This is the second in Origins Strike series and not a game I’ve especially been looking forward to. It moves the Strike Commander gameplay into the 2nd world war with missions based on an air carrier. At the time the game came out it was much critisized for being unplayable at full detail on pretty much any machine, no matter how expensive. There were also issues with the digital sound being loaded off the drive each time and the game pausing and other gameplay issues. A patch was later released to address the issues but this sort of thing was becoming standard with each major Origin game.
I’m going into this playing the patched version with the optional speech pack and I don’t expect to have performance issues running it in Dosbox. I’d like this to be quite different to Strike Commander though as I’d really had enough of that game by the end.
The intro shows the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbour. My character is stationed there along with his wingman “Jester”.
Our first mission is to defend our base from the attack. The game puts me straight in the action.
On first impressions, the graphics are definitely a notch up from Strike Commander. There is more detail on all the models and more texturing.
I find the options and turn everything to full detail. This adds sky texturing among other things. There are no performance issues and I could crank up Dosbox more if I needed it so whatever performance problems there were at the time are not a there these days.
This being WW2, I don’t have all the missiles that were par for the course in Strike Commander. I also don’t have radar or a little crosshair to help me aim ahead of my enemy so its really back to basics. I score a few hits but I’m not sure I actually manage to take anyone down myself while defending our base.
Between the 2 of us and the flak gun we still take them out and we then get a call from to help defend some of our ships.
There is a lot more detail on the ship models than on anything in Strike Commander. Again, I’m not convinced I’m much help in the fight. Tracking a target is not easy as it just turns into a white crosshair which doesn’t stand out against the background. I make use of the keep eyes locked on target feature to get an idea where I need to turn.
I don’t help a lot but we get the job done and land back at home base.
On landing we get news that we are being transferred to a carrier ship where I expect we will be spending the rest of the game.
After a few brief cutscenes we find ourselves nearing Japan in the middle of the ocean.
Anyone who has played Wing Commander will know what to expect on the carrier. There are a few rooms with people in I can talk to and advance the storyline.
The briefing room is a variant on what we were seeing way back in Wing Commander 1. We are going to attempt to strike back at the Japenese in a mirror of their own Pearl Harbour attack. Our job is to take out an air base.
My plane is waiting for me to board it along with a technician who I can speak to at this point. This is very similar to what I’ll be seeing in Wing Commander 3 when I get that far. There is a nice animation of the ship being lifted onto the deck – this sort of thing must chew up disk space and is more what I’d expect from a CD game.
We have a few planes to take out and then I make a run on the airstrip and shoot a couple of buildings out. Again, I’m don’t contribute a lot to the mission but we get the job done.
We land after the mission and get the usual Wing Commander style debriefing that was missing in Strike Commander.
Next mission is to take out some Japanese boats.
I’ve barely started this today. First impressions are quite good actually for a game I wasn’t looking forward to. It is different enough from Strike Commander to be interesting for now and there looks to have been a lot of effort gone into the production standards. The manual talks of averting the nuclear bombs being used to end the war if you are successful enough and I do like the idea of having alternate histories for WW2 depending on your performance. There are 3 endings – the middle one being what actually happened, but there is also a losing path you can follow.
As for the flying part, I’m undecided for now and am still attempting to get the hang of it. I think this simpler combat may be more my style than Strike Commander was but I’ll hold off on judgement until I get a few missions in.