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.

Day 78

I completed the mission I failed on last night without any major problems and we make it to the Ayer’s System 

Paladins mole in the Mandarins is still on Ayers Rock and contacts us to update us on the situation. Apparently we have been spotted and they are sending ships to investigate. We go out to eliminate these fighters before they can report back.

We get information that all the Mandarin leaders are on Ayers Rock at the moment and destroying it would take out the whole movement. We have other problems first though. The next mission involves dogfighting with wings of 4 Sabres + a couple of Fralthra complete with the same super accurate giant gun that we saw at the end of SO1. This is the hardest mission of the game without a doubt but mainly due to the Sabre’s rather than the Fralthra. The mace nuke weapon takes out anything in a single hit so I can take one of the cap ships out just by afterburning in to get close, firing it off then getting out asap. My rear shields take a hit but build back up fast enough. It only takes a few attempts, most of the missions in SO1 were probably this hard.

The Concordia is tied up with Kilrathi of its own leaving just us to attempt to take out Ayers Rock if we are going to do it before the leaders are all gone.

This is the obligatory “impossible” mission for the end of the game it seems but it really isn’t hard and I complete it first attempt. There are a load of Sabres to deal with once more but I got the hang of fighting these in the last mission.

That just leaves Ayers Rock itself. I use the mace and it goes down in a single hit.

There is a quite nice cutscene showing the Concordia taking out a cap ship with its main gun after the mission although this does seem a bit superfluous to the main plot.

We get a message from Minx. Jazz is still alive and I get another mission after all trying to track him down.

Maniac’s drive fails after takeoff and I get left to fly the mission on my own.

Jazz is in a morningstar himself but this sort of 1 on 1 combat is easier than flying against 4 sabres anyday.

He soon blows up and this time doesn’t eject in time. I land and we get the final cutscene.

I’ve not been overly impressed if I’m honest with this mission pack. It’s way too short and easy to have been good value for money. The storyline isn’t great either. Jazz wasn’t worth bringing back as a villain and the idea that the Mandarins are now a huge organisation with fleets of Sabres and their own bases is just daft. Also, I don’t like cliffhanger endings on the whole and this isn’t any different. They don’t bother me in hindsight if we get a sequel and I can go and play it but if you have to wait years its a different matter. I’ve seen too many games end with a cliffhanger never to get a sequel – it almost seems to be the best way to kill off a franchise. Thankfully that didn’t happen here and I’ve got a whole string of Wing Commanders still to go.

That brings me to the halfway point of this blog – 30 games gone and 30 to go. Next: Ultima 7

Day 77 – Wing Commander 2 : Special Operations 2

This is the second and last mission pack for Wing Commander 2. It starts out with a new intro sequence recapping the capturing of Jazz from the end of WC2.

This then switches into a courtroom with another full speech scene. If you thought the acting in the original Wing Commander was bad believe me this is worse. The court is court-marshalling Jazz and finds him guilty.

Jazz chipes in about how history will judge him and history will be written by the Kilrathi.

We then cut to some other anonymous traitor discussing the Morningstar project with the Kilrathi.

The first mission starts with my leave being interupted to escort Jazz’s prison ship to his execution.

Before I get there the ship gets hijacked by traitors and in the ensuing battle escapes. The first thing to note is the game runs much more smoothly than any of its predecessors. The annoying autopilot lag has gone also. I can hike the speed up in Dosbox and it translates into smoother rather than faster gameplay so there were clearly some engine improvements in this pack.

Jazz escapes and sends me a personal message. He wasn’t really the best villain and I’m unconvinced it was worth bringing him back but he looks like he will be the baddie for this set of missions.

Amid rumours about a new confed fighter Maniac shows up for the first time since SM2. He’s now in charge of a test group called the Wild Eagles of pilots he has taught to fly like him. They are here to test out the new fighter called the Morningstar.

There are still problems with the morningstar jump drive and I have to go and rescue one of the pilots, Captain Grimaldi (Minx).  

We get a brief introduction after I rescue her.

I get my first look at the morningstar in the next mission, just watching Maniac test jump. It looks very much like a typical jet fighter.

Paladin shows up again with some news of the Mandarins leaking the morningstar details to the Kilrathi.

The Mandarins have a base called Ayers Rock which we are trying to track down.

I get introduced to the rest of the Wild Eagles. There is just Maniac, the guy above (whos name I forget!) who speaks Kilrathi, Minx & a maniac clone called Crossbones.

Next mission, there is a booby trap at the final nav point. I have to turn round and afterburn out to avoid being blown to bits.

While I was gone, the Mandarins broadcast some propaganda showing Jazz hijacking some freighters.

Everyone seems to blame me for letting Jazz go except for Minx who seizes the opportunity.

She does, however, leave Angel alone in space and the next mission I have to go and help her get back again.

A trade is set up with the Mandarins, 3 of their prisoners in return for the crews of the freighters. I fly escort for this mission.

While I’m gone another bomb goes off on the flight deck and Minx disappears with the Morningstar.

Next mission I get to fly the morningstar for myself at last as we go out to try to get Minx back again.

It has the most unusual weapon to date (a tactical nuke). I’ve not found too much use for this yet. It doesn’t lock on and travels very very slowly. You can set it off with cannons however. It seems like it will be most use against cap ships.

The broadsword is pretty must the best fighter of the game at any rate. It has 3 particle cannons mounted very close together in the middle so you can hit with all 3 at once + very strong shields. The armor is useless on the downside.

We don’t track Minx down as she got lucky and her jump drive worked. Paladin has located Ayers rock however and I’m finally back in Special Ops again.

Crossbones died in the bomb blast + Talon was injured. With Minx gone also Maniacs squadron is gone and he is recruited to join the Special Ops alongside me and Paladin.

We fly out to join Paladin in his new ship. It has some sort of cloaking to hide the morningstars. The overall mission is basically to get to Ayers Rock and blow it up. I got this far and the next mission we have to jump into position nearer Ayers rock but I got blown up and called it a night.

I’m about 3/4 of the way through this game and that was the first mission which I haven’t completed on my first attempt. I expect its going to get harder for the last few missions but its just been far too easy up to now. Anyone who completed SM1 will breeze through this in no time.  Even the mission I failed was more down to bad luck and I don’t expect any problems with it next time. It only took around an hour to get this far and if it doesn’t get harder I’ll need about another 20-30 mins to finish.