Gameplay consists of completing successive missions and overall cockpit performance affects gameplay: going above and beyond the call of duty results in medals, promotions in rank are awarded at regular intervals, and success or failure on certain critical missions decides the player's plot progress, "winning" or "losing". In between combat mission you are treated with a good story and cinematic graphics.
Wing Commander is the eponymous first game in Chris Roberts' science fiction space flight simulation franchise Wing Commander by Origin Systems. The game was first released for MS-DOS on September 26, 1990 but arrived at our museum almost 30 years later in this beautiful box.
The game was a marked departure from the standard formula, bringing space combat to a level approaching the Star Wars films. Set in the year 2654 and characterized by Chris Roberts as "World War II in space", it features a multinational cast of pilots from the "Terran Confederation" flying missions against the predatory, aggressive Kilrathi, a feline warrior race (heavily inspired by the Kzinti of Larry Niven's Known Space universe).
Wing Commander was originally titled Squadron and later renamed Wingleader. As development for Wing Commander came to a close, the EMM386 memory manager the game used would give an exception when the user exited the game. It would print out a message similar to "EMM386 Memory manager error..." with additional information. The team could not isolate and fix the error and they needed to ship it as soon as possible. As a work-around, one of the game's programmers, Ken Demarest, hex-edited the memory manager so it displayed a different message. Instead of the error message, it printed "Thank you for playing Wing Commander." However, due to a different bug the game went through another revision and the bug was fixed, meaning this hack did not ship with the final release.
Wing Commander shipped in 1990 for PC/DOS as the initial platform and came with an instruction booklet styled as a shipboard magazine, Claw Marks. It provided tactical suggestions, statistics on fighters and weapons both Kilrathi and Terran, capsule biographies of notable pilots on both sides of the line, and general shipboard news (such as the discontinuation of the popular comic strip Hornet's Nest, due to the recent death of its artist, Lt. Larry "Tooner" Dibbles).
Notable contributors to the Claw Marks magazine include Captain Aaron Allston, Major Warren Spector, and Col. Chris Roberts. The game also shipped with a set of blueprints for the game's four playable fighters, the Hornet, Scimitar, Rapier, and Raptor.
Wing Commander "raised the bar for the whole industry," as the game was five times more expensive to create than most of its contemporaries. Because the game was highly successful, other publishers had to match its production value in order to compete. This forced a large portion of the video game industry to become more conservative, as big-budget games need to be an assured hit for it to be profitable in any way.
We are very glad to be able to showcase this amazing game with all the goodies that was included in the box, as games in the 80 and 90 often had. Lot of extra things to read outside the game itself.
The Karate Kid Part II: The Computer Game is a beat 'em up game based on the 1986 film The Karate Kid Part II. The game was initially released for Atari ST in 1986, and was converted for release on Amiga in 1987. We have the Amiga version here today :)
Included in the box was the typical registration form to get on the mailing list, offer on cables, disk wallets and etc from Microdeal, four page manual explaining the controls on the joystick and the game on one diskette.
The Karate Kid Part II received praise for its graphics although some reviewers were critical of the small character designs. The sound was praised as well, while the music received positive and negative responses. One of the cool things are the many of the film's sequences "have been faithfully recreated" for a game which is a nice touch.
Techno Cop is a 1988 action video game for the Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, MS-DOS ( the version we have here ) and ZX Spectrum. The gameplay combines pseudo-3D driving in the graphical style of Outrun with side-scrolling action as the player controls a police officer driving to and then moved through various seedy locations in a one-man war against crime. It was subsequently ported to the Sega Genesis in 1990 but the game was the first game on the Genesis to have a warning label due to its violent content.
In the single-player side-scrolling game the player is a cop in a seedy futuristic urban city. Armed with a pistol, the player has to kill various thugs, before the timer runs out. While the game has several levels, the background in the game does not change often.
The other half of the game is a driving sequence, similar to other computer games such as Roadblasters.
