Day 74

The next mission turned out to be a lot easier than the ones before it. I had to babysit a load of trainee pilots. On the downside this means flying with 4 wingmen none of whom mind shooting me if I’m anywhere near the target but are totally unable to hit what they are aiming at.

The amount of friendly fire is pretty silly so I back off when it gets to the last fighter.

Next mission is to retrieve a Kilrathi data pod with their battle plans so we can change them are get their fleet to strike where we want them. This is another easy mission and I make it through first time.

Next up we go for the fleet itself. The fleet is smaller than expected and go down pretty easy.

It turns out they didn’t entirely fall for the data pod and the fleet is moving in elsewhere.

Paladin says his goodbyes and heads off to track the fleet movement..

but as soon as I take off hes in trouble again so I have to go rescue him.

Some of the Kilrathi seem to be shooting each other for some unknown reason.

As soon as I autopilot in there is an ejected Kilrathi who I tractor in.

I dock with the Bonnie Heather after taking out all the enemies.

And find out I’ve just tractored in Prince Thrakath.

Khasra was attempting to assisinate him and get a step nearer to being emporer.

Khasra comes back and tries to talk us into giving him up. Instead I get sent out in a bomber to fend them off.

As soon as I launch the prince escapes and steals a crossbow.

Somehow he’s already too far away to catch, and heads off to take on the squadron himself. He allegedly doesn’t have a chance on his own even though thats the mission I’ve just been sent out to do myself (on my own).

I set off in pursuit but he jumps out just after I arrive leaving me with about 7 ships to take on at the same time.

This is a pretty tough mission but not too bad as the crossbow makes pretty short work of the medium fighters. The trick is to leave Khasra till last as he takes way more hits to kill.

This just leaves the final mission and I must have spent about 90 minutes trying to complete this one. I have to go out and kill the strike fleet in a Sabre with Hobbes on the wing. I’m met on the way by Bear + wingman also in Sabres. This is a bad sign from the start. The more wingmen, the harder the mission as the wingmen are always useless in this game.

Sure enough they fly into each other, shoot me everytime I get on the tail of a Kilrathi, run into their own missiles or the two Fralthis and are generally not much help. To make matters worse the two Fralthi have some sort of supergun that they are deadly aim with. Whenever I take out the fighters, this keeps getting me killed when I try the torpedo run. If I veer off to avoid it I lose torpedo lock and have to start again.

 Eventually one of my wingmen scores a torpedo hit before getting blown up. I also find out that I can using afterburners avoid the big gun and not quite veer off enough to lose lock most of the time. If I lose lock I play conservitavely and retreat to start again. Also the gun occasionally shoots off in completely the wrong direction so you could if you are patient just wait until it misses before following through with the run.

This was undoubtedly the hardest mission in any Wing Commander to date although having completed it now I reckon I could go back and do it with less trouble now I have the technique to avoid the gun and keep lock so in that sense its pretty well designed. Once completed this mission kicks straight into the end cutscene which I’ve got every screen from below.

So Ghorar Khar was worthless after all. Thats a fairly downbeat ending to set up the next mission pack. I’ve still enjoyed this though – its been the best Wing Commander experience so far. The plot moved around a lot and there was quite a bit of variety to the missions.

Next: Ultima Underworld

Day 73

The difficulty level of this game went through the roof today – I spent going on 2 hours doing another 6 or 7 missions. The one I was on yesterday didn’t prove too hard although I’m really not too keen on Epee’s.

When I get back Angel fills me in on the traitors. They were ordered to kill unarmed Kilrathi transports and rebelled.

They also have a new experimental fighter called a Crossbow. In the next mission I have to go out and meet up with one of the traitors and escort them back to the Concordia.

Its another mission flying Epees against human pilots (in either Epees or Ferrets). This missions are really quite tough – a single hit from an Epee will wipe out my shield, armor and usually break some part of my ship. To add insult to injury my copilots I have to escort back are useless. On one of these missions, I get down to the last ship and then get to see them both crash into each other and kill themselves. I get them back in the end though.

Tolwyn interrogates Bear in the brig. He will pardon the crew of the Gettysburg but there some of the crew have formed a faction against Confed and taken over a space station.

I get the mission to fly on my own to the Gettysburg and try to talk them into rejoining.

I have to kill a lot of humans on the way but this missions pretty easy as I’m in a Sabre this time and I meet up with the Gettysburg.

Talking them round is easy but they have picked up a Confed supply ship on its way to refuel at the station. If it gets there it will be destroyed.

I volunteer to lead the attack on the station and get to fly the new Crossbow for the first time.

