History VideoGame / WingCommander

21st Apr '16 1:05:38 PM erforce
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** You have [[Franchise/StarWars Luke Skywalker]] dropping a bomb in a trench run to save the good guys, not to mention said pilot name is [[Film/TopGun Maverick]]. And if you lose in ''Wing Commander III'', you get a nice apocalyptic scene where [[Film/TheTerminator a furry cat foot crushes a human skull during a nuclear holocaust]].

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** You have [[Franchise/StarWars Luke Skywalker]] dropping a bomb in a trench run to save the good guys, not to mention said pilot name is [[Film/TopGun Maverick]]. And if you lose in ''Wing Commander III'', you get a nice apocalyptic scene where [[Film/TheTerminator [[Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay a furry cat foot crushes a human skull during a nuclear holocaust]].
18th Apr '16 6:48:27 AM Nohbody
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Added DiffLines:

* WaveMotionGun: The Nephilim has the Kraken, whose plasma cannon can destroy an entire fleet in one shot. Later it was equipped on the TCS ''Midway'', after being reverse engineered from a captured example, though the human version needed extra help to kill an entire fleet.
18th Jan '16 3:59:05 PM CharlesPhipps
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* ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer Privateer]]'': Grayson Burroughs is a Han Solo {{Expy}} just trying to make a living in a CrapsackWorld of space pirates, slavers, drug-dealers, and worse (some of which he can participate in).

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* ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer Privateer]]'': Grayson Burroughs Burrows is a Han Solo {{Expy}} just trying to make a living in a CrapsackWorld of space pirates, slavers, drug-dealers, and worse (some of which he can participate in).
18th Jan '16 3:55:59 PM CharlesPhipps
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* '[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer Privateer 2: The Darkening]]'': A DolledUpInstallment. It begins with the player character awakening from cryogenic slumber and discovering people are out to kill him.

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* '[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer Privateer 2: The Darkening]]'': A DolledUpInstallment. It begins with the player character awakening from cryogenic slumber and discovering people are out to kill him.
18th Jan '16 3:45:30 PM CharlesPhipps
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* ''VideoGame/StrikeCommander'':

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* ''VideoGame/StrikeCommander'':
''VideoGame/StrikeCommander'': Sort of. It takes place in the TimeMarchesOn Near-Future of 2011 with conventional fighter planes duking it out for supremacy in a very plot-driven series of missions.
18th Jan '16 3:44:15 PM CharlesPhipps
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In addition to this, there are numerous {{Expansion Pack}}s, [[Literature/WingCommander tie-in novels]], a couple spin-offs (including the ''VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer'' series and to the lesser extent ''VideoGame/StrikeCommander''), a SpiritualSuccessor in the form of ''VideoGame/{{Starlancer}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Freelancer}}'', [[WesternAnimation/WingCommanderAcademy a Saturday morning cartoon]], and [[Film/WingCommander a movie]].

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This is in addition to the spin offs:

* ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer Privateer]]'': Grayson Burroughs is a Han Solo {{Expy}} just trying to make a living in a CrapsackWorld of space pirates, slavers, drug-dealers, and worse (some of which he can participate in).
* '[[VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer Privateer 2: The Darkening]]'': A DolledUpInstallment. It begins with the player character awakening from cryogenic slumber and discovering people are out to kill him.
* ''VideoGame/StrikeCommander'':

In addition to this, there are numerous {{Expansion Pack}}s, [[Literature/WingCommander tie-in novels]], a couple spin-offs (including the ''VideoGame/WingCommanderPrivateer'' series and to the lesser extent ''VideoGame/StrikeCommander''), spin-offs, a SpiritualSuccessor in the form of ''VideoGame/{{Starlancer}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Freelancer}}'', [[WesternAnimation/WingCommanderAcademy a Saturday morning cartoon]], and [[Film/WingCommander a movie]].
18th Jan '16 11:48:25 AM CharlesPhipps
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* WhatTheHellHero:
** If Blair pursues Hobbes in ''Wing Commander III'', Vaquero [[spoiler:gets killed in a carrier defense mission]] and Captain Eisen calls him out on it.
** Blair to Admiral Tolwyn in the endgame of ''Wing Commander IV'', if done a bit more subtly than normal.
18th Jan '16 11:33:50 AM Nohbody
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-->''Break and Attack!''

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-->''Break ->''Break and Attack!''
18th Jan '16 10:46:25 AM CharlesPhipps
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'''The series features six main games:'''
* ''Wing Commander'', in which your nearly-SilentProtagonist becomes a hotshot pilot aboard the TCS ''Tiger's Claw'', a famed carrier in the Terran Confederation serving in the Vega sector of space. It made use of a fully-orchestrated (if MIDI) VariableMix, helping to make Sound Blaster a household name in computers.
* ''Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi'', which starts out with the ''Claw'' being destroyed by Kilrathi [[InvisibilityCloak Stealth Fighters]] ([[StealthInSpace which can turn invisible]]) while trying to attack a major enemy command post. Your character finds himself unfairly blamed, and vows to clear his name, getting his chance ten years later. Its use of digitized voices finished cementing Sound Blaster's fame.
* ''Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger'', in which the series moves to rendered 3D graphics and FullMotionVideo, involving several big-name stars; it was marketed as "The First Interactive Movie." Blair helps take the war to the Kilrathi one more time, but not without cost.
* ''Wing Commander IV: the Price of Freedom'' takes place two years after the end of the war, after Blair has retired and... [[CallToAgriculture become a farmer]] on a [[SingleBiomePlanet desert planet]]. Instead of [[ShoutOut buying some droids]], he's re-activated to investigate unrest out on the frontier, where the difference between friend and foe isn't quite as clear-cut as it used to be.

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'''The series features six seven main games:'''
* ''Wing Commander'', ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderTheKilrathiSaga Wing Commander]]'', in which your nearly-SilentProtagonist becomes a hotshot pilot aboard the TCS ''Tiger's Claw'', a famed carrier in the Terran Confederation serving in the Vega sector of space. It made use of a fully-orchestrated (if MIDI) VariableMix, helping to make Sound Blaster a household name in computers.
* ''Wing ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderTheKilrathiSaga Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi'', Kilrathi]]'', which starts out with the ''Claw'' being destroyed by Kilrathi [[InvisibilityCloak Stealth Fighters]] ([[StealthInSpace which can turn invisible]]) while trying to attack a major enemy command post. Your character finds himself unfairly blamed, and vows to clear his name, getting his chance ten years later. Its use of digitized voices finished cementing Sound Blaster's fame.
* ''Wing ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderTheKilrathiSaga Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger'', Tiger]]'', in which the series moves to rendered 3D graphics and FullMotionVideo, involving several big-name stars; it was marketed as "The First Interactive Movie." Blair helps take the war to the Kilrathi one more time, but not without cost.
* ''Wing ''[[VideoGame/WingCommanderIVThePriceOfFreedom Wing Commander IV: the Price of Freedom'' Freedom]]'' takes place two years after the end of the war, after Blair has retired and... [[CallToAgriculture become a farmer]] on a [[SingleBiomePlanet desert planet]]. Instead of [[ShoutOut buying some droids]], he's re-activated to investigate unrest out on the frontier, where the difference between friend and foe isn't quite as clear-cut as it used to be.



