The April 2012 issue of PC Gamer includes a neat retro feature on Wing Commander 3! Much like the reviews of yesteryear, the game gets three full pages of gorgeous screenshots and text full of praise. WC3 was the hit cover story of PC Gamer's seventh issue way back in 1994, and it was long tied for third-highest-rated game of all time at a whopping 96% behind Alpha Centauri and Half Life. Copies have started arriving for subscribers and this issue should be on newsstands now.
This month’s Reinstall revisits Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger, one of the highest-budget games of its time in 1994 and a beloved FMV classic to boot...
Wing Commander 3 could definitely have aged worse, and the fact that you can switch on invulnerability in the options menu without any form of penalty means that you shouldn't let it put you off. At the very least, it's a great way to understand just what the hell convinced people that interactive movies were the future - from the cinematic style, to its ambition, to the way it used FMV to create a world instead of to cover a gaping hole where its soul should have been. It was an amazing game for its day, and it's still a movie worth starring in.
And a shout out to LOAF's archives!
...did you know there was a Saturday morning cartoon too? It was called Wing Commander: Academy, and against all odds, it was excellent. Like the games, it featured heroic moments, but took a surprisingly mature approach to war - not simply death and loss, but showing the dilemmas of being in command and the clash of two races with very different approaches to honor. For years, the only copies have been some low-quality [awesome] TV rips. The whole series is coming to DVD in March [now May] though, and is worth a watch.