The crossbow is a modified Broadsword bomber. It has a couple of extra neutron guns making its firepower truly lethal, although full guns drains the power in no time. It turns a lot faster than the broadsword but still has no afterburner. Against slow targets its a really nice ship but its not that easy taking out Epees in it. My copilots once again seem to delight in crashing into each other on this mission but its not too hard and I manage it without them.

With the Gettysburg back with us again its finally time to actually do what the games title says and go on a special operation.

The Kiltrathi are rebelling on several other planets as well and trying desperately to retake Ghorar Khar to quell the other uprisings by example. Our job is to make sure that doesnt happen. The mission involves Paladin, Hobbes as my gunner + a new character Major Edmunds in communications. First mission we just fly out to Olympus. It looks like I’m flying solo on these missions which is fine by me.

Next mission, I’m escorting a gun runner to meet up with a rebel Kilrathi cruiser.

I then have to escort both ships to a jump point guarded by a couple of small cap ships. Both of these ships fire missiles at me which I have no way of avoiding with no afterburners and no chaffs in the Broadsword. It took a few goes but the only way to get through this is to try to even out the hits between front and back shields. I also get attacked by 6 smaller ships at the same time at the next nav point. This is easier than I’d have expected and I make it through the first time I get that far.

Back at Olympus after the mission, I have a chat with Major Edmund who seems to have a problem with me.

Apparently she caused the destruction of the TCS Kirsk by incorrectly unencoding some transmissions and had 6 months of reconstructive surgery to recover from the attack. I remind her of this because of the stealth fighter business at the start of WC2 so shes taking it out on me. At least she didn’t get 10 years in the security services though.

That puts me about two thirds through the game. These have been some of the hardest missions in any Wing Commander so far but not unfairly so. Once I get the hang of fighting Ferrets/Epees or learn the missions better, I’m getting through each one without too many replays. The storyline and variety of mission is improved on WC2. This really is a close equivalent to SM1 in this respect and is an improvement to WC2. It also uses the same ploy of human opponents so I get to fight a whole new range of fighters without anything new having to be done.

Regarding the slowdowns going into/out of autopilot, I’m still getting the same thing. Whatever the problem is, it gets worse the longer I play for and just gets slower and slower. Restarting the game without exiting Dosbox cures it. A simple solution for me is to exit and start again after I complete each mission which is a little annoying as I have to wait for the MT-32 sounds to upload each time but not too big a deal.

Day 72 – Wing Commander 2 : Special Operations 1

I’ve got a bit of time before work today as I’ve got a load of spare flexi so I decided to get a quick 1/2 hour in on Special Operations 1. This was the first of 2 mission packs for Wing Commander 2 and added a further 20 missions if I remember right.

This time the mission packs get their own intros. We see the emporer being tractored in from the end of WC2 then get a brief cutscene (with full speech) showing the Kilrathi intending to attack Ghorar Khar (again).

My promotion is confirmed and Tolwyn says I will be getting assigned to Special Ops.

These are some sort of secret group that runs top secret impossible missions yet always suceed. Paladin isn’t actually retired at all, I find out but works for this group himself.

Before I get sent on the ops I first have a few missions still on the Concordia. I’m back in a Ferret again for the first few missions which comes as no surprise. Its slightly souped up with a couple of missiles and isn’t actually a bad ship at all. These first few missions aren’t too hard at all. They are based around Pembroke station between 2 sectors as we gradually advance upon the Kilrathi lines.

A few missions in I have to defend the Concordia against an attack by two Fralthi – I don’t get any torpedoes so I just have to take out the fighters. There are some new Gothri fighters – they don’t last long enough for me to get a good look at them though.

The Concordia has to take out the Fralthi itself.

It fires some sort of big pink fireball which takes them out in one hit.

Next mission, I’m in a broadsword with Angel in the rear turret.

This puts me in a minefield which is a bit unfair in a ship this slow – usually I’d afterburn through mines but I don’t have afterburners.

The turrets come in really handy and I make it through. I’m then faced with human pilots in ferrets. These are way too fast for me to take out any other way except using the turrets.

Apparently the pilots are from a mutineering ship. We aren’t supposed to take them out though until we know more about the situation.

Because of this situation, I’m still not sent on the Secret Op with Hobbes. Next mission, I’m in an Epee and run into a load more human pilots in the same ship. We have to take on about 8 at once and in the 1/2 hour I don’t manage this one.

Its a promising enough start to the game overall. The difficulty level is definitely greater, but there is enough new to keep me interested for now and if I’m right about the 20 missions I’m already 1/4 of the way through. One thing I have noticed is that there seems to me a long pause everytime I go into or come out of autopilot which wasn’t in the original. This could get pretty annoying if I’m having to replay a mission a lot but I can live with it for now.