PC Format – November 1992 Scans

I’ve started sorting through all those magazines that arrived yesterday trying to decide what to keep, sell or throw away. I’m expecting roughly equal amounts of each but I’m sure I’ll be getting my £20’s worth no matter what + there should be masses of relevant articles for the blog when I get my act together.

I’ll go in chronological order and start the ball rolling with 3 articles from the November 1992 PC Format:-

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The most interesting of the 3 announces Origin’s sale to EA which had just gone through at this time. I hadn’t heard that they had approached Mindscape before EA but they were minnows by comparison so it wouldn’t have been the right option. Despite the largely justifiable opinion that EA were ultimately responsible for killing off Origin, it was a great deal for both parties at the time and this is well evidenced by Origin’s games catalog in the mid 90’s. Origin could hardly have made a game as ludicrously expensive as Wing Commander 4 without a company that size backing them up.

I can’t help but notice that Ultima Underworld is described in the article as the best PC game of all time which has made me warm to PC Format already. This is just as well as I now have stacks of them. It’s a pity I don’t have the older issue with the review, although I should have the Underworld 2 review with any luck.

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There is a very brief preview of Strike Commander which was expected to be out in 1992 at the time (it didn’t make it). It shares a page with a preview of one of my all time favourites X-Wing. Given what has happened to the Star Wars franchise since, it’s curious to see that Lucasarts held off making X-Wing until the technology had reached a point to do it justice. If only George Lucas had as much respect for the series.

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Finally, there is this short review of Wing Commander 2 – Special Operations 2.

Strike Commander Blueprint – PC Zone

This is a preview of Strike Commander from Issue 2 of PC Zone back in May 1993. This was a decent month for PC gaming from my point of view looking through this issue. Not only have I played most of the games in there but I still own half of them. The highlight has to be X-Wing which is still a personal favourite.

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Day 108

I retried my last mission from yesterday, just ignoring the tanks this time around and make it through first time. Next mission I have to blow up a bridge to stop tanks moving over the river.

The third and final German mission has me destroying ground based guns so that a fleet of A-11’s can come in and blow up the castle. 

Mission completed, I return to home base to find Walters waiting for me. He wants me to shoot down a jet containing stock bonds. Against my better judgement I agree.

Sure enough, we complete the mission then have to fight off a retaliatory strike from the oil company who’s plane we just shot down and he doesn’t even pay. I set out to try to recover the money.

I catch Walters trying to escape and he pulls a gun on me leaving me no option but to shoot. For our next mission we end up back in Mallorca working for Mendez again. During the second mission he attacks our strike base and I have to retreat and make an emergency landing.

When we get back to Turkey, the IRS has frozen our funds and ordnance leaving us in dire straights. There is a huge $40 million bounty on Mendez which we decide to collect.

Before we can get that far, Prideaux gets the plan out of one of my pilots and passes the news back to Mendez.

Janet has left the Jackals and is now looking to rejoin the Wildcats. She has found out about an F22 that the IRS have in storage and comes up with a plan to steal it. If we can get this plane we will then have the firepower to get revenge on Mendez.

Stage 1 of the mission involves flying to the IRS base, taking out its defences, then I land and steal the F22.

As soon as I take off with the F22 a couple of other fighters appear out of the blue. It turns out that Janet wants to F22 to go after Mendez herself. This leaves me with no option but to shoot down her and her associates.

This mission finally gives me the chance to fly a different plane having been in the F-16 for every single mission so far. The F-22 doesn’t exactly feel a lot different but it definitely turns more quickly.

I return to my base with the F-22. Now its back to Mallorca to get Mendez.

The games final mission isn’t actually all that difficult. Just 4 fighters + Mendez’s jet. As if I didn’t have reason enough to dislike him Mendez also tells me that Stern never collected the gold from him and his own forces shot him down. This guy definitely deserves to die.

As a final end to the game, I finally get to fight Prideaux who shows up above our base. The IRS want revenge and have even loaned him an F-22 for the job. This final fight isn’t really any more difficult than any that went before it.

In a mirror of the opening credits, Prideaux parachutes down and I once again refuse to resort to murder.

I land, get congratulated by the team and thats the end for now.

It seems to have taken a long time to get to the end of this game. It got more interesting in this final session today with the plot finally picking up but I’ve definitely had enough of Strike Commander for now and can’t say I’m especially looking forward to the expansion pack.

In almost every way this is a typical 90’s Origin game but for me it just falls a bit flat on the gameplay which isn’t as entertaining as it should be and is definitely not varied enough to sustain this many missions. There wasn’t an overall storyline running through most of the missions either beyond the minor details of the campaign itself. Most campaigns stood alone and it felt like things didn’t get going until the very end. Its still a decent game but it could have been a lot better and both Wing Commander 2 & Privateer were more fun. 

Next: Ultima 7 Part 2 – Serpent Isle