Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wing Commander The Secret Missions 2: Crusade - Finished the missions

This post mosty contains two things that I meant to write in the previous post (or before that), but forgot to, but I guess it applies to all posts related to the original Wing Commander.

Secret Mission 2 is the first new Wing Commander content I have played. Super Wing Commander contained the same story and missions from Wing Commander and the first Secret Missions but then added a new story of tracking down and destroying the shipyards that created the Sivar instead of including Secret Missions 2 content. I really can't say why they did this and the internet provides no insight. Maybe they didn't want to do hi-res drawing/models of the bird-like Firekka. Whatever the reason, I think I prefer Secret Missions 2 to the extra missions in Super Wing Commander. They provide more of a change of pace (more escort, defense, and reconnaissance rather than all out attack) and set up the story for Wing Commander II better. More of a deal is made of the defecting Kilrathi named Ralgha nar Hhallas. Doomsday and Jazz are introduced better and the character portrait for Jazz makes him look decidedly evil which sets up better for his betrayal in Wing Commander II (When Max told me he was the traitor, I found it hard to believe as Jazz in Super Wing Commander seemed so inoffensive.

One reason why I didn't enjoy the original Wing Commander and Secret Missions as much as I could, besides their sometimes extreme difficulty, was that the awful voice acting in Super Wing Commander completely spoiled some of the characters and story for me. My friend Max redubbed the ship the TCS Morphine after hearing some of characters talk. Shotglass, Iceman, and Colonel Halcyon especially sound like they're on some super-downers and talk... so.... damn.... slow. Spirit is probably the worst of all because she sounds like they asked some American to affect a Japanese accent for her and it sounds so damn wrong and even borderline racist (Research revealed a woman named Christina Sauer did the voice.) Every time I read the dialogue that was given to the voice actors in Super Wing Commander, I can't help but hearing it in the awful voices and awful delivery and just die a bit inside. By not having actually heard any of the dialogue in Secret Mission 2, I can actually sort of appreciate it. It's refreshing.

Secret Missions 2 is also a lot less difficult than the first Secret Missions. There are still missions that I needed to try multiple times, but I always feel like I can get past it with skill, rather than luck. In fact, in Secret Missions, there are some missions where I feel I need good luck in order to get through it while in Secret Missions 2, it is more the case that when I fail I feel that it was bad luck. I actually would have thought that having to fly more patrol/escort missions would make the game harder since defending ships, especially transports, can be a pain, but the missions were all quite doable. One of the big innovations in Secret Missions 2 was that you get to fly a Kilrathi ship. The big let-down for me is that it was a Dralthi. Even upon first playing the game at Max's house, I thought they were the worse ships. Their shields and armor may be better than Salthi ships, but they are much less maneuverable and their pancake-like shape makes them a much bigger target. When Max told me you got to fly one in Secret Missions 2 I answered, "Why a Dralthi?" Anyway, despite still not liking them as a ship, it is a fun gimmick. The missions you fly in them can be difficult, but they are all doable. Definitely taking on two Rapiers (and three Dralthi) in a Dralthi was probably the hardest one, though it still didn't feel as hard as the mission from the first Secret Missions where you take on five of them in a Raptor.

One thing I have yet to mission is that, in my replaying of the Wing Commander series, I am finally playing them right. Well, I guess the most right way to play them would be with some sort of joystick, especially a flightstick-type one. But it seems you definitely want a more analog peripheral and my friend Max used the mouse so that is what I am finally using. When I first got Super Wing Commander, it ran very slowly on my Macintosh LC III and using the mouse just caused a lot of jumpiness. Plus, I probably still only had a one-button mouse at the time. So I used the keyboard so I could at least ensure that each keypress was a fine-grained movement. When I finally upgraded to a PowerPC, Super Wing Commander played fine but I was used to the keyboard so I kept at it. And I did the same thing for Wing Commander III and Wing Commander IV. Plus probably that whole one-button mouse thing. So now I finally am using the mouse to move my ship around the screen and while it isn't necessarily easier than the keyboard, it definitely feels more organic. Plus, it's a lot easier to plug a mouse into my laptop and play than a keyboard.

Now I have finally finished all the content in the first game of the series and it is time to move on to the true missing link that never came out in any form for the the Mac: Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi.

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