The Let's Play Archive

Wing Commander

by ivantod

Part 39: Mission #35: 28 June 2654, Firekka System

Hope everyone has recovered from Operation Thor's Hammer, because once more it's time to push a button!

Welcome to Secret Missions 2!

'Secret Missions 2: Crusade' (SM2), the second expansion set to Wing Commander was published in Summer 1991, just a few months before WC2--yes folks, WC1 and WC2 actually came out only about a year apart from each other and the time in between was filled with TWO expansions for WC1, the first of which came out only a couple of months after WC1! Try something like that with today's games!

Like the first expansion, it was distributed on floppy disks (although it might have been on two this time instead of one), and it integrates with the original game, reusing some of the resources. Interestingly enough, this time you don't choose to start it after running the original game executable, as it has a separate one of its own, SM2.EXE. This allowed some improvements to be made, such as enhanced wingman AI.

The basic gameplay pattern hasn't changed, we'll still be meeting people in bars and going to briefings. However there are quite a few changes that will become apparent over the course of the game. Apart from already mentioned improved wingman AI, there are a few new ships that we'll encounter, and, believe it or not, even some new characters! It's been a while since we've met someone new, but now it will happen again finally.

Again, it takes things up a notch plot wise from the previous instalment and finally does away with all the 'save your missiles for the capital ships' conversation nonsense. There is probably more plot in this one than in the previous two games combined--I know this probably isn't saying much, but trust me on this, SM2's primary reason for existence is to be a prequel/setup for WC2 so there's going to be a lot going on on character level. And yes, we finally start to find out a bit more about who these people really are outside of their role in the war. Not to mention, Maverick FINALLY stars speaking for real and actually participating in conversations!!!

Considering what I just said about WC2 and all, let me just take this opportunity for a gentle reminder about the no spoiler policy in this thread, and that includes spoiler tags. Please. And thank you.

Finally, missions. What can you expect from missions in this instalment? I'll just say this, they seem to be a lot more varied than before and occasionally even quite imaginative. They mostly make sense plot-wise also. Another interesting thing is that unlike before, we'll be flying a different ship in practically every mission--so expect to see that 'reassignment' scene in Halcyon's office a whole lot of times! Like SM1, it also does not feature a branching mission tree but a linear progression, so if you lose, you're done.

So, let's start. The beginning finds Tiger's Claw in Firekka system, where a new planet is about to sign a treaty finalising their joining the Confederation and Claw's pilots are mainly escorting diplomats back and forth while waiting their turn for some planetside leave. However, the best laid plans of cats and men...

Oh, one more thing. Last time we've been learning about Norse mythology throughout the game. This time around, our subject will be the former secretary-generals of the United Nations. No kidding.

And now, for real...

Mission #35: 28 June 2654, Firekka system

Previously on Wing Commander: The destruction of Sivar dreadnought marked the end of Operation Thor's Hammer; however instead of going back to Vega sector, TC has been ordered to Antares sector where planet Firekka is looking to join the Confederation. Our duties have mostly included shuttling diplomats around.

You know, it's actually been a while since we talked to Hunter...

Can you believe it? A new planet is joining the Confederation - and here we are, watching 'em create history right in front of us.

Don't worry, we'll get to see what the Firekkans look like soon enough.

And now we'll spend a month as Honour Guard for the Confederation Diplomatic Corps. Yeah, this'll be an easy assignment... playing nursemaid to a bunch of diplomats and aliens.

Well, you will soon, mate. They seem like good people... intelligent an' honest, very friendly to strangers. They're just lucky their planet is so far off the trade routes, or the Kilrathi would've enslaved 'em for sure.

Well, certainly everybody seems to be in good mood. Nice contrast to what happened in Goddard.

Mission Time!

I suppose an escort mission is in order. It's been a while, too.

We can't risk anything that could disrupt the treaty conference on the planet, so you'll patrol and watch for that convoy. And I'll also need some of you to escort the Diplomatic Corps ships to Firekka, where they're needed for the conference.

Actually, I heard these new Rapiers are faster and more manoeuvrable!

United Nations Corner: Pérez de Cuéllar (born 1920) is a Peruvian diplomat and was the fifth Secretary-General of the UN, from 1982 to 1991. Currently at the age of 90, he's the oldest living former secretary-general.

We've detected traces of high energy on the direct route to Nav 2. After the Perez de Cuellar jumps to Firekka, investigate the unknown bogey between Nav 2 and the Tiger's Claw.

Remember, if you run into one or two stray Kilrathi, you should engage the enemy. But if you see any sign that the convoy has diverted to this system, return to the Claw immediately.

That's interesting...

There's more?

Oh, ha ha!

Pilots, we use the ACLS - our auto landing system - for very good reasons. The next hot-shot pilot who tries a manual control landing will be scrubbing decks for a week. Is that understood? All right, pilots. Prepare for launch.

So, looks like a nice and relaxing escort mission to get us started then. Or not...? It seems a little fishy.
Well now. The escort part was actually not particularly strenuous. But, that Ralari was more of a challenge. First of all, and I forgot to mention in the video, it's one of the 'jumpy' ones, that is, if you take too long with the Grathas, it will jump out. But since you are in a 'fast and manoeuvrable Hornet', you can try to do what we did and just attack it while ignoring the slow and clumsy Grathas. That in general works.

Speaking of Grathas, you probably don't really want to engage them as they are flown by the Drakhai, the Imperial guard pilots. Exactly what they are and why they are here (since we haven't run into them before) will soon be addressed by the plot, but for now suffice it to say that they are more 'advanced' than regular pilots, about on a level of formerly seen 'aces'. So imagine a whole wing of e.g. 4 Jalthi all flown by aces and you'll have a good idea what awaits us in SM2 among other things. But in this mission, they may be a bit too much for a pair of Hornets to handle especially since you will then miss out on the Ralari. However, it has to be said, Ralari is there mainly for plot reasons and carries no score points one way or another.

In a way, it's a bit of a shame that flying with Iceman is being wasted on these Hornet missions, but what can you do.

It is possible to get a medal here, but you have to kill at least some of the Grathas for that. So instead here is the kill board.

Next time on Wing Commander
How many Fralthis does it take to screw in a lightbulb?