I’ve already looked at the Strike Commander Playtester’s Guide but in 1994 Origin and Prima created another. This one has a larger format and takes up nearly 400 pages making it about 5 times larger than the Playtester’s Guide. It’s described as supplementary to that, however, and doesn’t even contain mission descriptions for the main campaign. This might leave you wondering how it fills all those pages, and it does it with a comprehensive guide to every aspect of flying an F-16 in Strike Commander.
Comprehensive is definitely the word here. Any guide that includes a definition of diving and how to achieve it by pushing forward on the joystick is clearly assuming that you know nothing. I suppose that there must have been people still struggling after buying the Playtester’s Guide and this book was aimed at them. It splits every aspect of flying missions into smaller chunks, such as basic flight, unguided bombing, smart weapons, etc.. and talks you through how to become expert at each one by one. This bite-size approach is a good one but it does mean you will need to work through nearly every chapter before you have covered everything you need to know.
There are 300 pages of this and no aspect of the game is left out, except for the actual mission descriptions and tips on how to fly them. After this the book has several appendices including a description of all the Tactical Operations add-on missions but without any specific advice on how to tackle them. Other appendices are less useful such as a printout of the readme file from the game and a short extract from the Playtester’s Guide, and could be described as filling pages. In terms of background information on the game, there is not much in the entire book and apart from the Tactical Op’s section the whole guide is simply about teaching you how to fly and blow things up.
I suppose I could consider myself the target audience of a book like this. Strike Commander wasn’t quite what I was expecting after coming from the Wing Commander series and I never did finish it until playing it for the blog. There are plenty of tips in here that I would definitely have found very useful, not to mention useful features of the HUD that I wasn’t even aware of. You would have to be prepared to spend a lot of time with the game to work through the tutorials in the way it suggest but if you do this you should be in very good shape to play through the game without needing tips for individual missions.
If you want to invest the time and are struggling with Strike Commander this is definitely the book to go for. It’s not entertaining though and with no extras to speak of can be considered an extremely extensive user manual. In entertainment terms, it’s quite possibly the dullest book I’ve read for the blog which is why it’s taken so long for me to get through it.
It’s scanned and available to download for any aspiring Wildcats. I’ve also uploaded a scan of the excellent X-Wing Strategy Guide in the non-Origin section which is far more fun from what I remember, although I’ve not looked at it in about 10 years. The Deus Ex guide will be next, probably later in the week.