Game Over Online ~ Wing Commander Prophecy

GameOver Game Reviews - Wing Commander Prophecy (c) Origin, Reviewed by - TraderX / Imagine / Jove

Game & Publisher Wing Commander Prophecy (c) Origin
System Requirements P-120, 16 MB RAM, DirectX 5
Overall Rating 89%
Date Published Thursday, January 1st, 1998 at 12:32 PM

Divider Left By: TraderX Divider Right

Well, this was definately a surprise to me, seing as the game was deemed unrippable by so many people. In the end, Paradigm has released this very reasonable rip. Even though cinematics play a huge role in WC4, Prophecy does focus a lot more on the physical gameplay. I am sure that if I had played this game with the videos, it would have been much more enjoyable, but since I haven't seen the videos before it isn't a problem to me. I just see the game as a space combat simulation with a cool unfolding plot line, awesome gameplay, sweet graphics and perfect sound effects! Never the less, lets get on with the review.

When you blew up the planet of Kilrah at the end of WC3, an old prophecy began to come true... Reports of the construction of a new Kilrathi home fleet lead to a reconnoisance mission that only finds it utterly destroyed, blown to pieces without any casualties on the attacker's side... In 2670, the Kilrathi were brought to their knees with the destruction of their homeworld at the hand of the human Christopher Blair. Now, in 2681, among the shattered remains of Kilrah, a new, mysterious threat emerges from an unknown source, laying waste to everything in its path with the Hellfire of Death incarnate...

The game features a smooth playing engine that boasts great control, and at the same time provides the end user with easy manuevering and advanced targeting/weapons systems. The game first starts you off in the main recreation room of the space station, from there you can go to the mission breifing room. I was pleased to see that the mission breifing had a full scale map of the mission proceeding, and full voice as well. The space combat is definately intense, and your actions during the actual game effect how the storyline unfolds. For those who find the game too difficult, go to the options and you can choose rookie difficulty. This definately decreases the challenge, I just left mine on Ace (default setting) and I had some moderate difficulty evading the alien space ships and attacking large fleets.

The targeting system is really cool, you simple cycle through your missles and when the enemy is withing lock range it automatically locks on the target. When you fire a missle and get a direct hit, you can actually see parts of the ship fly off and trails of smoke and debris (that is how realistic it is!). I was really impressed with the explosions too, but I will talk about that in later on. Gun targeting is not hard if you are a good pilot, I have had a lot of experience with X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, if you have, aiming your conventional guns will come naturally. For those who aren't native to space sims, you will probably need some practice in this area. The 2 ways you can tell if you have properly hit the oppenent craft are, first the damage status on your Head up Display will change, and secondly you can see the shield system on the oppenent light up like on 'Star Trek'. Some missions are more difficult than others, but unlike a progressive campaign, they don't get harder as you move along, it seems to be more of a mix. I found some of the later missions easier than the beginning ones, but then they can compensate later on in the game. Overall, Prophecy features very dynamic gameplay and is quite an enjoyable experience.

The controls are quite managable, and even with a Keyboard you can have a cool experience control-wise. Of course, you can still take full advantage of your joystick. The ships are quite responsive to your controls, and rolling is really effective for evading missles. It is also easy to cycle through your weapons, guns and missles having seperate cycle keys is an excellent way to quickly change weapons systems. There should be a file called keys.txt included in this review, its just a quick key listing I whipped together that is handy to print off and keep beside you during play. There aren't a whole lot of keys to remember, so it's not difficult to get used to!

The sound definately rocks! Full stereo/surround sound features blaring through your ears give the realism of space combat a new level. I really liked the sound effects used for the weapons and explosions, also the engine sound are quite realistic. I also downloaded the 46 disk Music Addon (which Paradigm released as well) and the musical score definately suits this game, much like XvT's Star Wars theme suited that game. If you want a more enjoyable experience, I would suggest downloading the music addon. If it doesn't matter to you, then don't bother seeing it is quite big. I also downloaded the Speech Addon (which was released by some group named POD, never heard of em before, hehe). Sadly, it did NOT work for me, and I havent spoken with anyone who has gotten it to work. So if you are reading this, and have a solution for this problem, please get in touch with me!