[[folder: Wing Commander 1-3]]
* AerialCanyonChase: In the original ''Wing Commander'', one of your fellow pilots suggests that asteroid fields are great equalizers when you're outnumbered. Asteroids are great shields, and you only have to concentrate on not hitting them, while your pursuers have to divide their attention between shooting you and not crashing. Sooner or later, they're more likely to screw up than you are. While it actually didn't work out that way in that game, it sometimes does in the later games.
* AirstrikeImpossible: The final mission of ''Wing Commander III'' was supposed to be this, with staying in the canyons on the way to the fault target to avoid attracting the attention of infinitely respawning Ekapshii, but a glitch in the transition from the space leg of the mission to the atmosphere leg allowed the "one time" cloak to be used again, making it trivially easy to get there, by cloaking and flying above the mountains in a straight line. (And, heck, even if you don't use the cloak, so long as you're in good condition at the start and have plenty of afterburner fuel left, the engine can only throw two Ekapshii at you at a time, so it's ''easier'' to just burn straight for the target rather than try to navigate the canyon.)
* ApocalypseHow:
** In ''Wing Commander III'', ApocalypseHow/{{Class 3a}} is the potential fate for Locanda IV due to Kilrathi bioweapons, rendering the planet completely uninhabitable for centuries. As per the {{novelization}}, canonically the ''Victory'''s wing fails to intercept the bioweapons.
** The Temblor Bomb's destruction of Kilrah at the conclusion of ''Wing Commander III'' qualifies as ApocalypseHow/{{Class 6}}. [[http://www.wcnews.com/newestshots/full/kilrah.gif The core and mantle of the planet is still there, but the crust has pretty much been rendered into one giant asteroid belt.]]
** The ''Behemoth'' test at Loki IV blows the planet apart completely, in a ApocalypseHow/ClassX manner.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: In ''Wing Commander III'', while the Kilrathi dreadnaught isn't totally invulnerable, it's ''much'' more prone to damage from shooting at it inside the hangar, where there the fast-recharging shields don't protect. The Kilrathi homeworld itself is attacked on a major fault line with a special bomb designed to "literally shake the planet apart," as Paladin described it.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** The Behemoth is a PlanetKiller, and that's [[EarthShatteringKaboom always awesome]]. But, [[TimTaylorTechnology 500,000,000 gigawatts]]? An [[AttackItsWeakPoint easily targeted vulnerable spot]]? [[FlyingBrick Slow as molasses]]? Its existence is a reflection of the fact that the Confederation has been slowly losing the war with the Kilrathi.
** The Temblor Bomb had elements of this. It took up half the missile loadout on the Excalibur fighter, was only viable due to Kilrah's unstable tectonics, was extremely difficult to develop, and had to be fired with incredible precision. Despite this, it was successfully used.
** Both weapons are justified in-universe, however, as desperation moves by Confed: they're losing the war and ''need'' a knock-out blow before they go down. Despite the impracticality of both weapons, Confed develops them out of extreme necessity.
* TheBattleDidntCount: In the final Loki series mission of ''Wing Commander III'', you're given the option to engage [[BigBad Prince Thrakhath]] at the end of the mission, but [[TimedMission your carrier is about to jump out of the system]], so if you stop to engage Thrakhath you won't make it home, and wind up stranded in the system (game over). However, if you conserve your missiles in the earlier parts, you can [[MacrossMissileMassacre salvo-fire all of them]] and run for the carrier while the missiles track him down. If they make the kill before you land you get the death message, but at the end of the final mission in the game he shows up again as if nothing had happened to him in the Loki system.[[note]]This only works in the original version. The ''Kilrathi Saga'' compilation changed the coding so that the second he dies the carrier jumps out, even if there's time left on the countdown.[[/note]]
* BreakHimByTalking: Blair's ShutUpHannibal (below) takes the wind out of an incipient HannibalLecture.
* BreakingSpeech: Prince Thrakhath's rant in ''Wing Commander III'' during the mission in which the ''Behemoth'' is destroyed, in which Angel's fate, ominously cut away from earlier in the game, is shown.
* CallAHumanAMeatbag: The felinoid Kilrathi refer to the humans as "hairless apes" and similar terms.
* CanonName: Blair[[note]] '''Bl'''ue + H'''air''' = Blair[[/note]] became the {{Player Character}}'s official name when the series went to FullMotionVideo, prior to which you could select a last name as well as callsign. His callsign, "Maverick," was made canon in the {{novelization}} of ''Wing Commander III''.
* CatsAreMean: The Kilrathi, obviously. Dropping bioweapons on helpless planets (among other things) generally doesn't count as "playing nice".
* CatFolk: The Kilrathi. Big furry ProudWarriorRace with cat ears.
* CharacterSelectForcing: In ''Wing Commander III'', if you continue to choose to fly with Hobbes over the other pilots, past the first mission, you get called on the carpet for it by Captain Eisen, and morale suffers from the show of favoritism.
* ChewOutFakeOut: In ''Wing Commander III'', [[TheCaptain Eisen]] pulls [[PlayerCharacter Blair]] aside just before he's to have a simulator duel against visiting [[AcePilot test pilot "Flash"]] as part of a challenge, after Flash ignores a scramble call and stays in bed while everyone else is out defending their carrier. It looks like Eisen is about to chew Blair out for acting rashly in issuing the challenge, but instead he offers some advice: "Kick the little twerp's ass."
* ChromaKey: ''Wing Commander III'' had absolutely no sets whatsoever: it was filmed completely on greenscreen, and the sets computer-generated. This beats films like ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'' and ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', by at least half a decade.
* CliffHanger: ''Wing Commander II'' ended with [[TheDragon Prince Thrakhath]] bragging to the Kilrathi Emperor about the utter destruction of the Confederation's 6th fleet in Deneb Sector, with the last words on the screen being "To be continued in Wing Commander III".
* CompilationRerelease: ''Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga''. The first three games, re-released for Windows 95 and adjusted to run at the correct speeds on a modern computer. Also included remastered audio and music, as well as an expanded manual and a calendar listing many important dates in the Wing Commander universe. After it went out of print, it was known to reliably sell for over $100 on Website/EBay. At least one copy sold for over ''three hundred dollars''. The release of DOSBox allowing the original games (which usually sell for $20 or less on eBay) to run on modern computers has since lessened the need for ''The Kilrathi Saga'', but it still often sells for above its original retail price on eBay.
* DeadMansHand: In ''II'', Spirit gets dealt the hand and [[spoiler:later kamikazes a Kilrathi-controlled space station]].
* DefiantToTheEnd: Two from ''Wing Commander III'':
** In the introduction, [[TheDragon Prince Thrakhath]] says this of Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux after she spits in his face when he's gloating about the capture of her and her special forces operatives. The player doesn't see it until later in the game, but after spitting in his face he [[spoiler:disembowels her with his claws in what the Kilrathi consider an honorable death, unlike the disintegration of the other humans.]]
** In the losing path if captured after failing to [[spoiler:destroy Kilrah]], the player is given the option for Blair to either give up and meekly accept defeat or to basically tell Thrakhath "screw you". [[spoiler:The former gets Blair disintegrated by guards behind him as not worthy of a "proper" Kilrathi death, while the latter earns him Angel's fate.]]
* TheDeterminator: In the ''Wing Commander'' series, the Kilrathi embody this trope. In fact, it's established in ''Wing Commander III'' that they ''literally'' don't know the meaning of the word "surrender" (even those few who are truly well-studied in Terran languages and culture seem to have trouble grasping the concept of it). The novelization of the third game has the surviving Kilrathi struggling with the human word after they're defeated.
* EarthShatteringKaboom:
** The ''Wing Commander III'' Temblor Bomb, which ends the Kilrathi war by blowing up their seismically-unstable homeworld. Weirdly, Luke Skywalker is the one who drops the bomb - after being "required to maneuver straight down this trench and skim the surface to ''this point''"...
** See also the [[WaveMotionGun Behemoth]]
* EasyLogistics: In ''Wing Commander II'', one of the {{escort mission}}s is for a transport hauling missiles to resupply the ''Concordia'', and if you fail the mission you're supposed to not have any more missiles. However, failure doesn't seem to actually affect whether or not your fighter goes out with missiles in later missions.
* EliteMooks: The Drakhai, in ''Wing Commander II''. Slightly better defensive stats for their ships, and an AI set one level above the regular opponents were the primary distinguishing characteristics, aside from their specific taunt "You cannot defeat the Drakhai" (ignoring that you regularly did just that).
* TheEmpire: The Kilrathi Empire is a ProudWarriorRace empire bent on conquest of the rest of the galaxy.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: In the games, the Locanda missions from ''Wing Commander III''.
** We see this if you fail ''Wing Commander III''. Not die, but fail enough missions and you'll see the Kilrathi invade Earth, reducing it to something similar to post Judgment Day from ''Film/TheTerminator'', complete with a ShoutOut to the human skull being crushed beneath a metal foot.
** If you are on the losing path of ''Wing Commander III'' and get picked up in your ejection pod in the final mission, Blair gets to meet Thrakhath face to face. Blair states states that [[LaResistance you'll never "truly" conquer Earth]], but Thrakhath shrugs this off, stating that Earth's water rich environment is of little interest to his people anyway, strongly implying that genocide is the fate that humanity now faces.
* EnemyMine: Thrakhath escapes and steals a fighter to avenge himself against his traitorous kin Khasra, in ''Wing Commander II''. Blair pursues. ''[[CoolVsAwesome The two temporarily join forces]].''
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: All the pilots from the first game will quickly establish their personality when you meet them. In ''Wing Commander III'' when first visiting the bar we get a scene where Hobbes walks in, Cobra storms out since she hates Kilrathi, and Vagabond tries to cheer Hobbes up who is upset that she is so angry with him.
* FantasticNamingConvention: The Kilrathi use [Given Name] ''nar'' [Clan Name]. The ''nar'' is always lower case, and usually italicised. The Clan Name is usually the name of the place or planet where the Kilrathi was born. The novels add ''hrai'' to the name of one Kilrathi, meaning 'of the family of'. The character in question starts as Kirha ''hrai'' Ralgha ''nar'' Hhallas (Kirha, of the family of Ralgha, who is from Hhallas), and after being ordered to serve the human pilot Ian 'Hunter' St John, renames himself Kirha ''hrai'' Hunter ''nar'' Aussie (Kirtha, of the family of Hunter, who is from Australia). This part doesn't come up anywhere else though.
* FantasticSlurs:
** "Hairless ape" is used by Kilrathi on Terrans, along with other simian-related insults. Terrans call the Kilrathi "furballs" usually, with occasional feline-related comments (including, for example, a reference to the taunt target being made into kitty litter, from ''Armada'').
** There's also a lighthearted scene in one of the novels where the Cats reveal they've intercepted old TV transmissions from Earth: "WesternAnimation/BugsBunny screws his mother!" ("Wait, that's ''not'' an insult? [[InsultBackfire You genuinely think it's funny]]? Man, ''now'' what am I gonna yell?")
* FantasyConflictCounterpart: The series was conceived as a sci-fi version of World War II aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific Theatre (with some ''Film/TopGun'' mixed in).
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** The first three Wing Commander games are the Pacific theater of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII [[AC:[[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!]]]] Confed are [[{{Eagleland}} the United States]], while the Kilrathi are ImperialJapan, complete with godlike emperor, warrior codes, scheming henchmen, inability to understand surrender, the whole nine yards.
** The Kilrathi also bear more than a passing resemblance to the Aztecs (ironically for many of the same reasons): divine imperial authority, warrior codes and edicts, semi-formal but very much in place caste system, and VERY heavy emphasis on ritual violence (a great deal of the reason they started the war in the first place was so they could have [=POWs=] to sacrifice back on the home planet as they are religiously obligated to have, which is not unlike the Aztecs save for the fact that the latter just wanted sacrifices and just had to attack to get them in anywhere near adequate numbers).
** The ending of ''Wing Commander III'' in particular - the Kilrathi's final surrender aboard the TCS ''Victory'' is based on that of the Japanese aboard the USS ''Missouri'' at the end of WorldWar2.
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: In ''Wing Commander II'', the ''Confederation'' class dreadnoughts (including the player home ship, the TCS ''Concordia'') had the [[WaveMotionGun Phase Transit Cannon]] as an integral part of the design's keel. The Kilrathi design from which the PTC was copied, aboard the Sivar dreadnought from ''The Secret Missions'' that used its gun to destroy the Confederation's Goddard colony was also a fixed mount. As the latter wasn't of any use against anything smaller than planetoids, maneuverability of the platform wasn't an issue.
