Reviews: Videogame/Strike Commander

A striking classic.

Oh, this one does take me back.

It was back during the golden times of instant BSOD in the Windows '95 era. The days of switching to DOS to escape such dreaded errors and typing prompts to get programs running.

Yes, the days of manually configuring soundcard drivers to get any kind of sound at all, aside from the odd beeps and chirps of the onboard sound processor.

Strike Commander was one of the first cd-rom games my dad brought home, after we got our first computer delivered (Pentium 75Mhz). Both my dad and me were into the whole aircraft simulator genre, and this action packed title seemed to interest us both. My dad quickly gave up, but I was enthralled by the flying mechanics.

Being a lad who was 12 years of age at the time, and not a native speaker of the english language, the biggest obstacle of the game to me personally was keeping up with the story. However, as I progressed, it seemed clear that there was a lot going on in the world, and I eventually leared what was going on through endless reloading of savegames (gotta get the perfect score!)

The flying itself was challenging, especially when resorting to the keyboard controls. After some nagging my dad thought it wise to invest in some new hardware: a joystick -a cheap one- but it did the trick.

Through the wonders of technology (DOS Box), this game has gained a second life. Yes, the game looks dated, but I still count it as a prized possession. The voice acting on the cd-rom version is quite good. The politically charged storyline is above average and I really enjoyed the in between mission banter with the various teammates, as well as exploring the local tavern to pick up missions. There are multiple paths to follow, although the game ultimately heads towards the same ending.

Managing your own squadron can be a bit tricky. If you are not careful in the planning stages, or if you fail to safe up some cash for unexpected expenses, you can get into trouble later on. It might be tempting to stock up on loads of weapon systems, but if you don't need it for the upcoming mission(s), you really shouldn't blow away all your money.

The cd-rom version is packed together with the expansion pack. The expansion doesn't quite pack the solid story as the core game does, but is quite okay on its own and adds a couple of hours of gameplay.