Review by zephyrmaster
Reviewed: 06/14/03 | Updated: 06/14/03
A superb port of the PC game
Wing Commander: Prophecy (Or WC: P) is one of the only GBA games that I anxiously waited for. I watched the progress of the game, and ordered it as soon as I could, and too put it bluntly, I wasn't disappointed. This game, a port of the PC game with the same name, is definitely one of the best game for this system to date.
One feature that has passed from each Wing Commander game to the next is the superb gameplay. This game doesn't disappoint in this area, as this game is a blast to play. WC: P has 48 missions to play, each ranging in length from a few minutes to much longer. This game is a port of the PC game with the same name, and this port was done very well.
Playing this game feels like watching and participating in a movie at the same time. Wing Commander: Prophecy is a well-done port of the PC version of the same game, which spanned over 3 CDs and contained numerous full motion video cutscenes that were interspersed throughout the game. Obviously, the GBA doesn't have these capabilities, but the same feeling that was conveyed through the PC version is conveyed in the GBA version through the use of text boxes and dialogue between the characters. The drama unfolds throughout the game through the dialogue between the characters. It's interesting enough that you won't be pressing the A button rapidly through the text, and it helps you connect with the other characters in the game.
When you aren't doing any missions or are talking to people, you are free to roam the ship. In reality, you can only traverse between 3 rooms if you count the briefing room, but this is still a nice feature. There is a kill-board listing how many enemy ships each person has shot down, and in what squadron each person belongs. There is a nifty tactical database, where you can see and view 3d images of every ship and read specifications for that ship also. In the next room, there is a place to save, load, and to replay any mission in the game. The last room is the briefing room, the room you have to go into to start your next mission.
The meat of the game is played during missions however, and the game performs well here also. Depending on the mission, you'll receive a ship, a type of gun, a type of missile, and some or no wingmen. There are several different types of flyable ships in this game, all having different abilities. Some are very good at high speeds, while others can turn on a dime but can’t accelerate at all. The guns vary also, from standard sci-fi fare such as lasers to gatling gun like armaments. The missiles range from short range heat seekers to missiles that can discern from friend and foe. Commands can be easily given to your wingmen by pressing start and selecting the appropriate command.
Fighting enemy ships is a blast in this game because of how the HUD (Heads up display), controls, and game mechanics come to together so well. During each mission you'll have to fight enemy ships, and fortunately this game makes it enjoyable. When you are flying, you can fire guns, missiles, order your wingmates to do something, and more. Targeting enemy ships for missile launches is done when you are looking at them. When you are close enough, a small green diamond will appear showing where you have to fire your guns in order to hit a moving enemy. Every ship in this game has shields and three stages of damage. Every ship starts with full shields and “green” status. When you are targeted and hitting an enemy, you'll be able to see their ship's condition on your HUD (on which you can see your own ship's condition also).
The HUD and controls in this game are good and accomplishes what needs to be done. Radar, your ship condition, your amount of missiles, your amount of decoys (used to confuse enemy missiles), the targeted ship's condition, and more are displayed on the HUD. The controls are spot on and responsive. Complex maneuvers and specialized commands are preformed by holding one of the shoulder buttons and pressing another button at the same time. The face buttons do what they should; one fires the guns and the other fires missiles. One fault is that the game's controls aren't configurable, a feature that I for one would have appreciated.
Overall, the gameplay in this game is where this game truly shines, even though the graphics may be the first appeal to people who buy this game. It is a little on the difficult side, but that only increases replay value for those who are willing to take the time to master the game. The game is fun throughout, from the cutscenes to the fighting, this game is enjoyable. The controls and HUD are great especially considering on what platform this game is on, and the other features are surprising albeit good additions. This is a superb port of the PC game, and only a few things were taken out, nothing which detracts from the overall gameplay of the game.
For the sake of enjoyment, I won't give away much of the story here, and will only tell you some background information. In this game you play the role of Casey, a fresh out of school hotshot trying to live up to the greatness of his father, a former space pilot. You have been assigned to the carrier Midway, where you will strive to defeat the nephilim, of which you'll find out more when you play the game. As previously mentioned, the game feels like an interactive movie, and thus the story is superb.
On first glance of this game, you'll realize that this game isn't an ordinary Gameboy Advance game. The graphics in this game are in full 3d, an amazing accomplishment. The game is based on the Blue Roses engine, and this game is the first to be made primarily with it. The graphics are simply amazing; there are full 3d cutscenes throughout the game, amazing 3d movies at the beginning and at the end of the game, and the dialogue during the game is accompanied by mug shots from the PC version. I've never experienced any slowdown in this game, even with several alien ships on my screen fighting with my allies. Obviously, the PC version of this game has better graphics, but this version comes close to matching its predecessor in graphics.
The audio in WC: P varies from good to mediocre to bad. The good is found in the voice samples that play occasionally during combat and gameplay. These are clearly understandable, and add a touch of realism to the game. As a comrade dies, the voice communicator may say, ''Goodbye my friends,'' or something similar. This is the good audio in WC: P. The mediocre is found in the sound effects. They aren't bad per se, but they do leave some to be desired. The sound of the spacecraft's engines is probably the worst sound effect of them all, but it isn't too bad. The bad audio in this game is the music. The music is repetitive and sometimes annoying. If it was not a 5 second snippet of music repeated over and over again then the music would've been much easier to enjoy. The lack of good music doesn't detract from the overall feel of the game however, because you can easily turn it off if necessary.
The replay value of this game is mediocre. Playing this game is similar to participating and watching a movie. You participate in and complete missions, but interspersed between the missions are textual cutscenes that tell the engaging story. The fact that there are three difficulty modes adds to the replay value, because hard is significantly harder than normal, and poses a challenge even to skilled gamers. Fortunately for this game, the missions are long and enjoyable enough that the replay value of this game can be forgiven. This isn't a problem if you have a friend with the game however, because multiplayer never becomes boring.
Multiplayer is an area in which this game really shines. The amount of multiplayer options in this game is amazing. You can play in deathmatches with up to three other people, with each person having an ally. These are a blast too play, and gives this game added replay value and challenge for those who have beaten the single-player section of this game.
If you enjoy Wing Commander games, space/flight simulators, or are simply looking for a great GBA game, then I heartily recommend that you purchase this game. The graphics are absolutely amazing, and the gameplay is too. The audio leaves a bit to be desired, but the amount of fun you'll have playing this game compensates for that lack. Buy this game today if you can!
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