Day 174

Mission 9 is moderately easy and I get to the conference at the end of it with no great trouble. The chairman is discussing some sort of orbital weapons platform which can be used to strike targets from space.

When I get back to base, I’m met by the sergeant I rescued some time back. The captain volunteered for a mission himself with Brookes but didn’t come back. The sergeant is in command now.

Brookes is not happy as ever and thinks they were set up.

I get my next briefing from the sergeant who tells me that we have finally got the cipher chip working and have learnt of some sort of weapon being developed by WEC. We don’t know what it is but I’m to go in and destroy it.

The place is some sort of lab full of genetic experiments of some sort.

I bought a graviton shield from Weasel in my last break between missions. This is a bit more effective than my old one and also gives a nice effect when I’m hit.

At the end of the level I find and shoot the Doctor. He describes me as a prodigal son suggesting that I’m a product of these experiments myself. He has the most ridiculous death in any of the FMV to date, with his hand refusing to go for as long as possible.

I’m ordered to kill all the prototypes before I go so I have to shoot out all the tanks.

I’m met by the Sergeant again when I get back. She says that she discovered Brookes was the traitor and Brookes teleported out as soon as she was discovered.

My next mission is to get information on Project Vigilence. I have to infiltrate a base and steal the electronic plans.

This mission is again fairly easy and I get through it quickly.

We have discovered that Operation Vigilence involves a new space station (I knew this already of course). This space station still can’t operate without ground control. The president is planning to use this station to eliminate the resistance and threaten any city allying with them. There is to be a demonstration of its power -I’m to change its target using its ground base.

At the end of the mission I change the coordinates to destroy a WEC military base.

The Sergeant has learnt that our Captain is still alive and sheduled for execution so I’m sent off to rescue him.

Shortly after starting the mission, I intercept a call from our Sergeant and discover that she was the traitor all along.

I discover that Brookes is imprisoned here so my mission changes to having to rescue her instead.

This is a much harder mission and loses the linearity of the others. I do have to work from one area to another using keycards but these new areas are all over the map so its a challenge to figure out where to go next. I make it to Brookes in the end.

As ever there is a convienient teleport right outside and Brookes knows the code as she could see from her cell.

Before I get back to the HQ, I get a message from Maxis himself. My next mission is going to be to teleport onto a space station and hijack one of the craft on it. I’m then to use this to get to the Vigilence platform.

Rebel HQ is a mess and there is only me and Brookes who are left alive. I could just step on the teleport and leave but I have a look around and kill of the WEC guards. There is a bit of loot around, especially in Weasels crate.

The space station is by far the best guarded area so far. There is a new type of security bot armed with plasma guns and a lot of the guards have these guns also. Admitedly these aren’t as nasty as rockets but they hurt a lot when near enough every guard has one.

I find an area with the space ships at the end and climb into one of them.

There is a cutscene showing me landing on the station.

And then another scene showing the chairman giving our ex-sergeant her final ultimatum if she doesn’t manage to kill me off now.

Maxis gives me a short brieing – I have to go to level 7 and destroy the guidance system.

I’m facing the same level of opposition as in the last mission but I don’t have that much trouble getting to the target and blowing it up. There are a lot of recharging stations on this mission, in compensation for the inability to restock after the last one.

I’m not done yet. Maxis gets back to me wanting me to destroy the whole station now by taking out its cooling system.

By this stage I’m getting everything the game has to throw at me – loads of troops with rocket launchers and equal numbers of security bots. I don’t need to conserve ammo though so I just stick to my rocket launcher for this part of the game which takes anything out in a couple of hits.

I destroy the cooling system. Now I just have to get off here as quick as I can.

On the way out I bump into the sergeant. Now I’ve ruined her career with both the resistance and WEC she is going to use all the money she has earnt to retire to some backwater. First she plans to take care of me. She isn’t the most likely candidate for a boss at the end of a game but is tougher than she looks.

She has some sort of cloaking shield. I try using tactics for this fight and rolling to avoid her plasma gun and pick her off slowly but it gets me nowhere. In the end I just slug it out toe to toe with her while firing off rockets as fast as I can and using up all my energy and health packs. This works well and she goes down in seconds. I grab her keycard and take the last escape pod out of here.

The station blows up, I return to Earth but the chairman threatens in a message on the way back to hunt me down once the mess is sorted out.

