Secret Ops was an experiment in game distribution. It was at first only available as a free download. In regular intervals, new episodes were released, each featuring several new missions with the storyline told through in-game cutscenes. The game was later available in a collection together with Prophecy, and sold as Prophecy Gold.
Kilrathi Saga also featured complete digital re-orchestrations of the original two soundtracks by George Oldziey, but the Saga did not include the Secret Missions and Special Operations packs of the first two games. The packs were instead made available for download on the Origin website. Due to the add-on packs not being on the CDs there is a bug that causes some music to not be played during animated sequences in the add-ons.
Prophecy offers 3D first-person missions (both solo and with wingmen) of varying objectives. Spacecraft range from fast and nimble fighters to slow but heavily armored bombers, both with a variety of energy guns and missile weapons available. The combination of spacecraft and mission types, coupled with a simple but very responsive control system, augers well for enjoyable gameplay.
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 game also introduces a new enemy--a vicious insectoid race from the nether regions of the galaxy that has come in force to fulfill an ancient Kilrathi prophecy of death and destruction. Ruthless and deadly, the aliens with their advanced technology and vast numbers, embody the essence of darkness. And through the use of gratuitous amounts of dramatic license, the writers have conjured up an epic story that places the Midway as humanity's only line of defense against the alien armada, into a situation where a handful of pilots can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to dispense peace, freedom, and justice to the galaxy. Yes indeed, it's Wing Commander alright, no doubt about it.
The acting in Prophecy is good, but not the greatest. It is about as good as you can reasonably expect from a computer game, and on par with that of the preceding two games. The actor that plays Lt. Casey does a very good job adding dimension to the character, and really performs well, despite a script that breaks down here and there. The portrayal of Maestro, your happy-go-lucky academy buddy, and fellow rookie pilot is also well done, providing humor when needed. Series veterans Blair, Maniac, and Rachel are once again back along for the ride, although only Maniac seems truly comfortable in his role. Some other characters are tossed into the spotlight at various stages of the game, including Stilleto, the fiery First Lieutenant who steps aside for Lt. Casey to serve as wing commander, and Lt. Finley, the brainy science officer who tries to act flirtatious and sophisticated between gulps of replicated drink. However, neither of the two characters are developed much beyond their pretty faces, and the potential for interesting character interaction is wasted.
One feature that is painfully missing from the game is multiplay of any sort. Multiplayer support had been promised from start, but in the end was sacrificed to allow the game to retail in time for Christmas 1997. Presently, Origin appears to in the process of completing a multiplayer upgrade that will be sold as part of an add-on package later this year. I for one, find that the decision to sell a feature that was originally promised for the game as a separate product completely disagreeable. Origin should offer the multiplayer package as a free upgrade, or in the least, only charge a trivia shipping and handling fee. In any case, this omission will be a major disappointment to the majority of Wing Commander fans, and for time being, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter will still fly unchallenged in the realm of network and Internet play.
The player takes the role of a nameless pilot aboard the TCS Tiger's Claw, a Bengal-class Strike Carrier. The player gets to name the pilot and choose his callsign. The pilot (known to Origin personnel as \"Bluehair,\" after his most notable feature) quickly rises through the ranks of the flight wing, and (presuming the player performs ideally in the cockpit) eventually leads a strike on the Kilrathi High Command starbase in the Venice system. On the other hand, if the player does not perform optimally, missions become increasingly defensive in nature and eventually the Tiger's Claw is forced to retreat. Of the two endings, the \"winning\" path is established as canon by the game's two expansion packs, as well as the sequel, Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. In 1994, Wing Commander was retroactively renamed Wing Commander I in a bundled re-release of both games, in preparation for the release of Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger.
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