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|Writer(s)||Gilbert P. Austin|
|Platform(s)||x86 (DOS), FM Towns, PC-98|
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
Strike Commander is a combat flight simulator video game designed by Chris Roberts and released by Origin Systems for the PC DOS in 1993. Its 3D graphics-engine used both gouraud shading and texture-mapping on both aircraft-models and terrain, an impressive feat at the time. Significant plot elements were presented through in-game cut-scene animations, a hallmark storytelling vehicle from Chris Robert's previous Wing Commander games. Strike Commander has been called "Privateer on Earth," due to the mercenary role-playing in the game.
The game was mass released in 1994 as part of a Creative Labs bundle pack with Syndicate Plus, Ultima VIII: Pagan and Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi. It was also available in a CD bundle with Wing Commander: Privateer; both games included the core game, the expansion pack and voice pack on a single CD-ROM disc.
The player accepts missions from interesting characters and gets paid for doing them which allows the player to buy more weapons. The missions involve flying an F-16 Fighting Falcon and, in the last missions of the game, the more advanced F-22, while accomplishing certain objectives and missions.
Other simulators, such as the F-22 series from Novalogic have been compared with Strike Commander because of their simplified flight model and emphasis on graphic detail, which makes them relatively similar in terms of philosophy.
The game takes place in a fictional near-future (2011) where significant political changes have occurred in the world. It revolves around a group of crack private military contractor fighter pilots in a group known as the 'Wildcats', based in Turkey who fly F-16 Fighting Falcons.
The events that occur in Strike Commander are triggered by events starting 20 years before the game is set, actually the seeds are sown in the 1980s and onwards, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disastrous economic policies of the United States, conflict in the Middle East, the world-wide dependence on petroleum and the resultant rise in nationalism globally.
The Strike Commander project took more than four years and over a million man hours on background development. Very little of that production time turned out to be actually usable in the final product, as at least one and possibly several complete project "reboots" were required to refine the graphical engine to a playable state. Nevertheless, some successful gameplay elements from Strike Commander were re-used by other more notable Origin products such as Privateer and the Wing Commander series. Chris Roberts, in the game's manual, compares the game's long development time with the events in the 1991 documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse, a film account of what it took to get the 1979 film Apocalypse Now made.
A separate Speech Pack, sold on floppy disk, replaced some of the game's text-dialogue with voice-acted recordings. An expansion pack Strike Commander: Tactical Operations continued the game's story by adding more missions and flyable aircraft. A later CD-ROM edition of Strike Commander bundled the game, expansion pack, and more audio content (beyond what was available in the Speech Pack).
In 2013 a SC reverse engineering project by Fabien Sanglard with a reconstructed source code variant became available on GitHub as the original source code was most probably lost in the take over of Origin by EA ("abandonware").
In August 1993 Computer Gaming World stated that "Strike is not and does not attempt to be a high-fidelity simulation ... It focuses on action and combat" and "is designed to get players in the air and having fun in the shortest amount of time", with a "much gentler learning curve" than Falcon 3.0 or Red Baron and better graphics than F-117 Stealth Fighter 2.0 or Jetfighter. In December the magazine described the game as "probably the most hardware-intensive game yet released". In April 1994 the magazine said that the CD version's additional difficulty levels, improvement to the "admittedly enhanced combat sequences" including a more realistic F-16 flight model, and the expansion missions made it "the best option".
In 1994, PC Gamer UK named Strike Commander's CD-ROM release the 36th best computer game of all time. The editors called it "the game as it should have been in the first place, and [...] one of the best CD titles so far." In 1996, Computer Gaming World ranked Strike Commander as the 13th top vaporware title in computer game history (due 1991, delivered 1993), stating "The haze you see from the cockpit is emblematic of this title's troubled development on the bleeding edge of technology."
- "Strike Commander". PC Zone (1): 8. April 1993. ISSN 0967-8220. OCLC 173325816.
- Strike Commander - Simulations-Klassiker jetzt über GOG.com veröffentlicht on Gamestar.de (german)
- Sanglard, Fabien (2014-01-22). "Reverse Engineering Strike Commander". Retrieved 2014-01-23.
Most people assume the source codes and gold versions of all finished games were stored in a Vault somewhere at EA. But after getting in touch with people at Wing Commander CIC, it appeared that all the source code was lost when the company closed.[...]On his first day one developer managed to delete the full 900MB of Strike Commander source tree.
- libRealSpace on github.com
- Basham, Tom (August 1993). "Origin's Strike Commander". Computer Gaming World. p. 130. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Schuytema, Paul C. (December 1993). "In Search Of... The Ultimate Game Machine". Computer Gaming World. pp. 83–85. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
- "Invasion Of The Data Stashers". Computer Gaming World. April 1994. pp. 20–42.
- Staff (April 1994). "The PC Gamer Top 50 PC Games of All Time". PC Gamer UK (5): 43–56.
- CGW 148 The 15 Vaporware Title in Computer Game History