I’ve probably been overly critical of this game on the way through. It definitely improved and got more complex as it went on and is well worth playing. It desevered a sequel less than Cybermage and especially Bioforge but I’m still quite looking forward to playing No Regret. There was hardly anything in any of the levels that stood out for me though – they all used the same elements leaving me nothing in particular to write about. This is stopping it from being a classic in my book, but it was an exceptionally well made game for its time and far better than it should have been. Its definitely been more entertaining than playing the last game to use this engine.

Next: Wing Commander 4

Day 173

I’m paired  up with Brooks on Mission 6. She still doesn’t trust me but goes along with the plan.

This level consists of having to find loads of keycards and teleport codes and to move between new areas. Every message on each computer ends with “Have a nice day”.

The only notable new thing here are these glass partitions which I can shoot my way through for surprise attacks.

I find the Senator pretty quickly. He tries to bribe his way out of it but I shove him onto the nearest teleporter and he is whisked off to central. I return straight to our local hq.

The senator must have talked as my next mission is going to be blowing up a load of nerve toxin.

The news reports a new WEC space station which will be used supposedly for quarantine and disease research – I can see a link to Operation Vigilence on the way myself.

I’m informed that while I was gone Central search the whole base but didn’t find what they were after.

Theres a new enemy on mission 7, a humanoid robot. These take a few hits and also don’t drop anything useful after I’ve destroyed them.

There is another new type of sentry robot, these things fire rockets and are lethal.

I run into a soldier with a rocket launcher also – you simply can’t afford to take a hit from a rocket in this game so I have to use my rolling to get out of the way in a similar manner to strafing in Doom.

At the end of the level I find the toxin chamber and plant my bomb. The WEC physically cut off all the teleporter pads, trapping their own people in their but I can still escape through the one I came in on.

Theres a nice cutscene of the base exploding and I return to HQ. My next mission is to rescue the informer I met a couple of times earlier in the game. He has been found out and is held awaiting execution while he finishes off some project he was working on.

I’m a lot more popular in the bar now that we’ve blown this place up. The news claims that the mushroom cloud was merely remnants of a firework display to celebrate victories over the rebels.

After breezing through the previous few missions things get a lot tougher on Mission 8. There are security cameras and laser beams all over. I never worried about setting these off too much before but this time they usually release a security bot armed with rockets.

There are a lot of these black armored soldiers, quite a few of who have rocket launchers. Getting past these takes a bit of trial and error to figure out the safest places to attack.

The scenery is much the same – I do discover a secretish area full of missiles.

Right at the end I find the scientist I’ve been looking for. There is a teleport right in his cell which looks convenient.

The teleporter has been compromised though and the scientist gets turned into mush. I have to backtrack to another teleporter to escape.

There is a cutscene showing the escaped/released senator meeting up with the president. The president has had enough of his failures and offers him “early retirement”.

My next mission is an espionage one where I have to spy on a meeting of the presidents. I’m guessing this means I won’t be allowed to set off any alarms.

There are rumours in the bar about what happened with the teleporter and my popularity is back where it was again with Brooks. Reaves swears it was nothing he did.

I’m just over halfway through this game now. I still haven’t got bored with it although I wouldn’t say I’m exactly clamouring for more either. Just enough new is being gradually introduced to maintain my interest and the levels do all have a different feel to them.  The acting has gotten better and the cutscenes are definitely adding to things. I don’t reckon I will ever look at this as the classic that it is for some people but I can see where they are coming from. I’d just prefer something a little more cerebral myself but things are getting more challenging so I’m hopeful that the gameplay will continue to pick up in the next few missions.

Day 172

Mission 5 plays much the same as ever. There are some new enemies – some sort of black troopers. They aren’t any tougher than any others I’ve faced and they have the habit of dropping energy cubes to recharge my shield so this level is easier than any I’ve faced before. I usually walk around with the maximum of 10 energy cubes and medkits and just use them when I find them to make space for the new one.

I go up and down lifts quite a bit on this mission and get to yet another lift where everything stops until the informant I met earlier comes out with another keycard for me.

I have to use a big holographic table in one of the labs to get the chip specs. Reeves downloads these with the colonel watching his every move over his shoulder.

I get back to base  via a teleporter in the corridor outside – my next mission is to kidnap Senator Snell himself. The WEC is stockpiling nerve toxin and the senator is rumored to have details of this.

Reeves is in the bar and is a bit suspicious about why he was being watched so closely during the data transfer. There is a traitor around somewhere but no real clues as to who it is yet.