The Screenshots above are from the PC version of the game
The PC version of the game came on two floppy diskettes
Both Nintendo of America and Sega of America insisted upon previewing games made for their system, prior to release, to check for bugs and potentially controversial or offensive content. Sega allowed Techno Cop to be released without requiring Razor Soft to remove or tone down the game's violent content. Along with the blood, when the playable character shot at another character, they would be blown apart, not unsimilar to Death Wish 3 on C64.
Star Wars: Dark Forces was released in 1995 and was both developed and published by LucasArts.
The storyline is set in the Star Wars fictional universe and follows the player character Kyle Katarn, a mercenary working on behalf of the Rebel Alliance. He discovers the Empire's "Dark Trooper Project", which involves the development of a series of powerful new battle droids and power-armored stormtroopers. The story takes place both just before and mostly after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
Upon release, Dark Forces was commonly called a "Doom clone" because of its similarities to the original doom and maybe also because there had been fan made mods of Doom which had levels set on the Death Star.
But the game makes significant expansions upon the gameplay features present in Doom. New gameplay mechanisms that were not common at the time of release include the ability to look up and down, duck, jump, and swim. The use of multiple floor levels is another technical advance in the first-person shooter genre. To produce these new features, the developers wrote a game engine from scratch ( The Jedi game engine ) which can create gameplay and graphical elements such as fully 3D objects, atmospheric effects such as fog and haze, animated textures and shading.
Dark Forces was the 11th best selling computer game of the period 1993 to 1999, with an estimated 952,000 copies sold. The game was followed by novelizations and a sequel, Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II. Jedi Knight spawned an entire series of games which includes the expansion Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. This series, with the exception of Jedi Academy, focuses on the continuing exploits of Kyle Katarn, many of which take place after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.
Gameplay video below
Star Trek: The Next Generation – A Final Unity is an adventure game by Spectrum HoloByte, based on the Star Trek universe. It puts the player in control of Captain Picard and his crew of the Enterprise D and features traditional point-and-click adventure gameplay as well as free-form space exploration, diplomatic encounters and tactical ship-to-ship combat.
It was released on May 31, 1995 and came out on CD-ROM for both the PC and the MAC. One of the most appealing aspect of the game is that the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation reprise their roles in this game, providing the voices of their respective characters in the game, except for Wil Wheaton who played Wesley Crusher in the series.
The storyline takes place around stardate 47111.1, according to the opening sequence of the game. This would place the events of the game between the first two episodes of the seventh season of the series, "Descent" and "Liaisons".
A Final Unity was Spectrum HoloByte's second Star Trek video game, following the 1994 game Star Trek: The Next Generation: Future's Past. Spectrum Holobyte acquired MicroProse shortly thereafter, and continued developing Star Trek games under the MicroProse name. As you can see the box has the MicroProse logo on the back and the Spectrum Holobyte logo on the front.
The majority of the gameplay takes place by controlling an away team on various space stations and alien worlds, which is the pure adventure game part of the game. The away team is selected by the player and is then controlled in a point-and-click manner by selecting the desired command from the interface in the lower area of the screen. Upon completion of the away mission, the team is beamed up, and the Enterprise awaits further orders or acts with the new information provided by the away mission.
The manual that comes with the game is quite substantial and heavy. Also every page is in color and has that RPG feel to it, where you could just sit with the manual in a cosy sofa and get immersive with the game without even turning on the PC :)
Also like many other PC games in this era of Big Boxes, we get a Catalogue of upcoming games and released ones. Which is also a nice touch but you have to remember that getting information like this was not via internet. So you could spend hours just reading and dreaming of your next purchase.
I would recommend this game to any adventure fan and also Star Trek fan. It was a huge commercial success and sold 500.000 the first year of release. The game was also a runner-up for Computer Gaming World's 1995 "Adventure Game of the Year" award, which ultimately went to I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream. Which is no surprise as that game was a masterpiece, but being in second to that one is not a bad place to be :)
Yngvi Th. Johannsson
Retro gaming enthusiast and all around computer collector.
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