Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Wing Commander

Go To

  • In Wing Commander, failing to eject before your fighter is destroyed results in a game over screen that consists of your character's military funeral. It's strangely depressing in a way that makes players very careful to bail out if their shields get too low.
    • Hell, any of the character deaths in the series are the same as this.
    • Liz (Shadow) from Wing Commander 2, for example, was just a reserve. Not expecting Kilrathi attacks and was mere months from retirement.
    • Also Kien Chen (Bossman) who during Secret Missions 2 is killed while on patrol with Angel, a death she blames herself for.
  • Also Spirit in Wing Commander 2, who had been blackmailed by the traitor with her long-lost fiancee's life and ultimately commits a suicide run against the station he's on after her fighter is sabotaged, and all Blair can do is watch helplessly.
    • Spirit's final words to Blair: Tengoku de omachishi te imasu (I will wait for you in heaven).
  • The destruction of Goddard in Secret Missions 1, where you are greeted by the haunting site of the devastated world filled with wreckage and bodies after it has been laid to utter waste by the Kilrathi, and the Tiger's Claw arrives too late to stop it.
    • Becomes this on a meta-level when you learn it was your earlier failure to save the planet that becomes Jazz's primary motivation for betraying humanity. As fate would have it, his brother was among the quarter million victims claimed by the Kilrathi.
  • The first scene of Wing Commander 2 is of you witnessing the destruction of the Tiger's Claw taking nearly everybody with it; and it's ultimately you who takes the fall for what happened.
  • Stingray losing his wingman while on patrol, explaining in vivid detail the younger pilot's last moments. Stingray, who has been nothing but an asshole to you since your unprecedented arrival on the Concordia due to the Tiger's Claw catastrophe momentarily drops his hostility as he laments the loss of his comrade. Having never lost a wingman in combat prior to this, the loss hits the abrasive pilot especially hard.
  • Advertisement:
  • The death of Downtown. As a child, he was nearly enslaved by the Kilrathi, only to be rescued by Hobbes who took mercy upon the helpless prisoner. The two quickly forged a bond only a father and son could understand, and Downtown was one of Hobbes' greatest advocates even as his fellow comrades, Blair included continued to question his loyalty. Hobbes bears the brunt of the guilt when his lifelong friend dies in combat, regretting that he could never tell his friend just how much he truly meant to him.
  • Wing Commander 3 has the betrayal of Hobbes, in truth a Kilrathi sleeper agent who was working behind the scenes against his human comrades after being "reactivated" by Thrakhath. During his escape from the Victory he murders Cobra, who had always suspected the worst from Hobbes and ultimately dies before Blair as Hobbes makes his getaway. The profound betrayal Blair feels from someone whom he trusted and defended to the point where he literally flies into a rage against his old friend is truly saddening, especially as Hobbes himself had genuine affection for his human comrade even in betrayal.
    • Further amplified by the fact that if you do choose to pursue and kill Hobbes, the Victory is ambushed in your absence and the young optimistic Vaquero does not live to tell about it. Eisen's bitter admonishment of the Colonel as he holds the young pilot's beloved guitar is truly gutwrenching, as Blair knows he is to blame for the needless death of a fellow wingman. Even worse, according to the Novelization, this is the canon path.
    Captain Eisen: (To Blair) Damn it, Colonel! You put your own needs ahead of the ship's! You can't ever do that!
    • Not to mention the death of Cobra, who harbored a deep resentment of Hobbes due to her own enslavement by the Kilrathi as a child, having been captured when she was ten and not escaping until ten years after the fact, by then having no family left to go home to. All her warnings to Blair about trusting a man like Hobbes hit home all the harder when he ultimately does betray his comrades, and she herself is slain attempting to prevent his escape to the Kilrathi. Shellshocked, Blair regrets his rather poor treatment of Cobra and personally memorializes her.
  • The sad sight of the Concordia wreckage on Vespus, aflame and with its entire crew dead and entombed within, the mighty warship's bow peering out pitifully above the tides.
  • Locanda IV's fate if you fail to stop the biological warheads from striking the planet; everybody on the planet is dead.
    • Locanda in general is a sad story indeed; after decades of nonstop raids and enslavement at the hands of the Kilrathi, Thrakhath simply decides to wipe out the remaining population, reasoning that it no longer served any purpose to their cause.
