Amiga WC thoughts + Amiga World Review


Rear Admiral
Hey everyone. I'm in the middle of finishing up quite an in-depth review for Wing Commander on the Amiga, and I always love throwing in contemporary reviews at the time. Being someone who first experienced Wing Commander on the Amiga, I gotta say I adore it on the machine, and fell in love just as much as anyone who experienced it wth DOS.

I was also an American Amiga user, and I'm telling everyone that despite what you might hear online, there were plenty of people in America who had an Amiga, and up till and past Commodore's death we had games coming out here. Quite a few of them were made here as a matter of fact, places like Maxis and LucasArts did all their Amiga work in-house, which meant in America.

With Wing Commander it's worth noting it was ported in Europe (I'm sure you guys know the great story about the guy that handled most of that work). Despite coming from Europe, it is of course originally an American game, made in DOS. You may notice lots of Amiga videos online being in an almost widescreen like display, this is because emulators will default into PAL emulation, because most NTSC games will play in PAL mode, where as the opposite is not always true.

It's worth noting that Wing Commander only ever displayed correctly on an American Amiga. The game on the Amiga, just like DOS, had a 320x200 resolution. While technically this is much wider than it is tall, in practice most games in that resolution were designed to be displayed with a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is what all the monitors were back then. Now, when you look up Wing Commander videos and screenshots, sometimes even for DOS, but always for the Amiga, you'll see them in nearly 16:9 aspect ratio. This is in fact confounded even more with Wing Commander, given that the cutscenes are designed to look widescreen on a 4:3 monitor. This makes the Amiga cutscenes in PAL mode look incredibly distorted and stretched - I don't know, that's always been a big issue with me, too many people showing these old games in the wrong aspect ratio. Since all the original artwork was handed over to the Amiga European team from America, despite being designed in Europe, it's actually an example of an Amiga game that looks correct on an American NTSC Amiga. Besides the 4:3 aspect ratio an NTSC machine would give you, the game itself runs noticeably faster than you might think due to the increased NTSC speed.

Now I played Wing Commander on a regular Amiga 500 back in the day... And I'm not about to tell anyone it was fast... But I swear it's playable. My upcoming review was done on the 500, and I played it 4 times for the review. Twice for my video, one for the winning side, one for the losing tree... And twice again for my written review with pictures, same deal with the branching trees. If I can play it 4 times in a row on that 500, I'm telling you, that game is powerful, and I never once remember me or my father discussing its speed back in the day. It was simply an amazing game, and that's all that mattered. In fact, many DOS users played it on slow machines as well. Of course if I were to ever get an accelerator card for my Amiga... Well, Wing Commander would be the reason, but I probably will never be wanting that... Cause I've always adored the game on the Amiga, and I have it on DOS with the MT-32 as well, and there's just something special about that Amiga version.

Anyway... For my reviews I love reading off the old reviews when I can. There are plenty of European reviews I found on the Hall of Light Amiga database... Well, I'm American, and sometimes the European perspective, well... I enjoy having an American perspective on the games I cover. Not listed in the Hall of Light was a a strange hybrid review of both Wing Commander and Epic, from the American Amiga magazine, Amiga World. I adore this magazine and I always have, it was published by the same people who made Computer Gaming World. Excellent writers. For your enjoyment I will be posting this review here for the WingNuts to enjoy, feel free to add that to the main CIC page if you don't happen to already have it. I will say they loved the game, more than Epic... They do make one small comment about the speed at the start, but I'm telling you... Well... They had access to the faster Amiga's, I did not... And I loved this game just the same.

A request though, do any of you know of any more reviews from American Amiga magazines? And I'd love for you to point them out to me if you can. That's always a perspective I fight for in todays retro gaming culture, I had an Amiga in America back then... But most of its users were adults like my dad, and they just are not out there making YouTube videos, ya know? That's not their scene... But the Amiga did exist here, and it meant more than a lot of people give it credit for.

A nice example is perhaps the Wing Commander disks themselves. In America we always tended to get nice stickers on the disks. Some games would be nicer than others, and I can't say Wing Commander gave me the best I'd ever seen by any means... But we always tended to get stickers on the disks, which I liked.



In Europe they tended to get text printed directly onto the disk itself. We rarely got those types of disks in America. Sometimes they'd change the entire games name... There's a famous Amiga racing game called Formula One Grand Prix in Europe. It was released in America too, but as World Circuit. That game came with a 160 page + manual, and every page says "World Circuit" on it... That machine was very much alive until and after Commodore died, I do have to say.

Anyway, since that's a perspective I like to give, I'd love for any help you guys might be able to give on other American Amiga reviews for Wing Commander. Sometimes Computer Gaming World would mention the Amiga, but I doubt they'd be covering the Amiga it in 1992 when it was released. Any help? I'd appreciate it.

So here's the Amiga World review of Wing Commander, and I'll follow that up with a few pictures I took on my actual Amiga CRT screen. And you'll notice the aspect ratio matches the original DOS version there. It should be noted that the actual Amiga World review features a distorted screenshot, likely because by that time they would have had the ability to dump the pure 320x200 screenshot from computer to magazine. You can tell it's a screenshot rather than an actual picture of the screen, which most magazines would do until screenshots became practical. Despite this, I assure you, it was in 4:3 on American machines. Anyway, hope you all enjoy.





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Rear Admiral
Way cool, I had the hitsquad floppy disks, that's the version that got me started on Amiga.
You really needed a 1200 to get the best out it, the phrase slide show cones to mind on a 500 or a 600 like I had.


Rear Admiral
I also first played on an Amiga and to this day I'm still sure it was better than the DOS version especially the music IMHO.. I played on a 500+ which I had in my bedroom but my Dad had a 1200 with a HDD so I got to install it on there after a while and it was much better


Rear Admiral
Played the first WC on the Amiga at about its release...I remember the agony of browsing the (Amiga) computer magazine store section for the WC Secret Missions expansion that never came..
I didn't play the next WC game until late 1995 when I found WC4 for PC at the local video rental of all places.


Rear Admiral
I did get the CD32 version infact I still have it somewhere probably in a box at my parents house.. I feel your pain waiting for the Secret Missions and after that the next time I got to play a WC game was WC4 on the PSX


Vice Admiral
Like many of my fellow British wingnuts, the Amiga gave me my first taste of Wing Commander. We only had an A600, I don't remember it performing that badly but I never tried it on any of the high-end Amigas.

Man, it feels like a lifetime ago.


I'm astonished they considered porting it. But even more hugely impressed they made it running fast enough on 68k!!