The Let's Play Archive

Wing Commander III & Standoff

by Ilanin

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Original Thread: Choose your own Apocalypse! Let's Play Wing Commander III!

If you liked this LP, you might also like Wing Commander by ivantod, Romancing SaGa 3 by Garin and Dungeon Keeper by Tithin Melias

Introduction



Continuing the story of Wing Commander and Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi, ably let's played by ivantod and now archived, and then taken up by the novel Wing Commander: End Run, we have this stunning double bill:


and


I have never heard of this strange 'Wing Commander' thing you speak of
The original Wing Commander was a groundbreaking space combat "simulation" released in 1990, with (for the time) stunning visuals and at least part of an attempt at a storyline with supporting characters, something which was strongly developed over the expansion packs and because a hallmark of the series. Wing Commander III, having been released during the FMV era, might be one of very few games that actually merits the title "interactive movie", with a starfighter game alongside a passably well-written/performed sci-fi storyline.

I knew that, but I've never heard of Standoff...
Standoff is a fan-made mod of Wing Commander: Secret Ops, the last Wing Commander game that was a full-on 3D starfighter sim (ie, not the slightly strange X-Box Live title Wing Commander Arena). It has the rare distinctions amongst fan-made games of both having been finished, and actually being pretty good (certainly much better than Secret Ops, which is pretty dire). A fuller explanation is available in this video. (Youtube)

Where can I get it?
Wing Commander III (and its predecessors) are available on GOG. Wing Commander III costs $5.99, as does the package deal for Wing Commander I and II. More recently, Wing Commander IV, Privateer, and Privateer 2 have also been released. Standoff can be downloaded for free, from its website http://standoff.solsector.net/.

So why should I watch your shitty LP rather than just playing the game?
This way is a lot less effort. For Standoff, the game does have a bit of an issue of having been designed by and for Wing Commander nerds, both in terms of its difficulty and the way the storyline is presented. I'm hoping to make things a bit more accessible - I guess that makes this a skilled/informative LP. I'll be discussing tactics for each mission as well as how the game fits into the Wing Commander storyline, excerpting sections from the novel Fleet Action (which Standoff is based on) to try and round out the plot in more detail. For Wing Commander III, I'm trying to bring a slightly different game to you than the one most people will be familiar with. Instead of the default difficulty level, Ace, I'll be playing on the hardest difficulty, Nightmare (as I did with Standoff). This actually changes the game rather substantially, as I'll be explaining in the first few videos.

Will there be much reader interaction in this LP?
Some. The actual amount might vary as I try and find the right balance. There's a lot of dialogue choices and ship/loadout choices in the game, and if I let the thread do all of them we'd never finish. Currently, we're working on one choice per mission/update, though that choice (in the thread) can often affect more than one of my choices (in the game). Usually the choice is a dialogue choice, though if there's nothing interesting it'll be a ship/wingman choice. The way this will work is that I'll do the cutscenes as an SSLP, then once you've made your choice I'll do another update containing usually three videos - the cutscenes with the options you chose, the mission briefing and the actual mission.

Can you do me a quick plot summary?
Sure. To understand the game, all you need to know is 1) that the year is 2669, humanity has spread amongst the stars, formed an interstellar government known as the Terran Confederation (colloquially "Confed") run into an aggressive feline race called the Kilrathi (colloquially: "cats"), and has been at war with them for almost 30 years now, 2) we're Christopher Blair, hotshot pilot and until very recently CAG (Commander, Aerospace Group) of the TCS Concordia, one of the heaviest ships in the Terran Fleet. We've recently spent some down-time recuperating from injuries after we were forced to eject helping to turn back a Kilrathi strike at Earth, and we're now returning to the front lines. 3) As you might surmise from the fact that the Kilrathi were able to attack Earth, the war is going kind of badly.

