Wing Commander II RetrospectiveSubmitted by Earok on Mon, 06/07/2010 - 00:13
I had planned to be productive this weekend. I was going to do my blog posts for the week, tidy everything up, sort the bills, reply to outstanding emails, do some more XNA tutorials etc.
Yet, for some reason I felt compelled to play Wing Commander II. I had it on an old Creative Labs OEM CD and thanks to the magic of DosBox I was able to play it again for the first time in perhaps a decade or more.
(Incidentally, I found out that the D-Fend Reloaded utility is the best way to play games through DosBox. Not only does it include DosBox in the install, but has profiles for automatically configuring 1000s of games).
So, long story short, Wing Commander II ate my weekend (Fortunately Monday is a public holiday!). I was hooked until about an hour ago, when I finally managed to play the game through start to finish. I was really surprised that such an old game held my attention for longer than any modern titles in recent memory.
Just so that the experience wasn't a complete waste of time, I thought I might share my thoughts on the game.
- Old games really can be just as immersive as newer ones, even if the poorer graphics and sound makes it harder to suspend disbelief.
- The missions of the game are relatively short (On average less than five minutes playtime) yet some of them are still very difficult. The result of this is an addictive 'one more try' hook.
- Even if you fail badly on some missions, the story still continues (Although the player is punished with harder difficulty and a sadder plot). In my opinion, this is a good thing, it's unfortunate that many games will simply not let you continue if you fail an objective.
- It's a perfect example of the 'less is more' concept. There are only a handful of playable spacecraft in the game, but the small number means that each has a unique purpose and gameplay style. This is also true for weapons and enemy spacecraft.
- Although the story had some silly parts, overall it was pretty well told. Every scene kept me interested in learning what was going to happen next, and there wasn't a bland character to be found.
- A major plotline in the game involves the characters attempting to discover which one of their comrades is a murderer. I thought it was really amusing that they named the victim 'McGuffin' since he had absolutely zero relevance to the story otherwise.
- Since it gave me the ability to name the player character after myself, did that mean I was playing it from a second person perspective?