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

Day 107

The first mission today turns out to be the flying down the grand canyon one I was asking for at the end of yesterdays blog. I tell the other pilots its too risky to fly it solo (in other words the a.i. isn’t up to it).

I have to follow the canyon for a while and destroy the base at the end. The canyon is seriously wide so flying down it is really easy and I have the time compression key held down most of the way. Its still a change from any mission previously. Once over, this mission completes the tour and its back to base to pick up more work.

There are a choice of 3 people to talk to. I expect I’ll end up doing all 3 tours anyway, so I choose the new guy of the 3. He is a representative of the IRS. He tells me that Rhode Island is refusing to pay taxes since it considers itself independent of the USA. If we help to fight against them we get $5,000,000 + a contract stating that we will never be audited by the IRS.

There is a lot of grumbling among the pilots about working for the IRS. Virgil (who comes along for the tour) is also a native Rhode Islander and feels like he is betraying his country.

We complete the 3 mission tour and are about to head back when Virgil breaks the news that we have another mission before we go. Destroying a jet containing the director of the IRS. This is a nice payback for being all but forced to fly the previous missions. We still have the contract from the IRS and are untouchable by them even though we just killed their director.

For the next tour its back to California to help in the wars between North and South California over water. I get to fly with members of the California airforce this time who all speak like surfers. Its just a 3 mission tour this time – there is nothing really new although I do get to blow up an aircraft carrier in mission 3.

Next up its the last of the 3 tours I had to pick from. This time I’m going to Germany to help kick the Brits out of a castle. I have to fly against Tornado’s with ace pilots. I manage to crash into the ground on mission 1 while trying to machine gun a tank (probably not a good idea but I didn’t bring any bombs). I’ll try this one again tommorow.

Day 106

My missions in Alaska take me out to sea for the first time and I have to destroy an oil rig. Its not really any different to any other ground target but it has boats around it which shoot back.  

In the final of four missions in Alaska, I have to destroy enemy tanks while avoiding shooting tanks on my side. The only way I know to tell the difference is to see which ones shoot at me. I play through the mission a few times and complete it ok as far as I can tell but its still down as unsuccessful so I give in on this one and return home defeated.

I go back to Selims to get the final of the 3 missions I had to choose from. All I’m choosing is the order I play them in by the looks of things. This one is to go out to Egypt and fly in an air show. Its not well paid but there is no risk.

Of course nothing is that simple and as soon as we get there the Russians launch an attack which we get to repel for a huge payment and we don’t even fly our own planes so there is no expense.

I’m forced to make a manual landing on one of these missions when I get shot and run out of fuel after the final autopilot home. Thankfully this isn’t too difficult. The autopilot lines you up with the runway so its just a matter of not overrunning it.

The Egypt missions go well and I return successful this time. Its off to Selims again – Janet gives me a tip to get a mission off a guy called Walters. There is no one else to speak to so I don’t have a lot of choice in the matter. He wants us to fight in a corporate oil war in California.

When I leave Selims, I’m lured into an alleyway and attacked. As luck would have it Janet comes to the rescue.


The California missions are all based around San Francisco and I get to fly over the city in some of them and even blow up the transamerica building.

The 4 missions we fly for Walters aren’t really too hard compared to whats gone before but he continually misinforms us of the opposition we are up against and even gets us to destroy the wrong target in one mission which doesn’t go down well. He does at least pay up but we grass him up to the CEO of his company and he loses his job over it.

Another tour complete its back to Selims. Prideaux is in his niche and owns up to being the guy who bombed our base which is less than surprising. He tells me that Janet gave us the Walters missions out of guilt, seems she might have been better off with the Wildcats after all if shes going to develop a conscience.

Next up, its off to Arizona where I’m to try to stop Nevada taking over a stretch of the Grand Canyon.

It doesn’t really look much like the real thing but it’s canyon-esque at any rate and reminds me quite a bit of the last mission in Wing Commander 3.

The more I play of this game, the more impressed I am with the game engine which really does put out some amazing visuals for its time. I’m enjoying the game a lot more now I’ve reduced the difficulty and making steady if not speedy progress towards the end. The opposition is more varied than I expected, especially the huge variety of ground targets but in truth, each mission plays nearly identically to the one before. I’m not sure where it would come from but I’d like to see a bit more variety. There is talk of a mission flying down the grand canyon in the manner of the Star Wars trench run which would be a good start if it happens.

Day 105

I go back out to Selims to find a mission and this time all the tables are full giving me a choice of missions. I choose the guy at the back who offers me a mission in Quebec, helping out the government against the rebels. The rebels have recruited a rival squadron (the hammerheads) who will be better equipped than anyone I’ve been up against.

The first mission, is a simple one and I just have to destroy some planes. In the next I have to blow up their base. This proves to be a lot more difficult. I seem to end up going round and round in the dogfights trying to get a Mig into my gunsight and every time I’m about to do so it speeds up and I have to catch it again.

I make it through to do the bombing a few times but its taking me about 20 minutes to shoot down the 3 Migs and I mess up the bombing run and run out of ammo. This painfully slow progress gets to me after about 2 hours spent on this and I’ve still only completed the one mission so I’ve decided to drop the difficulty level of the game a notch.

As soon as I do this things get a lot simpler. I can get on someones tail with a lot more ease and I seem more likely to hit. I’d prefer to have stuck it out at the higher level but this is a lot more fun so I’m going to stick with it for now.

We don’t seem to want to give the hammerheads a break and next mission we take out their cargo planes. These are the equivalent of cap-ships I guess but these ones at least have no firepower and are sitting ducks once their escorts and destroyed.

That completed this tour (every one seems to be 3 missions). I’ve accepted another now to help out in the oil wars in Alaska but since it took me 2 1/2 hours to do these 3 missions I’ll leave them for tommorow.

Day 104

The mission stopping a plane from landing sounded like an interesting one but the moment we get there Janet decides to just blow it up so it turns into a straight dogfight. Janet is reprimanded once again when we land and decides to leave the wildcats.

Its back to Selims. Stern has already gotten us another mission but he wants me to meet Prideaux – the leader of the Jackals (who Janet has now joined). They used to be friends but this guy is the complete opposite and will now fly any mission for the money.

We fly off to the Andes for our next mission helping to support the government here against an invasion. We provide air support for their forces. After the second mission our base is attacked. We scramble to protect it while Stern goes off to collect our payment for the first mission.

When we land, Stern is on the radio. He gets shot down by a wing of fighters leaving me in charge. We go on a unpaid revenge mission to destroy a nuclear facility.

After completing the mission we head back home for another nasty shock.

The base has been attacked in our absence leaving us short of planes and funds.

There is a funeral for Stern and its now up to me to make sure the wildcats recover from this double blow.

I’m still struggling to hit things in these missions although I’ll admit I’m getting better. It seems like a slow process to actually kill anything and I’m finding that my missiles hardly ever hit. Bombing is equally slow and I struggle to tell the difference between destroyed and live targets until its too late to release the bomb. Despite all this I am racking up the kills so I must be doing something right.

There has been very little variation in the missions and I can’t imagine that I will see anything new in the rest of the game. I’ll no doubt fly against different fighters but since I never get close enough to really see them, I can’t imagine I will notice the difference. Its not boring to play (yet) but it doesn’t leave me much to write about here.