The graphics definately rule as well! Imagine i-War with the combined power of 3Dfx and awesome features like coloured lighting! Yes, coloured lighting, as seen in Quake2, and it's quite beautiful to witness. Also the lighting and rendering is all done in real-time, so it's full action all the time. Also there are features like fog and transparent smoke which add to the realism of the game. The explosions are really awesome, and I reminded me of Star Wars Special Edition (the movie). Also the missle trails look good, but some of the lasers don't look too realistic (but the Ion Cannons do!). I really liked the use of 3Dfx, seeing how it added so many more features in this edition of Wing Commander. Once again, I will stress that if you do not have a 3Dfx card you cannot get the full gaming experience from a lot of games. It's not just about special effects and graphics, but also the framerate is vastly increased, therefor providing much better gameplay!

Overall, this game rocks for space combat simulation fans. If you did not enjoy games like I-War and XvT (and of course the older WC games), you probably will not enjoy this one. But that is up to you to decide, not me! Overall, it was quite a surprise to get so much out of a game that was deemed "unrippable". Great job Paradigm.


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Divider Left By: Imagine Divider Right

Well, I for one didn't expect to see this ripped. Yet, here it is the newest game in the Wing commander series. The objective is pretty much the same through out the series. Fly a ship shoot down enemies and kill the Kilrathi. An ample name for the warring tiger like creatures. If you are a veteran to these games you may find them exhilirating. If you are a novice I believe you would enjoy this as well. Just in case for those of you reading this that do not know. The game is comparable to to a starwars flight sim. Ironically the main character in several of these Wing Commander games was none other then Mark Hamil. Ok enough chit-chat lets get onto the review.

The gameplay is quite good. This coming from a man using a 2 axis joystick. Yes the game had a great feel and if you have the music addon it really pumped ya up. If you are using the keyboard you already loose 10% of this games reality. Time to go buy a joystick if you dont already have one. The keyboard does use several commands but in the options menu they are easily at your disposal. All the controls in this game seemed to be in practical places. Which means no fumbly to find the "thrust" button.

The graphics were ok in d3d. Only a few of the special effects were not seen as they are when using a 3dcard. The textures were a bit pixelated up close. If one of my images are included you may see that in it. Still the realism of control and ease of control made up for the same old same old space like graphics.

There are three difficulty levels to play in. If you are just starting to play, the first level is too easy for veteran gamers. Game difficulty does increase as the missions continue. And time plays a factor so hurry up and shoot the Kilrathi or be forced to restart the mission.

Overall the game plus the sound makes a nice combination. If you are like me however a few days of play and one to two times through the game and it will become boring. If you like to fly and you do it well. Hell go for wing commander and kill, kill, kill(sorry violence kick).

Tested On: P2 266 32mb sdram 3drage pro 2 tv/pcturbo

Notes: Turn of your game command videos. You wont get to level 2 if you dont


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Divider Left By: Jove Divider Right

The Wing Commander series has made itself one of the best respected space flight combat simulators on par with the notable Xwing/TIE Fighter series from Lucas Arts. The Wing Commander series evolved into a full motion video extravaganza with Mark Hamill acting as the main character. This put many people off the series, but it also attracted new fans as the game almost always had a very strong in-game element amazingly integrated with the FMV. In fact the Wing Commander series is one of the only games to successfully combine a lot of FMV and excellent gameplay. The newest member of the series, and one that has been greatly anticipated has been sitting on store shelves for eons and deemed unrippable. However, our friends at PARADiGM managed to make an excellent rip of Wing Commander Prophecy.

Space combat simulators have several key elements that create and shape them. Each element can be embelished according to the style of game and the type of engine, but each one must be present in order for the game to be successfull. First there are graphics, which are more crucial in this genre than most others. Sound/atmosphere is again crucial. The flight engine defines much of the gameplay while Weapon quality adds to the excitment and stimulating environment needed. Ship design is important to both graphics and plot as destinct ship styles can make a world of difference. Finally, plot may or may not be crucial to the game, but it must be present in order to form some sort of premise that the game is based on. Plot is also generally more exagerated in the Wing Commander series which was often a source of criticism as gameplay was detracted from. However Wing Commander Prophecy combines all of these elements quite successfully to create what may be the best member of the prestegious Wing Commander saga.