* FourFingeredHands: The Kilrathi are shown (usually) as having 4 digits, and use Base 8 numbering.
* GotVolunteered: Spirit does this to Maverick in ''Secret Missions.'' Yeah, you heard that right.
* HilariousOuttakes: The official strategy guide for ''Wing Commander III'' included a CD with, among other things, a collection of filming outtakes, including the Star Wars one mentioned elsewhere on this page, found after the end of the closing credits.
* HoldingBackThePhlebotinum: The ''Concordia's'' Phase-Transit Cannon in ''Wing Commander II'' broke down every time a Kilrathi corvette was in the area for no reason other than to let the corvette pretend to be a threat to the ''Concordia''... never mind the antimatter guns that the ''Concordia'' had and the corvette didn't.
* HopelessBossFight: In ''Wing Commander III'', the plot called for was for you to lose your wingmen in battle with an enemy ace and make the final attack alone: however, this was achieved by having the ace magically [[RespawningEnemies respawn]] for so long as any wingmen not lost prior to that point were present. This lead to a surreal battle in which you might shoot him down a dozen times in a row, using up all of your missiles and countermeasures, and have no way of knowing what [[GuideDangIt obscure action]] would cause things to proceed.\\
\\
This was apparently fixed in later versions, where wingmen ''vanish'' when autopiloting through the previous waypoints, regardless of whether they were still alive. Arguably even weirder.\\
\\
Similarly, forgetting to use a certain technology could also lead to a constant stream of respawning wingmen. Finally, if you fail a critical mission and end up in the losing path, the final mission involves a confrontation with a unique Kilrathi capital ship which is almost impossible to kill. The expectation appeared to be for the player character to die trying so that the Bad Ending could roll. While that ship ''can'' actually be destroyed with [[DeathOfAThousandCuts sufficient effort]], as you were not meant to destroy it, the game has no idea what to do when you beat it so just leaves you hanging in space.
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: Concordia's phase-transit cannon in ''Wing Commander II'' is based on the main gun from the wreck of the Kilrathi dreadnaught ''Sivar'' destroyed in ''The Secret Missions''.
* IncrediblyObviousBomb: One of these (complete with flashing red digital countdown) takes out the ''Concordia'' flight deck towards the beginning of ''Wing Commander II''.
* IntelligentGerbil: The Kilrathi are explicitly described as having evolved from felinoid predators, with much of that past shaping their behavior in the present: They often use pack tactics with one pilot serving as bait to lure potential prey into a trap, and see no problems with pouncing from concealment for a surprise attack.
* InterfaceScrew:
** In ''Wing Commander II'', when you take too much damage your [[ExplosiveInstrumentation instruments explode]] leaving you without the benefit of whatever it was for the rest of the mission. If you're on a torpedo run and your targeting computer bites it, SaveScumming is your only hope to avoid losing the mission.
** If you choose to let Blair [[DrowningMySorrows drown his sorrows]] prior to one mission in ''Wing Commander III'', your controls will randomly reverse during the mission. Fortunately, your only real goal for that mission is to survive until your carrier is about to bug out. [[spoiler: There's no saving the Behemoth]].
* InvisibilityCloak:
** Kilrathi "Strakha" stealth fighters have them; they figure strongly into the plot of the second game, in that they blew up the ''Claw'' and cost Blair his career in doing so because no one else has ever seen them before. (Pretend you're a jury at a military trial, listening to a pilot claim he was standing a proper watch but impossibly sneaky ships blew up his carrier anyway. ''You'' do the math.) Then, in a RunningGag, every time you fight them in the second game, your flight recorder is blown out, so you ''still'' can't prove they exist.
** One particular level early in ''Wing Commander III'' features a "Skipper" stealth torpedo, named for the way it fades in and out of cloak (to refresh its target lock) like a stone skipping across a pond. If it hits the carrier you're trying to escort, the mission fails. Later, said torpedoes are used again, loaded with enough bioweapons to kill umpteen-million humans and then launched against a human colony.
** The "Strakha" fighters are still in use in ''Wing Commander III'', but then you get to fight back with the Excalibur later on (only thing is that the Excalibur's cloaking device is experimental and only works twice in a mission).
* IShallTauntYou: ''Wing Commander'' has this as a basic tactic: taunting Kilrathi fighters has a chance of making them drop ''whatever'' they're doing to attack you (instead of whatever you're [[EscortMission escorting]]).
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: The losing ending of ''Wing Commander III'' shows the Kilrathi landing on a ruined Earth.
* IWarnedYou: In ''Wing Commander II'', nearly ten years after taking the fall for the loss of the ''Tiger's Claw'', Blair continues to encounter Kilrathi stealth fighters but is coldly refuted every time due to lack of flight recorder evidence; Come the battle for K'tithrak Mang and the revelation of [[spoiler: Jazz's]] betrayal, his claims are finally proven true.
* IwoJimaPose: The [[MultipleEndings Good Ending]] of the original game features an Iwo Jima-style flag raising cutscene.
* LastStand: The UnwinnableByDesign Sol mission series in the losing ending of ''Wing Commander III'' consists of endless waves of enemy fighters along with a Kilrathi Dreadnought fighting a desperate (and failing) battle to hold off the triumphant Kilrathi armada.
* {{Leitmotif}}: ''Wing Commander II'' has a number of prominent leitmotifs, most notably the grim, minor-key brass fanfare accompanying [[TheDragon Prince Thrakhath]], the syncopated piano motif for [[FaceHeelTurn Jazz]], and the theme that plays during the love scenes between Blair and Angel.
* LoadingScreen: ''Wing Commander III'' on a bare-minimum 486 PC is truly an exercise in patience, requiring at least several minutes as the game loads data from the CD, leaving you looking at the start-up checklist shown on a display screen for a long time.
* MacGuffin: a communications officer is murdered in ''Wing Commander II'' when he comes across the traitor [[spoiler:Jazz]] transmitting information to the Kilrathi; even better, the traitor leaves someone else's pilot's-wings insignia in the dead man's hand. LampshadeHanging: the officer is named "Specialist MacGuffin."
* ManchurianAgent: Blair's old friend [[spoiler: Hobbes]] is shown to be one in ''Wing Commander III''. [[spoiler:His TriggerPhrase is [[TitleDrop "Heart of the Tiger"]]]].
* AMillionIsAStatistic: In ''Wing Commander III'', with one bomb Blair (the PlayerCharacter) [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroys a planet]], killing billions of Kilrathi, it's not focused on nearly as much as the deaths pilots like [[spoiler:Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux]], [[spoiler:Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez]], [[spoiler:Laurel "Cobra" Buckley]], or the fate of [[spoiler:Locanda IV, homeworld of Robin "Flint" Peters]].
* MoralDissonance: In Wing Commander III, the main character tells one of his pilots that what sets their side apart from the Kilrathi is that they don't kill innocents. Later the same game, you [[spoiler:destroy the Kilrathi homeworld]] without a second thought, killing countless innocents.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Subverted in the two [[ExpansionPack addons]] for ''Wing Commander II''. A [[TheMole mole]] is working for an organization [[spoiler:called the Society of Mandarins,]] which believes humanity should surrender to the Kilrathi, and change them from within[[spoiler:, loosely similar to their historical counterpart from ancient China]]. They apparently didn't read the history of World War 2.
* MyFistForgivesYou: In ''Wing Commander III'', when Blair finally finds out that his good friend and comrade Paladin [[spoiler:has known about Angel's death for a while, and been lying to him]], the player has the option to punch him in the face. If you do, he accepts it as deserved and the ship's morale is raised; if not, he dares you to, and the ship's morale is lowered.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Hobbes makes an off-hand mention that his callsign comes from a human philosopher, obviously intended to be Thomas Hobbes.
* NonstandardGameOver: Each game has at least one bad ending, in addition to the "standard" whoops-you-died-in-combat Game Over; sometimes the two are lumped together (thus implying that the PlayerCharacter's death has led to disaster).
** If the Tiger's Claw gets destroyed in the original ''Wing Commander'', you see a message saying "With your carrier destroyed, [[YouCantGoHomeAgain you drift endlessly through the void]]..." and are sent back to the title screen.
** "Lose" two consecutive systems in ''Wing Commander II'', and you're sent back to your backwater station. [[spoiler: The ''Concordia'' is destroyed six weeks later off-screen.]]
* NationalStereotypes: The first games plays up your Japanese, Chinese, Australian, Belgian, African and American pilots quite a bit. From the second game we still have your 26th century samurai and EverythingSoundsSexierInFrench ColonelBadass, but the trope gets toned down in later games.
* NonMammalMammaries: Wing Commander seems to be a little confused about this. In the ''Secret Missions 1'' [[ExpansionPack add-on]] to the original ''Wing Commander'', the Kilrathi priestess is shown with a multi-part bra covering three sets of human-style breasts. The intro to ''Prophecy'', however, has a wall drawing of a nude Kilrathi female with one pair of human-style breasts.
* NotSoImaginaryFriend: In ''Wing Commander II'', every now and then you're assigned a solo mission. Invariably, you run up against the Kilrathi's stealth fighters on these missions, and when you return to base you discover that your flight recorder has malfunctioned. Add in the fact that your character claimed to see stealth fighters ten years prior when your carrier from the first game was destroyed - a claim that was never verified and is still in fact ridiculed - and it's not terribly hard to see why nobody believes you.
* OutrunTheFireball: In ''Wing Commander III'', after Blair drops the [[EarthShatteringKaboom Temblor Bomb]] on Kilrah, the game switches to a cutscene of his fighter trying to outrun the PlanarShockwave of the exploding planet, but fails to avoid crippling damage, leaving him stranded in space until his fighter is {{tractor|beam}}ed aboard a Kilrathi Dreadnought.
* PlotlineDeath: [[spoiler:Spirit]] in ''Wing Commander II''; in ''Wing Commander III'', [[spoiler:chasing Hobbes results in Vaquero's death; Flint's fate in the novelization, dying in the final mission]]; [[spoiler:Vagabond]] in ''Wing Commander IV''; [[spoiler:Dallas and Hawk]] in ''Prophecy''
* ProudWarriorRace: As a predatory species evolved from an unusually dangerous homeworld, the Kilrathi are disproportionately geared toward war and conquest. In a slight twist, they actually approve of deception and stealth as opposed to "honorable" combat (probably stemming from their feline evolutionary path: as any cat owner will tell you, deception and stealth are part of what cats ''do''). (Fortunately, the Kilrathi speak non-mangled English.)
* RecycledINSPACE: The Kilrathi war overall is very much the Pacific theater of UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 IN SPACE! There's focus on carriers and flight groups. The enemy culture revolves around warrior virtues, respect for strict hierarchy and is led by an emperor. The Behemoth and Temblor bomb can be viewed analogous to dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. The signing of the peace treaty between humans and Kilrathi is deliberately staged the same way as it was between Japan and USA.
* ReassignmentBackfire: at the beginning of ''Wing Commander II'' the main character has spent ten years on a space station in the backwater Gwynedd system, where he was assigned by an admiral who thinks he's a traitor, and hasn't flown a combat mission in all that time. Then, suddenly, the war comes to Gwynned.
* RedAlert: In the original game, the FighterLaunchingSequence included a shot of pilots running down a passageway to their ships while red lights were flashing for a red alert, even with missions that weren't thrown out in an emergency but were previously planned.
* RedBaron:
** The Kilrathi Aces in the games have a few of these. Bhurak Starkiller, Khajja the Fang/The Machine, Dahkhath (translates to 'Deathstroke'), and Bahktosh Redclaw.
** The Kilrathi consider Blair to be [[WorthyOpponent such a skilled pilot]] that they have named him Heart Of The Tiger.
* SpaceClouds: ''Wing Commander III'' featured one mission inside a nebula that obscured vision, but otherwise didn't really have any effect on the mission.
* TakeAThirdOption: In ''Wing Commander III'', at one point you're given a choice between kissing [[WrenchWench Rachel]] or Flint, which would make the one not chosen mad at you (and thus unavailable, leaving you to either fly short a wingman or configure your own ship loadout if you don't want to launch without missiles, respectively). However, you can choose to not kiss either of them by bypassing the decision scene entirely, and have both still available. Both will be unhappy with you, but only for Flint does that really matter, as lowered morale makes her flying less effective.