Can you do me a longer plot summary?
Sure. See the next post. That gets you the plot from the start of the Terran-Kilrathi War up to the start of Standoff, and then the Standoff LP does the rest. To summarise what happened in Standoff so you don't have to watch the LP if you're just here for Heart of the Tiger (I'd kind of prefer it if you joined me for Standoff, though): There is a peace treaty between the Terrans and the Kilrathi; the former disarm, the latter use the time to finish a secret fleet they'd been building and then attack. Confed just about manages to reactivate enough of their fleet in time to stop the Kilrathi advance at Earth, through the expedient of boarding the cats' new carriers using Marine shuttles and planting bombs on the inside, since they don't have enough torpedoes to do the job conventionally. However, there is fairly extensive damage to Earth, where over a dozen cities are hit by antimatter warheads, and even more so to several colonies (including in the heavily populated Sirius system), turned into radioactive wastelands by Strontium-90 laden nukes.

Can you give me a link so I can skip Standoff and get straight to the first WC3 update?
Sure. Here it is

List of mission updates:

Introduction
Nexus Sweep, Nexus System, Gemini Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Jump Point Run, Nexus System, Gemini Sector (Story and Gameplay)
Finding the Rock, Capella System, Gemini Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Striking Distance, Capella System, Gemini Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Storming the Rock, Capella System, Gemini Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Sabre Pursuit, Capella System, Gemini Sector (Story and Gameplay)
Unresolved Issues (A), New Detroit System, Gemini Sector (Story) (Cutscene).

END OF EPISODE ONE.

Family Reunion, Oxford System, Gemini Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Mastif Patrol, Mastif System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
First Engagement, Mastif System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay only, no story)
Ralatha Strike, Mastif System, Sol Sector (Story and Gameplay)
Sparrow (A), Weslyn System, Sol Sector (Story and Cutscene)

END OF EPISODE TWO

Battle of Verdun, Warsaw System, Vega Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Lashing Out, Warsaw System, Vega Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Rearguard Action, Warsaw System, Vega Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Destroyer Rescue, Warsaw System, Vega Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Making Peace (A), Sirius System, Sol Sector (Story and Cutscene)

END OF EPISODE THREE

Clearing the Path, Sirius System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Torpedo Delivery, Sirius System, Sol Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Moskva's Endgame, Sirius System, Sol Sector (Story) (Bonus Nitpicking) (Gameplay)
Skinning Cats, Sirius System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Looking for Leyte, Sirius System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay) (Bonus Video)
Tactical Withdrawal, Sirius System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)


END OF EPISODE FOUR

Final Showdown, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story and Cutscene)
First Encounters, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Wild Weasel, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Heating Up, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Sacrifice, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Fleet Action, Sol System, Sol Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Charge of the Leathernecks, Sol System, Sol Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Big Damn Ending, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story) (Gameplay)
Next Year in Kilrah!, Sol System, Sol Sector (Story and 'Winning' Ending) (Bonus Easter Egg)

END OF EPISODE 5 - WINNING PATH

Rearguard Duties, Luyten System, Sol Sector (Story and Gameplay)
Rescue Run, Cygnus System, Sol Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Too Much Company, Cygnus System, Sol Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
Middle of Nowhere, Talos System, Sol Sector (Gameplay and Story)
Grand Entrance, Sol System, Sol Sector(Gameplay only, no story)
Flight of the Arrow, Sol System, Sol Sector(Gameplay and Story)
Armageddon, Sol System, Sol Sector (Gameplay only, no story)
A Long Way to Kilrah, Sol System, Sol Sector (Standoff Epilogue, Middle and Losing Endings)

