perfect scores. While it may look fairly primitive by today’s standards, using scaled sprites instead of full 3D for the combat, Wing Commander 2 was a technical marvel for 1991. The music and storyline were particularly praised for feeling like an action movie. Even in retrospectives, Wing Commander 2 may not be quite as beloved as some of the sequels but it is still widely respected and for those willing to put up with something of a learning curve, it is still worth playing today. The game is available along with the first game in the series on GOG.com.
Thank you so much for listening! If you liked the show, please leave a review for us on Amazon. You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram @vg_oftheday for up to date news and schedules for what I’m doing. You can also see me livestream on twitch.tv/katosepe every Monday from 4-6 PM pacific time. Don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another Video Game of the Day!
To enable Video Game of the Day on Amazon Echo devices: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ
Music Provided By:
In Love by FSM Team feat. < e s c p > | https://www.free-stock-music.com/artist.fsm-team.html
Music promoted by https://www.free-stock-music.com
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)