to:

[[folder: Wing Commander 1-3]]
Commander: Prophecy and Secret Ops]]
* AerialCanyonChase: In BugWar: The Nephilim from ''Prophecy'' and ''Secret Ops'' are an insect-looking race coming to sterilize the original ''Wing Commander'', one galaxy. Most missions have you flying against swarms of your fellow pilots suggests fighters and some involve you destroying entire fleets in a single sortie.
* CeilingCling: In ''Prophecy'', the boss alien of the invading Nephilim uses this to ambush [[spoiler:Commodore Blair]], when the latter has boarded the alien wormhole gate to try to shut it down before [[ZergRush humans get swarmed over by the Nephilim]].
* ClusterMissile: ''Prophecy'' and its sequel ''Secret Ops'' has the Tracker missile on higher-end fighters, which consists of four Friend or Foe missiles mounted to a common frame,
that asteroid fields are great equalizers when you're outnumbered. Asteroids are great shields, and you only have break off after running a certain distance to concentrate allow the individual missiles to track on not hitting them, while your pursuers have to divide whatever target meets their attention between shooting you targeting parameters.
* CompilationRerelease: On a slightly lesser scale, ''Prophecy''
and not crashing. Sooner or later, they're more likely to screw up than you are. While it actually didn't work out that way in that game, it sometimes does in the later games.
* AirstrikeImpossible: The final mission of
''Secret Ops'' were combined into ''Wing Commander III'' Prophecy Gold'', with a new manual that combined material from the manuals of the individual games into one book, and added some details not seen previously... but did not include the [[AllThereInTheManual online material that provided the meat of the plot for Secret Ops]] after it was taken offline from EA's website.
* ConvergingStreamWeapon: ''Prophecy''
was supposed to be this, have the Tiamat dreadnought equipped with staying a version of the [[WaveMotionGun "fleet killer" plasma gun]] mounted in the canyons on Kraken, with the way to the fault target to avoid attracting the attention of infinitely respawning Ekapshii, but a glitch in the transition from the space leg green glowing tips of the mission to Tiamat's arms forming the atmosphere leg allowed the "one time" cloak to be used again, making beam, but technical difficulties prevented it trivially easy to get there, by cloaking and flying above the mountains in a straight line. (And, heck, even if you don't use the cloak, so long as you're in good condition at the start and have plenty of afterburner fuel left, the engine can only throw two Ekapshii at you at a time, so from being implemented.
* CouldntFindAPen: In ''Prophecy'',
it's ''easier'' not shown, but in a discussion between Zero, Dallas, and Hawk in the pilot's lounge, it's mentioned that the Kilrathi aboard the kat fleet that got wasted earlier in the game used their blood to just burn straight write "Knathrak" (roughly equivalent of Ragnarok for them) on the target rather than try to navigate the canyon.)
deck.
* ApocalypseHow:
** In
CutscenePowerToTheMax: Mostly averted in ''Wing Commander III'', ApocalypseHow/{{Class 3a}} is Secret Ops'', which used the potential fate game engine for Locanda IV due to Kilrathi bioweapons, rendering cutscenes, albeit tweaked in some instances (ex: the planet completely uninhabitable for centuries. As per the {{novelization}}, canonically the ''Victory'''s wing fails to intercept the bioweapons.
** The Temblor Bomb's destruction of Kilrah at the conclusion of ''Wing Commander III'' qualifies as ApocalypseHow/{{Class 6}}. [[http://www.wcnews.com/newestshots/full/kilrah.gif The core and mantle of the planet is still there, but the crust has pretty much been rendered into one giant asteroid belt.]]
** The ''Behemoth'' test at Loki IV blows the planet apart completely, in a ApocalypseHow/ClassX manner.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: In ''Wing Commander III'', while the Kilrathi dreadnaught isn't totally invulnerable, it's ''much'' more prone to damage from shooting at it inside the hangar, where there the fast-recharging shields don't protect. The Kilrathi homeworld itself is attacked on a major fault line with a special bomb designed to "literally shake the planet apart," as Paladin described it.
* AwesomeButImpractical:
** The Behemoth is a PlanetKiller, and that's [[EarthShatteringKaboom always awesome]]. But, [[TimTaylorTechnology 500,000,000 gigawatts]]? An [[AttackItsWeakPoint easily targeted vulnerable spot]]? [[FlyingBrick Slow as molasses]]? Its existence is a reflection of the fact that the Confederation has been slowly losing the war with the Kilrathi.
** The Temblor Bomb had elements of this. It took up half the missile loadout on the Excalibur fighter, was only viable due to Kilrah's unstable tectonics, was extremely difficult to develop, and had to be fired with incredible precision. Despite this, it was
Plunkett successfully used.
** Both weapons are justified in-universe, however,
engaging a Hydra, as desperation moves by Confed: they're losing the war and ''need'' a knock-out blow before they go down. Despite the impracticality of both weapons, Confed develops them out of extreme necessity.
* TheBattleDidntCount: In the final Loki series mission of ''Wing Commander III'', you're given the option to engage [[BigBad Prince Thrakhath]] at the end of the mission, but [[TimedMission your carrier is about to jump out of the system]], so if you stop to engage Thrakhath you won't make it home, and wind up stranded in the system (game over). However, if you conserve your missiles in the earlier parts, you can [[MacrossMissileMassacre salvo-fire all of them]] and run for the carrier while the missiles track him down. If they make the kill before you land you get the death message, but at the end of the final mission in
the game he shows up again as if nothing had happened to him engine can't target components in the Loki system.[[note]]This only works in manner required of the original version. The ''Kilrathi Saga'' compilation changed player's bomber seeking to kill a capship).
* CyanidePill: In
the coding so that "bad" ending of ''Secret Ops'' (fail to destroy the second he dies command ship before it opens the carrier jumps out, even if gate to Nephilim space), the captain of the ''Cerberus'' tells pilots there's time left a pill beneath their seat that will kill them, so they don't have to experience the horror of [[HordeOfAlienLocusts endless waves of aliens overrunning the universe]].
* DramaticSpaceDrifting: During the credits of ''Special Operations 2'', [[spoiler:Jazz]]'s helmet is seen drifting through space by itself, implying that its wearer didn't eject fast enough after losing the dogfight in the final mission.
* DroolHello: In ''Prophecy'', the first hint [[spoiler:Commodore Blair]] gets of [[CeilingCling an alien waiting to pounce on him]], while he's trying to shut down the alien wormhole gate before [[ZergRush getting swarmed by the Nephilim]], is its drool landing
on the countdown.rifle he was carrying.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: The ''Sivar's'' main gun in ''Special Ops'' was sufficient to destroy a whole colony from orbit.
* EliteMooks: And finally, the "Ace" pilots from ''Prophecy'', who, though they flew an excellent fighter (by raw statistics, the best ship in the game), had no personality whatsoever.
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: Roughly half way through ''Prophecy'', the [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum Nephilim]] [[WaveMotionGun fleet-killer plasma gun]] is mounted to the TCS ''Midway'', positioned between the two halves of the forward part of the ship.[[note]]The game's artists weren't aware of the plot requiring the weapon when the ''Midway'' was designed. That the gun had a place to go ready-made was happy coincidence.
[[/note]]
* BreakHimByTalking: Blair's ShutUpHannibal (below) takes GameplayAllyImmortality: For some reason the wind out of an incipient HannibalLecture.
* BreakingSpeech: Prince Thrakhath's rant in ''Wing Commander III'' during the
very last mission in which of ''Prophecy'' plays this completely straight: none of your wingmen can get shot down or need to eject, even if they're {{Redshirt}}s with no plot significance.
* GenerationXerox:
the ''Behemoth'' is destroyed, in which Angel's fate, ominously cut away four main characters of ''Prophecy'' are clearly meant to take the torch up from earlier characters in the game, is shown.
* CallAHumanAMeatbag: The felinoid Kilrathi refer to the humans as "hairless apes" and similar terms.
* CanonName: Blair[[note]] '''Bl'''ue + H'''air''' = Blair[[/note]] became the {{Player Character}}'s official name when the series went to FullMotionVideo, prior to which you could select a last name as well as callsign. His callsign, "Maverick," was made canon in the {{novelization}} of ''Wing Commander III''.
* CatsAreMean: The Kilrathi, obviously. Dropping bioweapons on helpless planets (among other things) generally doesn't count as "playing nice".
* CatFolk: The Kilrathi. Big furry ProudWarriorRace with cat ears.
* CharacterSelectForcing: In ''Wing Commander III'', if you continue to choose to fly with Hobbes over the other pilots, past
the first mission, you get called four games. Casey is Blair, Maestro is Maniac, Stiletto is Angel and Zero is... hmm, who woulda thought Doomsday was important? Must've been [[AscendedExtra his major role in the novels]].
* HoldingBackThePhlebotinum: The alien fleet killer plasma cannon mounted
on the carpet for it by Captain Eisen, and morale suffers ''Midway'', in ''Prophecy'', was salvaged from a spaceship that comes from ''another dimension'', and given the show of favoritism.
* ChewOutFakeOut: In ''Wing Commander III'', [[TheCaptain Eisen]] pulls [[PlayerCharacter Blair]] aside
jury-rigged nature can only safely be fired once.[[note]]In a "You Lose" cutscene, they ''do'' try firing it again. It just before he's to have explodes.[[/note]]
---> '''Captain Wilford:''' "...
a simulator duel against visiting [[AcePilot test pilot "Flash"]] as part of a challenge, after Flash ignores a scramble call fire-and-forget weapon: we fired it once, and stays in bed while everyone else is out defending their carrier. It looks like Eisen is now we can forget about to chew Blair out for acting rashly in issuing the challenge, but instead he offers some advice: "Kick the little twerp's ass.firing it again."
* ChromaKey: ''Wing Commander III'' had absolutely no sets whatsoever: it was filmed completely on greenscreen, and the sets computer-generated. This beats films like ''Film/SkyCaptainAndTheWorldOfTomorrow'' and ''Film/ThePhantomMenace'', by at least half a decade.
* CliffHanger: ''Wing Commander II'' ended with [[TheDragon Prince Thrakhath]] bragging to the Kilrathi Emperor about the utter destruction of the Confederation's 6th fleet in Deneb Sector, with the last words on the screen being "To be continued in Wing Commander III".
* CompilationRerelease: ''Wing Commander: The Kilrathi Saga''. The first three games, re-released for Windows 95 and adjusted to run at the correct speeds on a modern computer. Also included remastered audio and music, as well as an expanded manual and a calendar listing many important dates in the Wing Commander universe. After it went out of print, it was known to reliably sell for over $100 on Website/EBay. At least one copy sold for over ''three hundred dollars''. The release of DOSBox allowing the original games (which usually sell for $20 or less on eBay) to run on modern computers has since lessened the need for ''The Kilrathi Saga'', but it still often sells for above its original retail price on eBay.
* DeadMansHand: In ''II'', Spirit gets dealt the hand and [[spoiler:later kamikazes a Kilrathi-controlled space station]].
* DefiantToTheEnd: Two from ''Wing Commander III'':
** In the introduction, [[TheDragon Prince Thrakhath]] says this of Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux after she spits in his face when he's gloating about the capture of her and her special forces operatives. The player doesn't see it until later in the game, but after spitting in his face he [[spoiler:disembowels her with his claws in what the Kilrathi consider an honorable death, unlike the disintegration of the other humans.]]
** In the losing path if captured after failing to [[spoiler:destroy Kilrah]], the player is given the option for Blair to either give up and meekly accept defeat or to basically tell Thrakhath "screw you". [[spoiler:The former gets Blair disintegrated by guards behind him as not worthy of a "proper" Kilrathi death, while the latter earns him Angel's fate.]]
* TheDeterminator: In the ''Wing Commander'' series, the Kilrathi embody this trope. In fact, it's established in ''Wing Commander III'' that they ''literally'' don't know the meaning of the word "surrender" (even those few who are truly well-studied in Terran languages and culture seem to have trouble grasping the concept of it). The novelization of the third game has the surviving Kilrathi struggling with the human word after they're defeated.
* EarthShatteringKaboom:
** The ''Wing Commander III'' Temblor Bomb, which ends the Kilrathi war by blowing up their seismically-unstable homeworld. Weirdly, Luke Skywalker is the one who drops the bomb - after being "required to maneuver straight down this trench and skim the surface to ''this point''"...
** See also the [[WaveMotionGun Behemoth]]
* EasyLogistics: In ''Wing Commander II'', one of the {{escort mission}}s is for a transport hauling missiles to resupply the ''Concordia'', and if you fail the mission you're supposed to not have any more missiles. However, failure doesn't seem to actually affect whether or not your fighter goes out with missiles in later missions.
* EliteMooks: The Drakhai, in ''Wing Commander II''. Slightly better defensive stats for their ships, and an AI set one level above the regular opponents were the primary distinguishing characteristics, aside from their specific taunt "You cannot defeat the Drakhai" (ignoring that you regularly did just that).
* TheEmpire: The Kilrathi Empire is a ProudWarriorRace empire bent on conquest of the rest of the galaxy.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: In the games, the Locanda missions from ''Wing Commander III''.
** We see this if you fail ''Wing Commander III''. Not die, but fail enough missions and you'll see the Kilrathi invade Earth, reducing it to something similar to post Judgment Day from ''Film/TheTerminator'', complete with a ShoutOut to the human skull being crushed beneath a metal foot.
** If you are on the losing path of ''Wing Commander III'' and get picked up in your ejection pod in the final mission, Blair gets to meet Thrakhath face to face. Blair states states that [[LaResistance you'll never "truly" conquer Earth]], but Thrakhath shrugs this off, stating that Earth's water rich environment is of little interest to his people anyway, strongly implying that genocide is the fate that humanity now faces.
* EnemyMine: Thrakhath escapes and steals a fighter to avenge himself against his traitorous kin Khasra, in ''Wing Commander II''. Blair pursues. ''[[CoolVsAwesome The two temporarily join forces]].''
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: All the pilots from the first game will quickly establish their personality when you meet them. In ''Wing Commander III'' when first visiting the bar we get a scene where Hobbes walks in, Cobra storms out since she hates Kilrathi, and Vagabond tries to cheer Hobbes up who is upset that she is so angry with him.
* FantasticNamingConvention: The Kilrathi use [Given Name] ''nar'' [Clan Name]. The ''nar'' is always lower case, and usually italicised. The Clan Name is usually the name of the place or planet where the Kilrathi was born. The novels add ''hrai'' to the name of one Kilrathi, meaning 'of the family of'. The character in question starts as Kirha ''hrai'' Ralgha ''nar'' Hhallas (Kirha, of the family of Ralgha, who is from Hhallas), and after being ordered to serve the human pilot Ian 'Hunter' St John, renames himself Kirha ''hrai'' Hunter ''nar'' Aussie (Kirtha, of the family of Hunter, who is from Australia). This part doesn't come up anywhere else though.
* FantasticSlurs:
** "Hairless ape" is used by Kilrathi on Terrans, along with other simian-related insults. Terrans call the Kilrathi "furballs" usually, with occasional feline-related comments (including, for example, a reference to the taunt target being made into kitty litter, from ''Armada'').
** There's also a lighthearted scene in one of the novels where the Cats reveal they've intercepted old TV transmissions from Earth: "WesternAnimation/BugsBunny screws his mother!" ("Wait, that's ''not'' an insult? [[InsultBackfire You genuinely think it's funny]]? Man, ''now'' what am I gonna yell?")
* FantasyConflictCounterpart: The series was conceived as a sci-fi version of World War II aircraft carrier operations in the Pacific Theatre (with some ''Film/TopGun'' mixed in).
* FantasyCounterpartCulture:
** The first three Wing Commander games are the Pacific theater of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII [[AC:[[RecycledInSpace IN SPACE!]]]] Confed are [[{{Eagleland}} the United States]], while the Kilrathi are ImperialJapan, complete with godlike emperor, warrior codes, scheming henchmen, inability to understand surrender, the whole nine yards.
** The Kilrathi also bear more than a passing resemblance to the Aztecs (ironically for many of the same reasons): divine imperial authority, warrior codes and edicts, semi-formal but very much in place caste system, and VERY heavy emphasis on ritual violence (a great deal of the reason they started the war in the first place was so they could have [=POWs=] to sacrifice back on the home planet as they are religiously obligated to have, which is not unlike the Aztecs save for the fact that the latter just wanted sacrifices and just had to attack to get them in anywhere near adequate numbers).
** The ending of ''Wing Commander III'' in particular - the Kilrathi's final surrender aboard the TCS ''Victory'' is based on that of the Japanese aboard the USS ''Missouri'' at the end of WorldWar2.
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: In ''Wing Commander II'', the ''Confederation'' class dreadnoughts (including the player home ship, the TCS ''Concordia'') had the [[WaveMotionGun Phase Transit Cannon]] as an integral part of the design's keel. The Kilrathi design from which the PTC was copied, aboard the Sivar dreadnought from ''The Secret Missions'' that used its gun to destroy the Confederation's Goddard colony was also a fixed mount. As the latter wasn't of any use against anything smaller than planetoids, maneuverability of the platform wasn't an issue.
* FourFingeredHands: The Kilrathi are shown (usually) as having 4 digits, and use Base 8 numbering.
* GotVolunteered: Spirit does this to Maverick in ''Secret Missions.'' Yeah, you heard that right.
* HilariousOuttakes: The official strategy guide for ''Wing Commander III'' included a CD with, among other things, a collection of filming outtakes, including the Star Wars one mentioned elsewhere on this page, found after the end of the closing credits.
* HoldingBackThePhlebotinum: The ''Concordia's'' Phase-Transit Cannon in ''Wing Commander II'' broke down every time a Kilrathi corvette was in the area for no reason other than to let the corvette pretend to be a threat to the ''Concordia''... never mind the antimatter guns that the ''Concordia'' had and the corvette didn't.
* HopelessBossFight: In ''Wing Commander III'', the plot called for was for you to lose your wingmen in battle with an enemy ace and make the final attack alone: however, this was achieved by having the ace magically [[RespawningEnemies respawn]] for so long as any wingmen not lost prior to that point were present. This lead to a surreal battle in which you might shoot him down a dozen times in a row, using up all of your missiles and countermeasures, and have no way of knowing what [[GuideDangIt obscure action]] would cause things to proceed.\\
\\
This was apparently fixed in later versions, where wingmen ''vanish'' when autopiloting through the previous waypoints, regardless of whether they were still alive. Arguably even weirder.\\
\\
Similarly, forgetting to use a certain technology could also lead to a constant stream of respawning wingmen. Finally, if you fail a critical mission and end up in the losing path, the final mission involves a confrontation with a unique Kilrathi capital ship which is almost impossible to kill. The expectation appeared to be for the player character to die trying so that the Bad Ending could roll. While that ship ''can'' actually be destroyed with [[DeathOfAThousandCuts sufficient effort]], as you were not meant to destroy it, the game has no idea what to do when you beat it so just leaves you hanging in space.
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: Concordia's phase-transit cannon The TCS ''Midway'' in ''Wing Commander II'' is based on ''Prophecy'' gets this later in the main gun game, in the form of a [[WaveMotionGun fleet-killer plasma cannon]]. See also the human [[InvisibilityCloak cloaking devices]], which are derived in part from the wreck of the captured Kilrathi dreadnaught ''Sivar'' destroyed in ''The Secret Missions''.
* IncrediblyObviousBomb: One of these (complete with flashing red digital countdown) takes out the ''Concordia'' flight deck towards the beginning of ''Wing Commander II''.
* IntelligentGerbil: The Kilrathi are explicitly described as having evolved from felinoid predators, with much of that past shaping their behavior in the present: They often use pack tactics with one pilot serving as bait to lure potential prey into a trap, and see no problems with pouncing from concealment for a surprise attack.
* InterfaceScrew:
** In ''Wing Commander II'', when you take too much damage your [[ExplosiveInstrumentation instruments explode]] leaving you without the benefit of whatever it was for the rest of the mission. If you're on a torpedo run and your targeting computer bites it, SaveScumming is your only hope to avoid losing the mission.
** If you choose to let Blair [[DrowningMySorrows drown his sorrows]] prior to one mission in ''Wing Commander III'', your controls will randomly reverse during the mission. Fortunately, your only real goal for that mission is to survive until your carrier is about to bug out. [[spoiler: There's no saving the Behemoth]].
* InvisibilityCloak:
** Kilrathi "Strakha" stealth fighters have them; they figure strongly into the plot of the second game, in that they blew up the ''Claw'' and cost Blair his career in doing so because no one else has ever seen them before. (Pretend you're a jury at a military trial, listening to a pilot claim he was standing a proper watch but impossibly sneaky ships blew up his carrier anyway. ''You'' do the math.) Then, in a RunningGag, every time you fight them in the second game, your flight recorder is blown out, so you ''still'' can't prove they exist.
** One particular level early in ''Wing Commander III'' features a "Skipper" stealth torpedo, named for the way it fades in and out of cloak (to refresh its target lock) like a stone skipping across a pond. If it hits the carrier you're trying to escort, the mission fails. Later, said torpedoes are used again, loaded with enough bioweapons to kill umpteen-million humans and then launched against a human colony.
** The "Strakha" fighters are still in use in ''Wing Commander III'', but then you get to fight back with the Excalibur later on (only thing is that the Excalibur's cloaking device is experimental and only works twice in a mission).
* IShallTauntYou: ''Wing Commander'' has this as a basic tactic: taunting Kilrathi fighters has a chance of making them drop ''whatever'' they're doing to attack you (instead of whatever you're [[EscortMission escorting]]).
devices.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: The losing ending of ''Wing Commander III'' shows the Kilrathi landing on a ruined Earth.
* IWarnedYou:
In ''Wing Commander II'', nearly ten years after taking the fall for the loss of the ''Tiger's Claw'', Blair continues to encounter Kilrathi stealth fighters but is coldly refuted every time due to lack of flight recorder evidence; Come the battle for K'tithrak Mang and the revelation of [[spoiler: Jazz's]] betrayal, his claims are finally proven true.
* IwoJimaPose: The [[MultipleEndings Good Ending]] of the original game features an Iwo Jima-style flag raising cutscene.
* LastStand: The UnwinnableByDesign Sol mission series in the losing ending of ''Wing Commander III'' consists of endless waves of enemy fighters along with a Kilrathi Dreadnought fighting a desperate (and failing) battle to hold off the triumphant Kilrathi armada.
* {{Leitmotif}}: ''Wing Commander II'' has a number of prominent leitmotifs, most notably the grim, minor-key brass fanfare accompanying [[TheDragon Prince Thrakhath]], the syncopated piano motif for [[FaceHeelTurn Jazz]], and the theme that plays during the love scenes between Blair and Angel.
* LoadingScreen: ''Wing Commander III'' on a bare-minimum 486 PC is truly an exercise in patience, requiring at least several minutes as the game loads data from the CD, leaving you looking at the start-up checklist shown on a display screen for a long time.
* MacGuffin: a communications officer is murdered in ''Wing Commander II'' when he comes across the traitor [[spoiler:Jazz]] transmitting information to the Kilrathi; even better, the traitor leaves someone else's pilot's-wings insignia in the dead man's hand. LampshadeHanging: the officer is named "Specialist MacGuffin."
* ManchurianAgent: Blair's old friend [[spoiler: Hobbes]] is shown to be one in ''Wing Commander III''. [[spoiler:His TriggerPhrase is [[TitleDrop "Heart of the Tiger"]]]].
* AMillionIsAStatistic: In ''Wing Commander III'', with one bomb Blair (the PlayerCharacter) [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroys a planet]], killing billions of Kilrathi, it's not focused on nearly as much as the deaths pilots like [[spoiler:Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux]], [[spoiler:Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez]], [[spoiler:Laurel "Cobra" Buckley]], or the fate of [[spoiler:Locanda IV, homeworld of Robin "Flint" Peters]].
* MoralDissonance: In Wing Commander III, the main character tells one of his pilots that what sets their side apart from the Kilrathi is that they don't kill innocents. Later the same game, you [[spoiler:destroy the Kilrathi homeworld]] without a second thought, killing countless innocents.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong: Subverted in the two [[ExpansionPack addons]] for ''Wing Commander II''. A [[TheMole mole]] is working for an organization [[spoiler:called the Society of Mandarins,]] which believes humanity should surrender to the Kilrathi, and change them from within[[spoiler:, loosely similar to their historical counterpart from ancient China]]. They apparently didn't read the history of World War 2.
* MyFistForgivesYou: In ''Wing Commander III'', when Blair finally finds out that his good friend and comrade Paladin [[spoiler:has known about Angel's death for a while, and been lying to him]], the player has the option to punch him in the face. If you do, he accepts it as deserved and the ship's morale is raised; if not, he dares you to, and the ship's morale is lowered.
* NamedAfterSomebodyFamous: Hobbes makes an off-hand mention that his callsign comes from a human philosopher, obviously intended to be Thomas Hobbes.
* NonstandardGameOver: Each game has at least one bad ending, in addition to the "standard" whoops-you-died-in-combat Game Over; sometimes the two are lumped together (thus implying that the PlayerCharacter's death has led to disaster).
** If the Tiger's Claw gets destroyed in the original ''Wing Commander'', you see a message saying "With your carrier destroyed, [[YouCantGoHomeAgain you drift endlessly through the void]]..." and are sent back to the title screen.
** "Lose" two consecutive systems in ''Wing Commander II'', and you're sent back to your backwater station. [[spoiler: The ''Concordia'' is destroyed six weeks later off-screen.]]
* NationalStereotypes: The first games plays up your Japanese, Chinese, Australian, Belgian, African and American pilots quite a bit. From the second game we still have your 26th century samurai and EverythingSoundsSexierInFrench ColonelBadass, but the trope gets toned down in later games.
* NonMammalMammaries: Wing Commander seems to be a little confused about this. In the ''Secret Missions 1'' [[ExpansionPack add-on]] to the original ''Wing Commander'', the Kilrathi priestess is shown with a multi-part bra covering three sets of human-style breasts. The intro to
''Prophecy'', however, has a wall drawing of a nude Kilrathi female with one pair of human-style breasts.
* NotSoImaginaryFriend: In ''Wing Commander II'', every now and then you're assigned a solo mission. Invariably, you run up against
the Kilrathi's stealth fighters on these missions, and when you return to base you discover that aliens end up destroying you, your flight recorder has malfunctioned. Add carrier, and, presumably, the last hope of staving off the invasion.
* KilledMidSentence: Averted 99% of the time in ''Prophecy[=/=]Secret Ops'', where a "dead" ship would just keep spinning out of control until its pilot could give its last words. Depending on how much comm chatter was
in the fact that your character claimed to see stealth fighters ten years prior when your carrier from queue, it could hang out for as much as 30 seconds.
* LegallyDead: [[spoiler: Christopher Blair]] is declared missing and presumed dead in
the first game was destroyed - [[AllThereInTheManual online content]] for ''Secret Ops''.
* MoreDakka: ''Secret Ops'' introduced
a claim that was never verified and is still number of new guns, most of which fired a ''lot'' faster than anything in fact ridiculed - and it's not terribly hard to see why nobody believes you.
''Prophecy''.
* OutrunTheFireball: In ''Wing Commander III'', after Blair drops NoOneCouldSurviveThat: [[spoiler: Christopher Blair]] gets left behind on the [[EarthShatteringKaboom Temblor Bomb]] on Kilrah, the game switches to a cutscene of his fighter trying to outrun the PlanarShockwave last tower of the exploding planet, but fails to avoid crippling damage, leaving him stranded in space until his fighter is {{tractor|beam}}ed aboard a Kilrathi Dreadnought.
* PlotlineDeath: [[spoiler:Spirit]] in ''Wing Commander II''; in ''Wing Commander III'', [[spoiler:chasing Hobbes results in Vaquero's death; Flint's fate
wormhole generator in the novelization, dying last mission of ''Prophecy.'' Due to the tower itself being pulled into the wormhole, of course, they NeverFoundTheBody. He is declared LegallyDead in ''Secret Ops''.
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Dallas in ''Prophecy'' signed up for a tour
in the final mission]]; [[spoiler:Vagabond]] military, but it had been over a decade since the last war with no new enemies in ''Wing Commander IV''; [[spoiler:Dallas sight, and Hawk]] in ''Prophecy''
he was only there because having military service his resume would help his future career prospects.
* ProudWarriorRace: As a predatory species evolved from an unusually dangerous homeworld, OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: The 'Nephilim' are called that because the Kilrathi are disproportionately geared toward war mythology around them is broadly similar to the Nephilim in Jewish folklore, and conquest. In a slight twist, they actually approve of deception and stealth as opposed to "honorable" combat (probably stemming from their feline evolutionary path: as any cat owner will tell you, deception and stealth are part of what cats ''do''). (Fortunately, the Kilrathi speak non-mangled English.)
word is hard for humans to pronounce. Their actual name is unknown.
* RecycledINSPACE: TheRemnant: The Kilrathi war overall is very much are this in ''Prophecy''. Subverted in that they aren't the Pacific theater of UsefulNotes/WorldWar2 IN SPACE! There's focus on carriers antagonists and flight groups. The enemy culture revolves actually are willing to help their former enemies, the Terrans.
* StarfishLanguage: In ''Prophecy'', the invading Insectoid Race initially communicates with unintelligible buzzing sounds until
around warrior virtues, respect for strict hierarchy the third mission when we find out that they've already deciphered our language and is led by an emperor. The Behemoth can now at least broadcast in it... ''for the explicit purpose of taunting and Temblor bomb can be viewed analogous creeping us out''. Quoth Maestro: "I think I liked it better when I couldn't understand them!"
* TitleConfusion: ''Prophecy'' is sometimes referred
to dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. The signing of the peace treaty between humans and Kilrathi is deliberately staged the same way by fans as it was between Japan and USA.
* ReassignmentBackfire: at the beginning of ''Wing
"Wing Commander II'' 5", as the main character has spent ten years on a space station in the backwater Gwynedd system, where he was assigned by an admiral who thinks he's a traitor, and hasn't flown a combat mission in all that time. Then, suddenly, the war comes to Gwynned.
* RedAlert: In the original game, the FighterLaunchingSequence included a shot of pilots running down a passageway to their ships while red lights were flashing for a red alert, even with missions that weren't thrown out in an emergency but were previously planned.
* RedBaron:
** The Kilrathi Aces in the games have a few of these. Bhurak Starkiller, Khajja the Fang/The Machine, Dahkhath (translates to 'Deathstroke'), and Bahktosh Redclaw.
** The Kilrathi consider Blair to be [[WorthyOpponent such a skilled pilot]] that they have named him Heart Of The Tiger.
* SpaceClouds: ''Wing
fifth "main line" Wing Commander III'' featured one mission inside a nebula that obscured vision, but otherwise didn't really have any effect on game, even though it's never been used outside the mission.
* TakeAThirdOption: In ''Wing Commander III'', at one point you're given
fandom using it as a choice between kissing [[WrenchWench Rachel]] or Flint, which would make working title, when almost nothing of the one game was yet known to anyone not chosen mad at you (and thus unavailable, leaving you to either fly short a wingman or configure your own ship loadout if you don't want to launch without missiles, respectively). However, you can choose to not kiss either of them by bypassing the decision scene entirely, and have both still available. Both will be unhappy involved with you, but only for Flint does that really matter, as lowered morale makes her flying less effective.production of the game.