This mission only took 30 mins but I’m short on time today. With the better weaponry the game seems to be getting easier. I’ll have more time tommorow and should get a few missions done then if I keep going at this rate.

Day 171

Mission 4 involves taking down a WEC relay/communications station to help the resistance transport food to the needy.

I wander about lost for some time. There is a room here with a force shield which I can’t get through. What I don’t realise for ages is that I’m supposed to walk up to it to trigger a cutscene – I’d just assumed I needed to find a switch somewhere.

The cutscene shows Andrews dropping the shield for me but we’ve been set up and he gets shot and dies less than convincingly.

There hasn’t been a whole lot new in this level – it would be unfair to say everything looks exactly the same but it does all feel much the same to play through. I do find an executive area of the building with fancy tables + some guys in suits.

It’s actually possible to fail the level by getting to the exit teleport without blowing up my target. This is quite easy to do since I have no idea which direction to go at any time but I find what I’m looking for in the end.

One blastpack later and most of the equipment in the room blows up.

The captain congratulates me and lets me know that Andrews dieing wasn’t my fault but that not everyone else will believe me. He’s right enough and I get the usual abuse at the bar. There aren’t as many people to talk to as usual though – probably due to alternate cutscenes for the failure path.

I get my next mission briefing which is a secret operation to get the plans to a new WEC chip called Cipher.  This chip is being used to create unbreakable code which is why we need it.

I’m warming to this game a bit more now and despite my misgivings at first, there seems to be enough to it to keep things interesting. I’m getting an increasing set of options regarding weapons, shields and the like I can buy from Weasel and the last mission had loads of little secret areas to discover. There are plenty of different ways to handle each situation which helps to keep it fresh. This still isn’t the sort of game I could sit down and play for hours and get truly immersed in but as a quick bit of mindless entertainment it fits the bill well enough.  Its definitely not skimping on quantity – I’ve spent longer on this than I did on Bioforge and I’m only 1/4 of the way through now. I can see me taking all week to finish this one up.

Day 170

My second mission plays out much the same as the first. I find an energy equivalent of the health stations which partially recharges my energy. This energy seems to be just used for my shield and I lose less health while I have some energy left for each hit.

There are some simple puzzles built into some rooms such as this one where I have to walk on a series of raised plates to lower them down into the floor. There is nothing more complicated than the sort of thing you might have seen in a game like Doom.

I do find a new way to die by stepping on a faulty teleporter.

When I get near to a teleporter I get a message from another resistance member who is clearing the way for me that he has set me up to teleport near to where I need to be.

Its a short trip from there to the prison cells complete with captured rebels.

As soon as I find the prisoners Reaves in on the comm telling me he has set up a teleport to take them to.

I look around for a switch to release the prisoners and run into the WEC’s doctor.

This guy has been performing some sort of experiments on the prisoners but I don’t find out what. He says the prisoners won’t be any use to me in the state he has left them then ducks behind a forcefield and runs off.


On his way out he presses a button and a gun pops out the floor to kill all the prisoners.

I chase after him and manage to find one prisoner still left alive and we teleport out together.

My next mission is going to be to try to get the plans of one of the security bots.

The level looks much the same but is set up as a factory with some moving conveyors and the like.

There is just enough new to keep it fresh with things like this light bridge where I have to time a jump across the moving gap.

I work down a level via some giant lift and get a message from my rebel chum who is clearing the way for me again.

This level is another keycard hunt with several of them spread around the place. They are also turning out security bots which can be a bit of a pain. I run away as much as possible and in the end shut down production by blowing up some generators.

I find the plans and head out by the nearby teleporter.

I get a cutscene now showing all the head honchos at the WEC discussing Operation Vigilence (whatever that is) which is going to be put into practice very soon. I’ll no doubt hear more on this later. The doctors experiments form some part of it – I’m expecting some sort of cyborg at this point but I can’t say I remember the plot after however many years.

I’ll leave mission 4 for another day. I’ve not seen a lot new in todays missions but the formula hasn’t gotten stale quite yet. This does look like being one of those games that isn’t quite as good as you remember when you go back to it though. It does have possibly the worst acting I’ve even seen in an interactive movie (which is a redeeming feature in my book) but I have to get through some lengthy levels to get to it.  The gameplay is quite good – its just all a bit too similar so far.   There certainly isn’t much for me to write about so expect some short posts over the next few days.