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Wing Commander Prophecy is the fifth installment in the long-running Wing Commander series. Prophecy continues the Wing Commander tradition (since Wing Commander III) of providing full motion videos between missions to advance the storyline. Wing Commander and Wing Commander II have both been very big on cinematics as a way to help immerse the player in the game, and Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts continually pushed for a greater and greater cinematic component to his space flight combat game.

However, after the pinnacle of Wing Commander's game cinematics in Wing Commander IV, Chris Roberts left Origin Systems to pursue a career directing motion pictures (his first motion picture, by the way, was Wing Commander). The next installment in the series, Wing Commander Prophecy includes many of the elements of Wing Commander's full motion video past, however to a somewhat small extent, and with some important changes.

Characters, Plot, Setting
The greatest change is that of the player's character, Christopher Blair. Throughout the central Wing Commander games, Blair was the persona which the player had during the between mission cinematics. In Wing Commander Prophecy, the player's role is that of Lance Casey, a brand new pilot (an attempt to get back to the new feeling of the original Wing Commander).

Prophecy is not the first departure from 'old Blue Hair'. The various 'in-between' Wing Commander games either have no main character (such as Wing Commander Armada, or Wing Commander Academy]), or a completely different character ('Brown Hair' of Privateer, or Lev Arris of Privateer II: The Darkening).

Casey does possess some connection to previous Wing Commander history, which fans will appreciate; he is the son of 'Iceman', one of the older, more experienced pilots of the TCS Tiger's Claw from the original Wing Commander. He is young, brash, lives in his dead father's shadow, is apt to get into interesting situations (in space and on the carrier), and has something to prove.

The overall story of Wing Commander Prophecy begins several years after the end of the Kilrathi war, and the subsequent events of Wing Commander IV. The Terran Confederation has constructed a new supercarrier of enormous proportions (the TCS Midway), and Lance Casey, fresh out of the flight academy, has been assigned to it. The Midway proceeds to uncover a new threat emerging from the ruins of the Kilrathi home system, a dark and terrible threat that has been foretold in Kilrathi legend.

It turns out this dark and terrible threat is a new species from another dimension/universe/reality called the Nephilim. They are an insectoid, creepy species who want to disect Humanity, and then destroy us all. They're pretty bad guys, but not entirely believable (like the Kilrathi ever were). They have a wonderful aesthetic to them, being designed by the legendary Syd Mead (of Blade Runner, Star Trek The Motion Picture, Tron and Aliens fame, among other things).

The Midway must fight off this new species, which initially only threatens the border regions of the Confederation, but are entering our plane of reality in large numbers. The game captures the feeling of the TCS Midway trying to beat back the barbarian hordes, against almost impossible odds.

The Actors
There is some small amount of star power present in Wing Commander Prophecy. The biggest star is, of course, Mark Hamill, who reprises his role as Christopher Blair. However, in Prophecy he is a major character, though no longer the character that the player controls. In fact, there are several missions in the game which allow the player to fly with Blair, which is interesting after playing four games AS Blair.

Another big star in Prophecy is Ginger Lynn Allen, who reprises her role from Wing Commander III as Chief Tech Rachel Coriolis. Ginger Lynn Allen is noted primarily for her extensive contributions to the adult film industry.

Tom Wilson reprises his role as Maniac, the crazy jerk who was such a pain to fly with in previous Wing Commanders. Tom Wilson is famous for his role as Bif Tannen in the Back to the Future trilogy. In Prophecy, he has finally gotten his own squadron, and goes out of his way to make Lance Casey's life miserable.

Gameplay
One of the most remarkable game play changes is, in accordance with Prophecy's defocusing on the movie aspects of the game, is the lack of path choices during the full motion video scenes. The course of the game is still as interactive as the other Wing Commander games, however in Prophecy, the player determines the course of the game entirely in the cockpit of his space craft.