[[folder: Wing Commander IV]]
* AttackItsWeakPoint: In ''Wing Commander IV'', the only way to kill the ''Vesuvius'' without [[DeathOfAThousandCuts taking all day to do it]] is to drop the [[KillItWithFire Flashpak]] in the hangar, where they don't use the quite effective armor found on the outer hull.
* BackInTheSaddle: After the end of the Kilrathi War (at the end of Wing Commander III), Blair [[CallToAgriculture retires to a farm]] on [[ActorAllusion a distant desert planet]]. Like a number of his fellow officers (such as Vagabond), he took a billet in the Reserves for the extra money. Wing Commander IV sees Blair and Vagabond both getting recalled to duty to deal with a crisis in the Border Worlds.
* ButThouMust: In ''Wing Commander IV'', you're given two chances to defect to the Union of Border Worlds. If you don't take the second chance, infinite waves of UBW bombers spawn until your carrier is destroyed, ending the game. If you eject, it's court martial.
* CallToAgriculture: After the Kilrathi War, Blair retired to a farm on a distant planet, but is [[InHarmsWay happy to be recalled to active service]]. If you win the game without compromising Blair's morals (that is to say, if [[WideEyedIdealist Panther's]] morale is higher than [[SociopathicHero Hawk's]]), Blair becomes a VeteranInstructor, teaching new pilots how to fly starfighters.
* DeadMansHand: Vagabond gets the hand, and [[spoiler:dies later in a mission that goes badly wrong]]. Bonus points for it being one of the few times the card shark had lost... and to Maniac, no less.
* DepopulationBomb: The Gen-Select bioweapon in ''Wing Commander IV'' releases nanobots that kill everyone who doesn't meet the Black Lance's genetic standards. This weapon killed roughly 90% of the population on the planet it was used on.
* DramaticSpaceDrifting: When investigating the transport destroyed in the intro of ''Wing Commander IV'', you may see [[StrippedToTheBone a charred skeleton]] floating around in space.
* EasterEgg: In ''Wing Commander IV'', typing "animal" when the terminal text is scrolling, ''before'' it gets to the prompt for a callsign, results in a text based "20 questions" type game called "Animal Gump". Replacing "animal" with "chicken" gives an alternate version of the credits, with strange comments.
* EliteMooks: In addition to the few named opponents (other than Seether, which ones depended on [[spoiler: when you defect]], ''Wing Commander IV'' also had nameless, generic "ace" pilots.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: [[WellIntentionedExtremist Admiral Tolwyn]], in ''Wing Commander IV'', believed this to be the fate of humanity without his plan, but in the {{novelization}} realized the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Black Lance]] could have served an unmodified humanity to the same effect, just before he killed himself. See also the fate of the Sirius colony in the novel ''Fleet Action'', and almost the fate of Earth until Max Krueger's BigDamnHeroes moment.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: {{Lampshaded}} in the ''Wing Commander IV'' novelization: "You have a mechanic named ''Pliers?''"
* ExplosionPropulsion: In ''Wing Commander IV'' cutscenes, [[TheDragon Seether]] does this utilizing mines deployed from his own fighter, in one instance using it to allow a bomber he was flying to go to escape. [[StoryAndGameplaySegregation The player is unable to do it]], but in the {{novelization}} of ''[=WC4=]'' Blair uses the technique to allow his damaged fighter to catch up to Seether and destroy him.
-->'''Hawk:''' When I signed up for Confed there was a rookie pilot on my ship. He was the only guy I ever knew who could do that trick.
* HannibalLecture: See ShutUpHannibal below, [[spoiler:Tolwyn's]] impending Hannibal Lecture at the end of WC4 can be beautifully and brutally cut short by Colonel Blair.
* HesDeadJim: ''Wing Commander IV'', with [[spoiler:Vagabond's]] death. However, the same guards who had just killed him were still shooting, so his companion not going to check is understandable.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: The story of [[spoiler: Tolwyn]]'s life, and probably also that of many of the Black Lance in addition.
** Hawk is well on his way down this path in ''Wing Commander IV'', [[spoiler: and falls off the slippery slope in ''Prophecy''.]]
* HomeGuard: The Border Worlds Militia in ''Wing Commander IV'' started off as one of these. They are essentially a small modern navy when the game takes place.
** Blair and Vagabond both are members of the Confederation Space Forces Reserves when ''Wing Commander IV'' starts, and the events of the game see them recalled to active duty.
* HumanityIsSuperior: Subverted in ''Wing Commander IV'', in that [[spoiler:Tolwyn]] didn't believe it was, without genetic manipulation and changing to a warrior society like the Kilrathi.
* InterfaceScrew: ''Wing Commander IV'' has a few missions where the odds are against you due to a jamming ship that pretty much screws over most of your instruments, including your shields and your missiles, which will not lock. What makes it even more of a kick to the face is that the enemy fighters are not affected at all by the jamming due to [[{{handwavium}} frequency-agile avionics and tempesting]] (as per the {{novelization}}), so they have working shields, and missiles that lock. On the upside, though, [[MacrossMissileMassacre salvo-firing off all of your "dumbfire" unguided missiles]] will put a quick end to the jammer ship, once you locate it.
* InvisibilityCloak: ''Wing Commander IV'' has the Dragon, and after you capture a batch of them you get to see a cutscene showing exactly how the visual cloaking works (while cloaked Dragons are completely undetectable by other ships, they can still be detected by other Dragons and are seen by pilots as transparent and glasslike, but nevertheless cannot be attacked with guided missiles). Also in IV, you get a pseudo-cloaking device for your ship early in the game (though you have the option to fly without it), which according to chief tech Robert "Pliers" Sykes who developed it, it only hides your ship from radar detection (still, when it's on, you can't be spotted visually by the enemy), and it only works a few times in a mission.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: In ''Wing Commander IV'', if you fail during the final sequence (which is entirely conversational) you end up shown being put before a firing line, to be executed for treason. Fail several times in the first few mission sets, they'll show Blair back at the bar in Nephele after he's been booted from the service, watching a newscast of a declaration of war against the UBW.
* KillItWithFire: The Flashpak, in ''Wing Commander IV'', destroys ships by igniting their internal atmosphere, burning them out from the inside.
* LittleNo: If you get caught by Confed in ''Wing Commander IV'', Blair utters a quiet but defiant "no" when asked if he wants to be blindfolded for his execution.
* LostForever: ''Wing Commander IV'', where if you don't take certain missions in the Speradon mission set, or skip it entirely for the Circe set, you miss out on one of two special missiles and/or a fighter (which was arguably more interesting than the other "superfighter", as it had a flaw that kept the ship from being {{munchkin}}), depending on the choices you make.
* {{Nanomachines}}: The [=GenSelect=] Device, from ''Wing Commander IV'', are cannister-delivered nanomachines that can be programmed to attack anyone that doesn't fit the user's "ideal" genetics, causing them to die a horrible death similar to that of Ebola, turned UpToEleven.
* NonStandardGameOver: In ''Wing Commander IV'', if you repeatedly screw up your early missions, say, by immediately ejecting on launch for every mission you get, Tolwyn hands you your pink slip in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pte2qHwsc2k hysterically dark cut scene]].
* PercussiveMaintenance: Inverted in ''Wing Commander IV'', during the cutscene where Pliers (ship's mechanic) has found a disc of unknown purpose in a captured Dragon (unknown to the characters, that is; the players know it as a Flash-pak, a bomb capable of burning out a entire capital ship if it hits ''anywhere'' on the hull). He begins his investigation by dropping it on the deck, while everyone around him dives for cover - when it doesn't explode, he then picks it up and resigns himself to some actual work.
* PlotCoupon: ''Wing Commander IV'', the Dragon fighter.
* RedAlert: In ''Wing Commander IV'', Blair's OhCrap moment about the heavy carrier ''Vesuvius'' turning around to engage the light carrier ''Intrepid'' is immediately followed by him calling "Battlestations!", and rushing off to his fighter to launch in defense of the ''Intrepid''.
* ShutUpHannibal: During the endgame of ''Wing Commander IV'', the revelation about TheDragon's involvement [[spoiler:in the Genetic Enhancement Program]].
--> '''[[spoiler: Tolwyn:]]''' He's more of a warrior than you will ever be, Colonel! He is excellence personified! He is--\\
'''Blair:''' He is ''dead''!
* StrippedToTheBone: As mentioned in DramaticSpaceDrifting, above, you may see one or more charred skeletons floating in space when investigating the wreckage of the transport destroyed in the intro of ''Wing Commander IV''.

