Friday, July 20, 2007

Wing Commander II: Special Operations 2 - Finished the game

Whew. I have now gone through all of the original Wing Commander games in all their glory. From here on, I played the actual games. Ah, freshman year of college.

Once again, Special Operations 2 continues the story left off by the previous game - Special Operations 1 in this case. At the end of Special Operations, even if you successfully completed the last mission on the winning path, you find out that all you've done was just play into the Kilrathi distraction for they have now gotten a foothold into Deneb sector. Special Operations 2 sees the Concordia (your carrier) heading into Deneb sector to help with its defense. In the first mission, you get to escort the prison ship carrying Jazz to its rendezvous with another prison ship that will take him to earth to be executed. Jazz was the traitor that framed you for the destruction of the Tiger's Claw and got you stuck on a backwater space station for ten years before you finally managed to get another chance to prove yourself and clear your name. So Jazz escapes, of course. The other plot point is that your former shipmate Maniac comes aboard the Concordia with his squadron of test pilots flying the new prototype fighter the Morningstar. Eventually, the society of Mandarin (the group of human - excuse me Terran - traitors working with the Kilrathi) steals a morningstar and you have to track them down to get it back before it gets into the hands of the Kilrathi.

Special Operations 2 really starts to feel like more of the same. The story is a bit better than the first Special Operations and its always nice to see Maniac. His appearance here means he has appeared in every Wing Commander game. The missions aren't particularly special - mostly the same sort of stuff and none of them feel very epic. It is nice when you get to fly the new Morningstar and pretty fun when you use its nuke. Still, there isn't a ton of challenge and I almost felt like I was going through the motions.

The most interesting part of Special Operations 2 is that it ends like the first Special Operations. That is, even when you've gone down the winning path, prevented the Kilrathi from getting a Morningstar, destroyed the rebel base, and killed Jazz, the final scene in the game is the Emporer and his grandson talking about how not getting the Morningstar and the destruction of the rebel base were minor setbacks. They were able to distract the Concordia long enough so that it could not help in the defense of the Deneb sector. The Kilrathi were able to destroy the sixth fleet and the Concordia is forced to retreat. This all makes some sense because through the whole of Wing Commander III the humans - excuse me, Terrans - are losing the war.

So, what now? Playing through Wing Commander III and IV again might be fun, but that would require switching CDs, which last I checked doesn't work in Classic mode of OS X. Wing Commander Prophecy is now the only major series game I haven't played. It was never released on the Mac, but I do have the Game Boy Advance version and that version is mostly true to the original, even if changed to fit the small screen, slower processor, and less storage space. I could also play other games in the Wing Commander universe that I have never played - most prominently Privateer. Or I could play the series that was the biggest competitor for Wing Commander in the space flight sim genre: X-Wing/TIE Fighter. Or I could just move on to something else. We'll see.

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