    • Not helping to soften the blow is the fact that your fellow wingman and potential love interest Flint hailed from this world, and during its final destruction goes out on a suicide mission against the Kilrathi, who she holds a bitter grudge against for having ravaged her childhood home. She was rightly reprimanded for her recklessness, but few could blame her for the anger she felt in that moment.
    • It doesn't help to know that in the novelization, the planet does get wiped out in the attack, and that other star systems also saw their respective populations exterminated by the same weapons used on Locanda.
  • Thrakhath's recording of Angel's execution on Kilrah; Blair handles it about as well as you could expect of anyone forced to watch their loved one being disemboweled.
  • The third game's losing path, naturally. It doesn't matter how many Kilrathi you kill, you ultimately are forced to eject, only to be taken prisoner by the Kilrathi and executed as they deal the final hammer blow to humanity's last desperate defense of Earth. All of your comrades are dead, the Victory commits to a suicide run against an immensely superior enemy warship, and Earth is being reduced to molten slag as the Emperor oversees its destruction. Humanity as we know it is doomed.
  • Wing Commander 4 has a particularly hard-hitting losing cinematic if you continually fail your missions: Blair is brought before Admiral Tolwyn, who, in light of Blair's poor performance, revokes his commission, essentially firing him. Blair holds out his hand, offering a final handshake, which Tolwyn silently refuses. After taking his leave, Blair is last seen in a dive bar, drinking his sorrows away as the TVs in the background show the war waging.
  • The game's opening cinematic is actually quite sad as well, as we witness Black Lance pilots disguised as Border Worlds raiders attacking a civilian medical transport ferrying refugees out of hostile space. After killing the defenseless vessel's escorts, the ship's captain desperately pleads for the attackers to cease their attack, unaware that their squad leader has deployed a Flash-Pak to destroy the ship. As they retreat, the ship's captain believes for a brief moment that their lives have been spared, only for the aforementioned weapon to set the transport completely aflame from the inside out. The captain's blood-curdling scream as she and hundreds of defenseless passengers are literally burned alive is not just terrifying, but also heartwrenching. It's more than enough to make the player all the more determined to make sure this new enemy pays for every living soul to have suffered at their hands.
  • Vagabond's death; to lose your old wartime buddy from the last game is bad enough, but to see Maniac moping over his beloved deck of cards...Truly, humanity has lost one of its best.
  • Catscratch's death, depending on the actions of the player. A young, ambitious rookie who was emotionally torn over the civil war erupting within humanity who nonetheless proved a loyal wingman to his comrades, and he finds himself cornered by the mercenaries, which forces the player to decide whether he is worth the risk of rescue or not. If he dies, he bids farewell to Velina Sosa over the radio. If the player tries but is unable to retrieve him, Sosa will appreciate the effort, but still be devastated. If the player opts to not even try, she doesn't have many kind words to offer Blair when he returns to the Intrepid.
  • The fate of everybody on Telamon at the hands of the Gen-Select Bioweapon; As Blair sums it up, it's simply evil.
  • The downfall of Admiral Tolwyn. Sure, he may be the bad guy and he was rightly punished for his crimes against humanity; All the same however, to see such a noble and decorated warrior so committed to humanity's preservation and perseverance through the entire Kilrathi War fall so completely from grace is truly a pitiable sight to behold. So incensed with not having tasted the glory of being the one to spell the end of the Kilrathi's vast empire and so obsessed with ensuring humanity's survival that he soon enough was no better than the monsters he fought against as he resorted to unethical and genocidal means, all in the name of his people's assured survival over the centuries to come.
    • Even worse in the novel version, where while awaiting his execution realizes that his plans, had they been realized to their full fruition would've only served to destroy humanity rather than assure its readiness for future threats in the long run, and that the cost demanded by his vision of genetic purity would be greater than humanity could ever afford; Ridden with guilt, he soon after hangs himself to death.
  • The death of Blair during the final assault on the alien wormhole during the events of Prophecy, personally boarding and sabotaging the station at the cost of his own life to ensure the survival of humanity against a far larger invasion by the incoming Nephilim.

Alternative Title(s): Wing Commander Academy