to:

[[folder: Wing [[folder:Wing Commander IV]]
Arena]]
* AttackItsWeakPoint: In ''Wing Commander IV'', AttackDrone: ''Arena'' has this as a PowerUp, giving the only way to kill the ''Vesuvius'' without [[DeathOfAThousandCuts taking all day to do it]] is to drop the [[KillItWithFire Flashpak]] player a copy of their ship that flies in the hangar, where they don't use the quite effective armor found on the outer hull.
* BackInTheSaddle: After the end of the Kilrathi War (at the end of Wing Commander III), Blair [[CallToAgriculture retires to a farm]] on [[ActorAllusion a distant desert planet]]. Like a number of his fellow officers (such as Vagabond), he took a billet in the Reserves for the extra money. Wing Commander IV sees Blair and Vagabond both getting recalled to duty to deal
formation with a crisis in the Border Worlds.
* ButThouMust: In ''Wing Commander IV'', you're given two chances to defect to the Union of Border Worlds. If you don't take the second chance, infinite waves of UBW bombers spawn
them until your carrier is destroyed, ending the game. If you eject, it's court martial.
destroyed.
* CallToAgriculture: After the Kilrathi War, Blair retired to a farm on a distant planet, but is [[InHarmsWay happy to be recalled to active service]]. If you win the game without compromising Blair's morals (that is to say, if [[WideEyedIdealist Panther's]] morale is higher than [[SociopathicHero Hawk's]]), Blair becomes a VeteranInstructor, teaching new pilots how to fly starfighters.
* DeadMansHand: Vagabond gets the hand, and [[spoiler:dies later in a mission that goes badly wrong]]. Bonus points for it being one of the few times the card shark had lost... and to Maniac, no less.
* DepopulationBomb:
GreatOffscreenWar: The Gen-Select bioweapon in ''Wing Commander IV'' releases nanobots that kill everyone who doesn't meet the Black Lance's genetic standards. This weapon killed roughly 90% of the population on the planet it was used on.
* DramaticSpaceDrifting: When investigating the transport destroyed in the intro of ''Wing Commander IV'', you may see [[StrippedToTheBone a charred skeleton]] floating around in space.
* EasterEgg: In ''Wing Commander IV'', typing "animal" when the terminal text is scrolling, ''before'' it gets to the prompt for a callsign, results in a text based "20 questions" type game called "Animal Gump". Replacing "animal"
war with "chicken" gives an alternate version of and eventually over the credits, with strange comments.
* EliteMooks: In addition to the few named opponents (other than Seether, which ones depended on [[spoiler: when you defect]], ''Wing Commander IV'' also had nameless, generic "ace" pilots.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: [[WellIntentionedExtremist Admiral Tolwyn]], in ''Wing Commander IV'', believed this to be the fate of humanity without his plan, but in the {{novelization}} realized the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Black Lance]] could have served an unmodified humanity to the same effect, just before he killed himself. See also the fate of the Sirius colony in the novel ''Fleet Action'', and almost the fate of Earth until Max Krueger's BigDamnHeroes moment.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: {{Lampshaded}} in the ''Wing Commander IV'' novelization: "You have a mechanic named ''Pliers?''"
* ExplosionPropulsion: In ''Wing Commander IV'' cutscenes, [[TheDragon Seether]] does this utilizing mines deployed from his own fighter, in one instance using it to allow a bomber he was flying to go to escape. [[StoryAndGameplaySegregation The player is unable to do it]], but in the {{novelization}} of ''[=WC4=]'' Blair uses the technique to allow his damaged fighter to catch up to Seether and destroy him.
-->'''Hawk:''' When I signed up for Confed there was a rookie pilot on my ship. He was the only guy I ever knew who could do that trick.
* HannibalLecture: See ShutUpHannibal below, [[spoiler:Tolwyn's]] impending Hannibal Lecture at the end of WC4 can be beautifully and brutally cut short by Colonel Blair.
* HesDeadJim: ''Wing Commander IV'', with [[spoiler:Vagabond's]] death. However, the same guards who had just killed him were still shooting, so his companion not going to check is understandable.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: The story of [[spoiler: Tolwyn]]'s life, and probably also that of many of the Black Lance in addition.
** Hawk is well on his way down this path in ''Wing Commander IV'', [[spoiler: and falls off the slippery slope in ''Prophecy''.]]
* HomeGuard: The Border Worlds Militia in ''Wing Commander IV'' started off as one of these. They are essentially a small modern navy when the game takes place.
** Blair and Vagabond both are members of the Confederation Space Forces Reserves when ''Wing Commander IV'' starts, and
Nephilim following the events of the game see them recalled ''Secret Ops'' is only referred to active duty.
* HumanityIsSuperior: Subverted in ''Wing Commander IV'', in that [[spoiler:Tolwyn]] didn't believe it was, without genetic manipulation and changing to a warrior society like the Kilrathi.
* InterfaceScrew: ''Wing Commander IV'' has a few missions where the odds are against you due to a jamming ship that pretty much screws over most of your instruments, including your shields and your missiles, which will not lock. What makes it even more of a kick to the face is that the enemy fighters are not affected at all by the jamming due to [[{{handwavium}} frequency-agile avionics and tempesting]] (as per the {{novelization}}), so they have working shields, and missiles that lock. On the upside, though, [[MacrossMissileMassacre salvo-firing off all of your "dumbfire" unguided missiles]] will put a quick end to the jammer ship, once you locate it.
* InvisibilityCloak: ''Wing Commander IV'' has the Dragon, and after you capture a batch of them you get to see a cutscene showing exactly how the visual cloaking works (while cloaked Dragons are completely undetectable by other ships, they can still be detected by other Dragons and are seen by pilots as transparent and glasslike, but nevertheless cannot be attacked with guided missiles). Also in IV, you get a pseudo-cloaking device for your ship early
in the manual for the game, primarily as an ExcusePlot for the setting.
* PassThroughTheRings: In ''Arena'', there's a PowerUp in the Bearpit
game (though that presents a game where you have the option to fly without it), which according to chief tech Robert "Pliers" Sykes who developed it, it only hides your ship from radar detection (still, when it's on, you can't be spotted visually by the enemy), through a series of rings, in order and it only works within a few times in a mission.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: In ''Wing Commander IV'', if you fail during the final sequence (which is entirely conversational) you end up shown being put before a firing line, to be executed for treason. Fail several times in the first few mission sets, they'll show Blair back at the bar in Nephele after he's been booted from the service, watching a newscast of a declaration of war against the UBW.
* KillItWithFire: The Flashpak, in ''Wing Commander IV'', destroys ships by igniting their internal atmosphere, burning them out from the inside.
* LittleNo: If you get caught by Confed in ''Wing Commander IV'', Blair utters a quiet but defiant "no" when asked if he wants to be blindfolded for his execution.
* LostForever: ''Wing Commander IV'', where if you don't take
certain missions amount of time. Finishing the 3 levels of the ring game in a single game session is worth an X-Box Live achievement.
* SignificantAnagram: In ''Star*Soldier'', the manual for ''Arena'', one of the entries
in the Speradon mission set, or skip it entirely for the Circe set, you miss out on one of two special missiles and/or timeline lists a fighter (which was arguably more interesting than the other "superfighter", "Rein Etorbs" as it had a flaw that kept the ship from being {{munchkin}}), depending on the choices you make.
* {{Nanomachines}}: The [=GenSelect=] Device, from ''Wing Commander IV'', are cannister-delivered nanomachines that can be programmed to attack anyone that doesn't fit the user's "ideal" genetics, causing them to die a horrible death similar to that of Ebola, turned UpToEleven.
* NonStandardGameOver: In ''Wing Commander IV'', if you repeatedly screw up your early missions, say, by immediately ejecting on launch for every mission you get, Tolwyn hands you your pink slip in a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pte2qHwsc2k hysterically dark cut scene]].
* PercussiveMaintenance: Inverted in ''Wing Commander IV'', during the cutscene where Pliers (ship's mechanic) has found a disc of unknown purpose in a captured Dragon (unknown to the characters, that is; the players know it as a Flash-pak, a bomb capable of burning out a entire capital ship if it hits ''anywhere'' on the hull). He begins his investigation by dropping it on the deck, while everyone around him dives for cover - when it doesn't explode, he then picks it up and resigns himself to some actual work.
* PlotCoupon: ''Wing Commander IV'', the Dragon fighter.
* RedAlert: In ''Wing Commander IV'', Blair's OhCrap moment about the heavy carrier ''Vesuvius'' turning around to engage the light carrier ''Intrepid'' is immediately followed by him calling "Battlestations!", and rushing off to his fighter to launch in defense of the ''Intrepid''.
* ShutUpHannibal: During the endgame of ''Wing Commander IV'', the revelation about TheDragon's involvement [[spoiler:in the Genetic Enhancement Program]].
--> '''[[spoiler: Tolwyn:]]''' He's more
an author of a warrior than you will ever be, Colonel! He is excellence personified! He is--\\
'''Blair:''' He is ''dead''!
* StrippedToTheBone: As mentioned
book series ''The Darkening''. Erin Roberts (brother of Chris) was in DramaticSpaceDrifting, above, you may see one or more charred skeletons floating in space when investigating the wreckage charge of the transport destroyed in the intro of ''Wing Commander IV''.what eventually became ''Privateer 2: The Darkening'' (originally titled "The Darkening").



