The Let's Play Archive

Wing Commander

by ivantod

Part 2: Mission #2: 21 April 2654, Enyo system

Mission #2: 21 April 2654, Enyo system

Previously on Wing Commander: We successfully flew our first mission; met a few of our shipmates and all in all had a good time. The Tiger's Claw is still hanging about the Enyo system and it's time to step up the game (just a tiny little bit this time around)!

As usual, let's start by talking to the people hanging around the bar.

The woman sitting on the left is Spirit, our current wingman. The guy on the right is new, though. Let's see if Shotglass will give us some pointers.

She's a quiet little thing, but she's a heckuva flier. She's rock-steady, follows orders, don't fire till she's sure of her shot. I was always glad to have Spirit on my wing when I was still flying.

Oh well, guess not. We'll have to go and talk to the guy ourselves. Let's see...

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that he might be Australian... Sometimes I'm glad that this game is not voiced, what with all the different accents that they would have to do. Actually they did it in 3DO, Mac and SegaCD versions and the results were... not great, to say the least, especially in the first two.

Spirit 'ere was tellin' me about your tumble with the hairballs. Sounds like you really mixed it up out there. 'At's the way, isn't it, mate? Just you and some hairball, twistin' about, tryin' t'get a missile lock... Formations, uniforms, medals, wingmen ... that's all sheepdip. All a bruce can count on out there is 'imself and 'is missiles.

Hmmm... having a bit of an attitude here, are we? Let's talk to Spirit now, I'm sure she'll turn out to be more of a team player.

If I may say so, you are doing quite well. Colonel-sama is most pleased with your performance thus far. There was no need to praise me before him, though, honorable 2ND LT. The credit for a mission's success is due its leader, not his assistants. I see by your expression that you do not believe me. I assure you I speak what is in my heart.

How many Japanese stereotypes can you possibly put into just a couple of sentences? Oh well, at least she sounds a lot nicer than the other guy.

Character Info

Who are these people? Again with the help of game manual:

Captain Ian St. John ("Hunter")

Captain Ian St. John, or Hunter to the spacecrews, is one of the best pilots in the service, and has racked up an impressive number of kills in the years he has been stationed on the Tiger's Claw. He's known as a seat-of-the-pants flier, and Kilrathi opponents tend to be baffled by his unpredictable, spontaneous flying style.

The 27-year-old native of Brisbane, Australia is sometimes accused of excessive independence and a casual attitude toward regulations. "Maybe so," he explains, "but I'd never leave my wingleader hanging. However, every [expletive deleted] thing we're given - ships, weapons, training, an' standing regs - is there for us to push to the limit, an' maybe a little further, if we're going to get the job done. Notice I say 'push to the limit' an' not 'break.' Maybe there's not much of a difference, but it's usually the difference between dusting a furball an' sucking vacuum."

Yeah, this definitely seems to confirm our first impression of him, no doubt about that. We'll see what it's like when we get to fly with him later on. Also, he's never seen without that cigar, not even in mission briefings!

1st Lt. Tanaka Mariko ("Spirit")

1st Lt. Tanaka Mariko goes by the tag of Spirit - a rough translation of Kami, as she's called by the Japanese pilot instructors responsible for her initial training. In the cockpit, Spirit is known for her deceptive, defensive piloting, her ability to sense and avoid incoming fire, and her habit of creeping in as close as possible to a target before cutting loose with ship's weaponry.

A native of Sapporo on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, Tanaka is a third-generation military pilot. Her father, Major Tanaka Shun (affectionately remembered as Go-Devil), died twenty years ago in the brutal McAuliffe Ambush of '34.

The 24-year-old ace explains, "I did not join the armed forces for revenge. I have no fantasies of personally gunning down the pilot who killed my father. It is a matter of tradition and duty. The tradition is my family's, and the duty is to the Earth... I am often asked if I think of myself as a modern samurai. The answer is no. I am a military pilot, not a feudal retainer. But there is nothing to keep a modern pilot, Japanese or not, from trying to adhere to the best elements of the warrior-codes of the past: The code of the samurai, the code of the knight-errant, any code of honor and service.

Mission Time!

That's all the conversations we can do this time around, so let's get flying!

You'll be escorting a Drayman-class transport to its jumppoint. Computer, display Epsilon. Let's take a look at your flight plan.

Escort it to Nav Point 1... and on to Nav 2, where it will initiate jump sequence. Once its jumped out, you'll return by the most direct route. Remember...your job is to make sure that transport jumps out. I don't want you leaving her to chase down bogies. If the enemy retreats, you stay with the transport. Questions?

Sigh. It had to be snakes, didn't it...

A fighter might navigate it, but a Drayman 'sport would never make it through. Anything else? All right, then. Let's get to work.

Alright then, on this mission we are again flying the Hornet with Spirit, so nothing new there. This is the ship we are supposed to protect, a Drayman class transport:


Class: Transport (configurable as either Freighter or Tanker)
Length: 96 Meters
Mass: 2000 tonnes
Max Velocity: 150 kps
Cruise Velocity: 100 kps
Acceleration: Bad
Maximum Yaw: 2 dps
Maximum Pitch: 2 dps
Maximum Roll: 2 dps
Weapons: Classified
Shields: Fore: 9 cm equivalent; Aft: 9 cm equivalent.
Armour: Front: 8 cm; Right: 6 cm; Left: 6 cm; Rear: 8 cm.

Yes, unfortunately this thing is pretty much a sitting duck and might as well be made of glass for all the protection it has... In some of the later missions it can be really difficult to keep one of these alive. In general, the way capital ship defenses work is pretty much a blunder in Wing Commander 1 in my opinion as it really doesn't make sense that a couple of small fighters can kill a big destroyer in just a couple of minutes. This oversight was very much rectified in Wing Commander 2, where this sort of thing is no longer possible. However, one thing that can sometimes help in this kind of mission is that enemies will tend to focus more on the ship you are supposed to protect rather than on you which can make it a bit easier to hit them as they don't tend to fly around as much.
We didn't encounter any new enemy types this time around! We did get reassigned, though, which means starting with next mission we get a new ship to fly and a new wingman. This marks the end of the first series of missions (Enyo) and we move on down the winning path to the next one.

We also earned our first medal, the Bronze Star! The way it works in Wing Commander is like this: each thing you do in a mission (kill enemy, protect friendly ship, etc.) has a particular numerical score assigned to it. In some of the missions there is a predefined medal you can earn if your score is above a certain limit. In this particular mission, we could have earned the medal even without killing all the enemies ourselves as the limit is fairly low, but in general this will not be the case.

There are three normal tiers of medals, Bronze, Silver and Gold Star, plus two special ones: Medal of Honour, which is kind of a special achievement medal and also the Golden Sun which you get for surviving the destruction of your ship the first time you eject. We are not going to be earning that last one on this particular playthrough.

So here is our medal, proudly displayed:

...and here is the updated killboard. We are already starting to get far ahead of others.

Next time on Wing Commander
We get to ride a Centaurian mud-pig!