Prophecy also introduces a new engine, the Vision Engine. The previous two Wing Commander games had both used the same engine, which by the late 1990s was beginning to show its age. The Vision Engine allows for many new effects, such as missile trails, more complex 3-D models, and lighting effects. Prophecy was also the first Wing Commander game to support 3-D accelleration via 3Dfx standards.

there is a wide variety of mission types, and mission objectives. It sometimes seems that many of the missions are simply combat air patrols, like in the earlier Wing Commanders, which consists simply of hitting all the nav points and wiping out the enemies. However, Prophecy always tries to have a surprise in every mission, something to make that mission unique and memorable.

There are a number of unique, specialized missions that advance the story, and are a great deal of fun for the player. For instance, Prophecy has redefined the traditional sense of scale for capital ships, making them much larger than before. Where previously, the player's single fighter might be enough to take down a cruiser or destroyer, now it takes an entire flight of fighters flying cover for another flight of attack craft. The attack craft may target individual components of the enemy capital ship, such as shield generators, engines, bridge, sensors, etc. Fighter cover may assist in suppressing the gun turrets and missile launchers of the enemy capital ship while also keeping track of other enemy craft. The result of these new dynamics introduced allow the player to play several missions that are somewhat alike, but in different roles each time.


Full Cast and Crew for Wing Commander: Prophecy (1997)

Directed by Adam Foshko

Cast (in credits order)
Steven Petrarca .... 2nd Lt. Lance R. Casey
Thomas F. Wilson .... Major Todd 'Maniac' Marshall
Lauren Sinclair .... Commander Patricia Drake, CAG
Neill Barry .... 2nd Lt. Max 'Maestro' Garrett
Chris Mulkey .... Col. Jacob 'Hawk' Manley
Heather Stephens .... 1st Lt. Jean 'Stiletto' Talvert
Adam Lazarre-White .... Lt. Terrence 'Zero' O'Hearn
Mindy Hester .... Lieutenant Commander Aurora Finley
Peter Jason .... Captain Daniel Wilford
Joel Stoffer .... 2nd Lt. Jack 'Dallas' Slayton
Seth Walther .... 1st Lieutenant Liam Anderson
Brad Greenquist .... Major Karl 'Spyder' Bowen
Jeremy Roberts (I) .... Colonel John 'Gash' Dekker
Ginger Lynn Allen .... Chief Technician Rachel Coriolis
Mark Hamill .... Commodore Christopher Blair
rest of cast listed alphabetically
Timothy 'TJ' James Driscoll .... Cadet pulled out of meteor shower (uncredited)

Produced by
Mark Day (III) .... producer
David Downing (II) .... producer

Original music by George Oldziey
Film Editing by Jay Mahavier
Production Design by Anthony R. Stabley
Costume Design by Karen Mann (I)

Art Department
Syd Mead .... conceptual artist


There is also a bevy of new ships and weapons available for use in Prophecy.

Fighter Craft
  • Piranha
  • Panther
  • Tigershark
  • Vampire
  • Wasp

    Attack Craft
  • Devastator
  • Shrike

    Guns
  • Fighter Turret
  • Ion Cannon
  • Laser Cannon
  • Mass Driver
  • Charging Mass Driver
  • Particle Cannon
  • Plasma Cannon
  • Stormfire MK II
  • Tachyon Gun

    Missiles
  • Dragonfly Rocket Pod
  • Dumbfire
  • Enhanced Light Torpedo
  • Enhanced Long Range HARM
  • Enhanced Long Range Image Recognition
  • Enhanced Torpedo
  • Friend or Foe Missile
  • Mine
  • HARM
  • Heat Seeker
  • Image Recognition
  • Light Torpedo
  • Long Range HARM
  • Long Range Image Recognition
  • Swarmer Pod
  • Targeting Disk
  • Torpedo
  • Tracker MIRV
  • Turreted Image Recognition


    Note: While Prophecy was originally released for the PC, it is currently being ported to the Game Boy Advance, using the Blue Roses 3-D engine. Few details are known at present (will update later).

    Sources
    Wing Commander Combat Information Center, http://www.wcnews.com
    Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com
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