[[folder: Wing Commander: Prophecy and Secret Ops]]
* BugWar: The Nephilim from ''Prophecy'' and ''Secret Ops'' are an insect-looking race coming to sterilize the galaxy. Most missions have you flying against swarms of fighters and some involve you destroying entire fleets in a single sortie.
* CeilingCling: In ''Prophecy'', the boss alien of the invading Nephilim uses this to ambush [[spoiler:Commodore Blair]], when the latter has boarded the alien wormhole gate to try to shut it down before [[ZergRush humans get swarmed over by the Nephilim]].
* ClusterMissile: ''Prophecy'' and its sequel ''Secret Ops'' has the Tracker missile on higher-end fighters, which consists of four Friend or Foe missiles mounted to a common frame, that break off after running a certain distance to allow the individual missiles to track on whatever target meets their targeting parameters.
* CompilationRerelease: On a slightly lesser scale, ''Prophecy'' and ''Secret Ops'' were combined into ''Wing Commander Prophecy Gold'', with a new manual that combined material from the manuals of the individual games into one book, and added some details not seen previously... but did not include the [[AllThereInTheManual online material that provided the meat of the plot for Secret Ops]] after it was taken offline from EA's website.
* ConvergingStreamWeapon: ''Prophecy'' was supposed to have the Tiamat dreadnought equipped with a version of the [[WaveMotionGun "fleet killer" plasma gun]] mounted in the Kraken, with the green glowing tips of the Tiamat's arms forming the beam, but technical difficulties prevented it from being implemented.
* CouldntFindAPen: In ''Prophecy'', it's not shown, but in a discussion between Zero, Dallas, and Hawk in the pilot's lounge, it's mentioned that the Kilrathi aboard the kat fleet that got wasted earlier in the game used their blood to write "Knathrak" (roughly equivalent of Ragnarok for them) on the deck.
* CutscenePowerToTheMax: Mostly averted in ''Wing Commander Secret Ops'', which used the game engine for rendering cutscenes, albeit tweaked in some instances (ex: the Plunkett successfully engaging a Hydra, as the game engine can't target components in the manner required of the player's bomber seeking to kill a capship).
* CyanidePill: In the "bad" ending of ''Secret Ops'' (fail to destroy the command ship before it opens the gate to Nephilim space), the captain of the ''Cerberus'' tells pilots there's a pill beneath their seat that will kill them, so they don't have to experience the horror of [[HordeOfAlienLocusts endless waves of aliens overrunning the universe]].
* DramaticSpaceDrifting: During the credits of ''Special Operations 2'', [[spoiler:Jazz]]'s helmet is seen drifting through space by itself, implying that its wearer didn't eject fast enough after losing the dogfight in the final mission.
* DroolHello: In ''Prophecy'', the first hint [[spoiler:Commodore Blair]] gets of [[CeilingCling an alien waiting to pounce on him]], while he's trying to shut down the alien wormhole gate before [[ZergRush getting swarmed by the Nephilim]], is its drool landing on the rifle he was carrying.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: The ''Sivar's'' main gun in ''Special Ops'' was sufficient to destroy a whole colony from orbit.
* EliteMooks: And finally, the "Ace" pilots from ''Prophecy'', who, though they flew an excellent fighter (by raw statistics, the best ship in the game), had no personality whatsoever.
* FixedForwardFacingWeapon: Roughly half way through ''Prophecy'', the [[ImportedAlienPhlebotinum Nephilim]] [[WaveMotionGun fleet-killer plasma gun]] is mounted to the TCS ''Midway'', positioned between the two halves of the forward part of the ship.[[note]]The game's artists weren't aware of the plot requiring the weapon when the ''Midway'' was designed. That the gun had a place to go ready-made was happy coincidence.[[/note]]
* GameplayAllyImmortality: For some reason the very last mission of ''Prophecy'' plays this completely straight: none of your wingmen can get shot down or need to eject, even if they're {{Redshirt}}s with no plot significance.
* GenerationXerox: the four main characters of ''Prophecy'' are clearly meant to take the torch up from characters in the first four games. Casey is Blair, Maestro is Maniac, Stiletto is Angel and Zero is... hmm, who woulda thought Doomsday was important? Must've been [[AscendedExtra his major role in the novels]].
* HoldingBackThePhlebotinum: The alien fleet killer plasma cannon mounted on the ''Midway'', in ''Prophecy'', was salvaged from a spaceship that comes from ''another dimension'', and given the jury-rigged nature can only safely be fired once.[[note]]In a "You Lose" cutscene, they ''do'' try firing it again. It just explodes.[[/note]]
---> '''Captain Wilford:''' "...a fire-and-forget weapon: we fired it once, and now we can forget about firing it again."
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: The TCS ''Midway'' in ''Prophecy'' gets this later in the game, in the form of a [[WaveMotionGun fleet-killer plasma cannon]]. See also the human [[InvisibilityCloak cloaking devices]], which are derived in part from captured Kilrathi devices.
* ItsAWonderfulFailure: In ''Prophecy'', the aliens end up destroying you, your carrier, and, presumably, the last hope of staving off the invasion.
* KilledMidSentence: Averted 99% of the time in ''Prophecy[=/=]Secret Ops'', where a "dead" ship would just keep spinning out of control until its pilot could give its last words. Depending on how much comm chatter was in the queue, it could hang out for as much as 30 seconds.
* LegallyDead: [[spoiler: Christopher Blair]] is declared missing and presumed dead in the [[AllThereInTheManual online content]] for ''Secret Ops''.
* MoreDakka: ''Secret Ops'' introduced a number of new guns, most of which fired a ''lot'' faster than anything in ''Prophecy''.
* NoOneCouldSurviveThat: [[spoiler: Christopher Blair]] gets left behind on the last tower of the wormhole generator in the last mission of ''Prophecy.'' Due to the tower itself being pulled into the wormhole, of course, they NeverFoundTheBody. He is declared LegallyDead in ''Secret Ops''.
* NotWhatISignedOnFor: Dallas in ''Prophecy'' signed up for a tour in the military, but it had been over a decade since the last war with no new enemies in sight, and he was only there because having military service his resume would help his future career prospects.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: The 'Nephilim' are called that because the Kilrathi mythology around them is broadly similar to the Nephilim in Jewish folklore, and the Kilrathi word is hard for humans to pronounce. Their actual name is unknown.
* TheRemnant: The Kilrathi are this in ''Prophecy''. Subverted in that they aren't the antagonists and actually are willing to help their former enemies, the Terrans.
* StarfishLanguage: In ''Prophecy'', the invading Insectoid Race initially communicates with unintelligible buzzing sounds until around the third mission when we find out that they've already deciphered our language and can now at least broadcast in it... ''for the explicit purpose of taunting and creeping us out''. Quoth Maestro: "I think I liked it better when I couldn't understand them!"
* TitleConfusion: ''Prophecy'' is sometimes referred to by fans as "Wing Commander 5", as the fifth "main line" Wing Commander game, even though it's never been used outside the fandom using it as a working title, when almost nothing of the game was yet known to anyone not involved with production of the game.
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[[folder:Wing Commander Arena]]
* AttackDrone: ''Arena'' has this as a PowerUp, giving the player a copy of their ship that flies in formation with them until it's destroyed.
* GreatOffscreenWar: The war with and eventually over the Nephilim following the events of ''Secret Ops'' is only referred to in the manual for the game, primarily as an ExcusePlot for the setting.
* PassThroughTheRings: In ''Arena'', there's a PowerUp in the Bearpit game that presents a game where you have to fly through a series of rings, in order and within a certain amount of time. Finishing the 3 levels of the ring game in a single game session is worth an X-Box Live achievement.
* SignificantAnagram: In ''Star*Soldier'', the manual for ''Arena'', one of the entries in the timeline lists a "Rein Etorbs" as an author of a book series ''The Darkening''. Erin Roberts (brother of Chris) was in charge of what eventually became ''Privateer 2: The Darkening'' (originally titled "The Darkening").
[[/folder]]
18th Jan '16 10:25:43 AM CharlesPhipps
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* 'Wing Commander Arena'' follows, with a TimeSkip, after ''Secret Ops'', but [[ExcusePlot doesn't really have a storyline as such]] other than some descriptions of the GreatOffscreenWar with the Nephilim [[AllThereInTheManual in the manual]], as its primary focus is multiplayer combat. It is an ''UsefulNotes/XBoxLiveArcade'' exclusive game.

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* 'Wing ''Wing Commander Arena'' follows, with a TimeSkip, after ''Secret Ops'', but [[ExcusePlot doesn't really have a storyline as such]] other than some descriptions of the GreatOffscreenWar with the Nephilim [[AllThereInTheManual in the manual]], as its primary focus is multiplayer combat. It is an ''UsefulNotes/XBoxLiveArcade'' exclusive game.
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