The graphics of Wing Commander Prophecy hsa support for 3dfx and other 3D chipsets, and it shoes. WCP uses all the advantages of 3dfx to create the most graphically entertaining space combat title this year. Coloured lighting, dithering, anti aliasing etc. etc. they are all used here and to great effect. The grand picture is stunning with nebulae, stars and ships all having realistic appearances and superb lighting effects. However, WCP also shines in graphic details with missiles having intricate smoke trails, debris of exploding ships reflecting light at the correct angles and lasers lighting up the areas in which they pass. Many do not notice these things or say they don't care about small details, but even if you don't notice them, they add to the overall impression made by the game thus becoming a crucial piece to create the whole, no matter what we say doesn't matter.

The sound and atmosphere of Prophecy remind me of seing the huge space battles in StarWars on the big screen with ships buzzing over your head and lasers firing in every direction. Yes, we all know that there is no sound in space, but sometimes being too realistic detracts from the fiction part of science fiction. With a sound engine that seems, at least on my system, to support true positional sound, WCP has been the most intense experience for a computer game I have experienced in a long time. Hearing ships firing from you from every direction while you try to avoid a heat sinking missile and guard a transport full of marines can be a truely amazing experience when experienced with this sound engine. I almost tried to move my body to dodge a sound, which to me, other than being a tad scary, proves the true effect of this sound system. Besides the sound, the general atmosphere of WCP is like being in an actual science fiction movie, but still being able to control the script (a problem in the older Wing Commanders, but much improved in WCP). Even without the movies, the story is followable (I am still amazed at the excellent ripping job by PDM), and the sense of plot still present. The recroom is tastefully designed and it actually feels like you are on a large battleship in space with a crew that actually matters. Overall, the sound experience of WCP is one of the coolest i have heard in a long time.

The flight engine of WCP is, in my opinion, greatly improved over the previous Wing Commander games and easily comparable to that of Xwing Vs. TIE Fighter and games such as DarkLight Conflict. To control your ship you can choose between keyboard, joystick or mouse. I used my Sidewinder Pro as the main controller and of course the many keyboard commands to use the advanced features of the ship. Maneuvering is extremely simple and all the normal abilties that a ship should have are available: rolling, tilting, turbo boosters, chaff, target system and so on. The controls are almost identical to Xwing Vs. TIE Fighter, and one can not really get much better than that. The engine itself allows large numbers of fighters, capital ships, asteroids, and installations to be present in any given battle. Each ship has it's own unique physics that give it advantages and disadvantages in certain areas. For example, one ship is extremely speedy, but has bad turning and rolling abilities altering the strategy one would need to employ with a ship. This allows the game to be much less repetative and new challanges always available by simply being in a different ship. The flight engine inevitably leads into the element of ship design to be discussed next. But before this I would like to point out that the flight engine in WCP is by far the best in the series and is comparable to the best on the market with almost no qualms besides the occasional aching wrist.

The ships in WCP each have their own unique design in every way possible (well almost every). The cockpits are different, the weapons, the missiles, the physics, the control, the appearance and even the sound of the engine. Not only are your own pilotable ships all different so are those of the enemy (although not as apparent they do make a huge difference). Having so many different ships to pilot makes the game have much more replayability and it always seems that each time i fly i learn something new about the ship. The only other game to have successfully allowed the player to pilot more than one ship is the Xwing/TIE fighter series from Lucas Arts, and prophecy does very well to match it. While having a smaller number of ships available to pilot than Xwing Vs. TIE Fighter, WCP has many more elements within each ship that vary, and thus negates the seeming error of not using enough ships. I absolutely love the ship design in this game, and while many may disagree I am positive that most will agree at the ingenuity of the designers in creating a rich world of space fighters virtually unmatched by any other game.

The plot of WCP is hard to measure in the rip as all the movies were taken out and you have to dissable the inflight communications for the game to work properly. However, from what i have seen, the plot is very good, albeit less flashy than the older titles in the series. However, I think that WCP was not designed as a movie (finally) but more as a true computer game with actual gameplay. And from what I have experienced in the rip I know the gameplay is amazing and I can only imagine (well at least for a little while) what the full game is like. This is one I am definitely considering buying (well burning, but close enough) and I can guarantee that this game is one of the most enjoyable releases of the year, and possibly the last enjoyable release of the year as 1998 approaches us (I am writing this review on December 31st so it's not 98 yet). WCP is recomended for everyone.

Genre rating: 95% (based on other games in the same genre) General rating: 92% (based on a comparison with every game)


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