When Origin first made Wing Commander they also released a limited special edition which came with a baseball cap but also some extra missions. They decided to release these extra missions as an add-on sold directly by Origin and then eventually retail at Chris Roberts request. Its the first add-on pack Origin released although they had obviously thought about it before with Knights of Legend.
Whereas Wing Commander had a branching mission structure with lose paths this pretty much just had one set of missions + a couple you would go to if you ever lost. Most people would just play the winning route anyway – the other missions were kind of wasted effort in my view although I guess they added a bit of longevity if you deliberately lose to get to them.
You can import your charcter over – this doesn’t make much difference. It just has the full number of kills (minus the final mission).
The intro is unchanged but I get a new option at the start menu.
And the game starts straight in the bar as usual. Apparently, the tigers claw has been making a lot of jumps but no one knows why.
I also hear some rumours about a captured human cap ship the Kilrathi have been using in ambushes.
Apparently the Kilrathi are attacking the Goddard colony.
The first mission puts me back in the games most underpowered ship. The enemy count isn’t that low though – this starts out pretty tough right from the beginning. There is nothing new to speak of however.
I get another promotion on my first mission. I’m guessing this rank was added to SM1.
When we get to Goddard we find the whole place has been wiped out.
Apparently the Kilrathi used some new super weapon.
The premise is that we must follow this ship into Kilrathi space and destroy it.
The missions are seriously difficult with overwhelming numbers every time. This is reflected in the between mission cutscenes where the pilots are all on edge and Maniac is apparently losing it.
In one mission you have to escort a captured Dralthi back to the Tigers Claw. This is a bit different but nothing is made of it and you never hear anything once the mission is completed.
Some good news is that the weapon used on Goddard is apparently useless on anything that moves.
In another mission, I’m sent to help out a ship that has wandered into enemy space.
This turns out to be the captured cap ship and when I get to the nav point, I’m attacked by a wing of rapiers. These can blow you up in about 2 hits and I have to face about 5 or 6 at once. This is fairly typical of the difficulty level – I often end up just taking out the mission critical cap ships and afterburning out to get through.
Another mission has me taking out a supply depot (the equivalent of the final mission in Wing Commander) only this time I’m only in a Scimitar + I have a couple of other cap ships to take out on the way. This one takes a few attempts.
but I get there in the end.
Eventually we track down the Kilrathi secret weapon which is code-named the Sivar. There follows a string of missions in which we have to take out one supply capship after another in an attempt to strand it.
A lot of blown up capships later we find the Sivar. This final mission of the game is not exactly easy again. On the way in you have to take out a Fralthi with a couple of waves of ships, there are 3 waves of 6 ships guarding the Sivar. I take them all out and then the claw is under attack by another 4 ships on the way back. I take all but one out and the claw crashed into me and I have to try again.
Second time round I use different tactics. I just take out the Fralthi and burn out at Nav 1. I then take out 5 of the 6 ships in the first wave and then take on the Sivar. It takes a lot of hits to take out but I’m not in too much danger with just the one fighter.
When I get back theres a brief congratulations, then the end cutscene kicks in.
Thats the second Wing Commander in a row I’ve finished in one session. This had fewer missions but definitely took longer due to the greater difficulty. The storyline actually came across better in this game than the original – you had a definite aim in tracking down the Sivar and the missions lead up to that. The missions in Wing Commander just felt tacked together with an arbitrary cutscene every now and then, that didn’t really relate to what I’d been doing.
The difficulty level was probably pitched better also. I’d say Wing Commander was a bit too easy on the whole although by the end of this it was getting a bit silly. I really hope that Secret Missions 2 doesn’t carry on getting harder or its going to be verging on impossible.
Next: The Savage Empire