END OF WING COMMANDER: STANDOFF



Prologue
Cast of Characters
Orsini System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 1 (Gameplay)
Orsini System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Orsini System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Orsini System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 4 (Story)(Gameplay)
Tamayo System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Tamayo System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Tamayo System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story and Gameplay)
Locanda System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Locanda System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Blackmane System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Blackmane System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Blackmane System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Ariel System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Ariel System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Ariel System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Caliban System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) [(Gameplay)
Caliban System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Caliban System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Torgo System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Torgo System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Torgo System, Epsilon Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Loki System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Loki System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay) In which Ilanin does dubious physics
Loki System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Alcor System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (drunk) (Story) (Gameplay)
Proxima System, Sol Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Sol System, Sol Sector, Mission 1 and Losing Ending (Story) (Gameplay)
Alcor System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (sober, mostly) (Gameplay and Story Recap)
Alcor System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Interlude: Alcor System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay) (optional mission the thread chose not to do, no commentary)
Alcor System, Vega Sector, Mission 4 (Story) (Gameplay)
Freya System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Freya System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Freya System, Vega Sector, Mission 3 (Story) (Gameplay)
Hyperion System, Vega Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Hyperion System, Vega Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Freya System, Vega Sector, Mission 4 (Story) (Gameplay)
Kilrah System, Kilrah Sector, Mission 1 (Story) (Gameplay)
Kilrah System, Kilrah Sector, Mission 1 without wingmen (featuring Jade Star as guest commentator) (Gameplay)
Kilrah System, Kilrah Sector, Mission 2 (Story) (Gameplay)
Bonus Update - Wingman Death Comms
Kilrah System, Kilrah Sector, Mission 2 without wingmen (featuring Jade Star as guest commentator) (Gameplay)
Kilrah System, Kilrah Sector, Mission 3 without wingmen (featuring Jade Star as guest commentator) and Winning Ending (Story) (Gameplay)
Epilogue

Ships we've flown off:

TCS Lionheart - Gilgamesh-class destroyer (Standoff Episode 1)

Length: 312.11m
Mass: 10,000 tons
Max speed: 250 kps
Cruise speed: 150 kps
Acceleration: Poor
Max Yaw/Pitch/Roll: 2 degrees per second
Armament: 2x Flak Cannon, 2x Anti-Matter Guns
Shields: Phase Shields
Armour: 250 cm durasteel fore/aft; 200 cm durasteel port/starboard
Fighter Complement: One squadron

TCS Firekka - Wake-class escort carrier (Standoff Episodes 2-5)

Length: 405.75m
Mass: 17,050 tonnes
Max Velocity: 240 kps
Weapons: Seven turrets, types not listed. In End Run there is a neutron turret, two mass driver turrets and at least one laser turret on the TCS Tarawa.
Shields: Phase Shields
Armour: Not listed. It takes three torpedoes to down the Firekka.
Fighter complement: Three squadrons

TCS Victory - Yorktown-class light carrier (Heart of the Tiger)

Length: 720 m
Mass: 28,000 tonnes
Max Velocity: 120 kps
Weapons: 11 Dual-Mount Laser Turrets
Shields: 3000 cm Durasteel equivalent all sides
Armour: 1000 cm Durasteel all sides
Fighter complement: 40
(image from the Wing Commander Saga team)

Total kills (Wing Commander III): 36 missions / 453 kills
Total kills (this thread): 62 missions / 819 kills
Total kills (including previous thread): 170 missions / 1726 kills


Kills breakdown (Standoff): 50 pirate fighters, 296 Kilrathi fighters including 2 Aces and Prince Thrakhath, 10 Kamekh-class corvettes, 1 Ralatha-class destroyer, 6 Targu-II class frigates, 1 Fralthra-class cruiser, 2 Snakeir-class carriers, 1 Hakaga-class supercarrier.
Kills breakdown (WC3): 413 Kilrathi fighters including 4 Aces, Flash (in simulator), 3 biomissiles, 1 transport, 17 Kamrani-class corvettes, 7 Ralarrad-class light destroyers, 4 Ralaxath-class heavy destroyer, 1 Fralthi-II class cruiser, 3 Bhantkara-class carriers, Hyperion II (planet), Kilrah (planet).

Other major Kilrathi losses I can't claim personally: Loki VI (planet), 3 Hakaga-class supercarriers, 3 Snakeir-class carriers, 1 Bhantkara-class carrier, 5 Fralthra-class cruisers, 1 Rigakh-class cruiser, 3 Fralthi II-class cruisers, 10 Ralatha-class destroyers, 6 Ralarrad-class light destroyers, 17 Targu-II class frigates.

Major Terran losses (that actually happened onscreen): TCS Moskva, Concordia-class carrier, TCS Behemoth, Behemoth-class monitor.
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