CULT GEMS – “WING COMMANDER 3&4”

 

Back in the early days of CGI, basically the hey day of the 90s, when pogs were actually a thing, there was sub-genre of video games which utilized long form CGI sequences and mouse-click room navigation intercut with action/battle simulators. It was a relatively forgettable and not entirely dissimilar from the engines that drove classic such as MYST and FANTASMAGORIA. From the long-forgotten deck of the digital past comes an oft-forgotten gem known as Wing Commander. The series began as a straight space battle sim, then by the third entry had started to include the aforementioned CGI sequences. What also began with Wing Commander 3(1994) was the inclusion of a coherent storyline as well as some star power to back it up. Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, Malcolm McDowell and Tom Wilson(better known to most as Biff Tannen the Back to the Future trilogy) all joined up and the result was a great little sci-fi story with some fun, if repetitive, battle sims. Wing Commander 4(1996) would come out soon after with Hamill, McDowell and Wilson reprising their roles(and hamming it the f*** up), as well as several newcomers like cult favs Mark Dacascos(Brotherhood of the Wolf), Casper Van Dien(Starship Troopers) and Robert Russler(Nightmare On Elm Street 2 & Weird Science) to say nothing of soon-to-be Emmy-winner John Spencer(Leo McGarry from Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing). The story is much improved over part 3, and Russler makes a compelling foil to Hamill’s cocky sky-jocky. It’s worth finding playthroughs on youtube just to watch Hamill trade barbs with Wilson and match wits with Spencer, Russler and McDowell. Its pure cheese mostly and not entirely dissimilar from a Sci-Fi Channel film of the mid-90s, especially with it’s lackluster, hokey VFX. STILL, highly recommended by our staff for the retro game enthusiast of the 90’s, sci-fi deep cut needs, or if you just have amaze-balls cult creedo.

KEEP IT CULT.