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Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom


Wing Commander IV

The Kilrathi have been defeated, but now the Terran Confederation begins to splinter under the pressure of maintaining law and order with rogue forces emerging from within its own borders. After the massive success of Wing Commander III, Wing Commander IV featured a return of the all-star cast in cinema quality FMV and storyline along with streamed digitised music and an optimised RealSpace engine.

Wing Commander IV is currently (since 3rd April 2012) available from gog.com (a community patch is available as a work-around for a rare issue). The game also became available from EA Origin on 18th June 2014. Extensive background information for Wing Commander IV is available at the CIC.

Banshee Flash-Pak’d Kilrathi

Manual

The Wing Commander IV manual is available courtesy of the CIC. Unlike previous manuals, it is sparse on game information, containing only a basic summary of fighters and weapons and an excerpt from The Price of Freedom novel.

Game Guide

When stuck on a mission, try the CIC’s very thorough game guide. The elusive ship statistics text may also be of some interest.

Dialogue Script

An early version of the Wing Commander IV movie script is available from the CIC, as well as an original ‘treatment’ document. Wedge009’s interpretation of the dialogue is also available for easy reference.

Game Upgrades

Wing Commander IV should run well on Windows 9x and XP operating systems, but if any difficulties are encountered, Origin’s Windows 95 patch may help. For the double-sided DVD version of the Wing Commander IV, there is a wrapper available to allow the game to run without the original Creative Labs DXR decoder hardware it was designed for. Even for those with only the original CD-based version of the game, a patch based on this wrapper was introduced in March 2012 to allow use of DVD-quality movies (now publicly available) in-game for an enhanced interactive movie experience.

Music

Using Game Audio Player (download), the inflight music can easily be extracted from the four MUSICx.TRE files. The CIC also has a few other pieces of music from Wing Commander IV, including the background music to some FMV sequences, while tracks 1 and 4 of the “Music from the Wing Commander Universe” CD includes some very high quality recordings. In addition, the Credits is also available as a MIDI and as an uncompressed wave file.

Speech

Some of the more significant inflight plot-related speech are available here as MP3s. At the low bit-rate used, some distortion is evident in the audio output, however, the files contain speech only and such noise should be acceptable. If not, the comms can be extracted from the SPECIALx.TRE files on each CD using Game Audio Player (download). Most of the files are generic inflight comms, some of which cannot be read by the player. Alternatively, Mario “HCl” Brito’s TRE Manager and any audio editor which can read raw sound data can also be used to extract audio data.

Title Size Description
Orlando Challenge 68 KiB Maniac challenges Maverick to a virtual dogfight.
Orlando Ambush 29 KiB Maverick and Maniac are ambushed by pirate Razors.
Orlando Transit 11 KiB Maverick and Maniac finally set off for Orlando Depot.
Orlando Destruction 51 KiB Maniac vents his shock and frustration at the destruction of Orlando Depot.
Hellespont Investigation 63 KiB Captain Eisen orders Maverick to investigate a distress call in Hellespont.
Defection Part 1 10 KiB Vagabond refuses to fire on Captain Eisen.
Defection Part 2 11 KiB Vagabond insists Maverick has to make a decision.
Defection Part 3 7 KiB Maverick chooses to join Vagabond and Eisen.
Defection Part 4 10 KiB Catscratch decides to follow Maverick’s lead.
Defection Part 5 11 KiB Eisen urges Maverick to hurry.
Defection Part 6 8 KiB Vagabond mutters his frustration.
Defection Part 7 49 KiB Eisen expresses his gratitude.
Confed Defection Part 1 69 KiB Captain Eisen invites Maverick to join him.
Confed Defection Part 2 54 KiB Maverick accepts Eisen’s invitation.
Confed Defection Part 3 12 KiB Eisen is happy to see Maverick and Catscratch again.
Melek 72 KiB Maverick and Maniac find a Kilrathi convoy…
Peleus 29 KiB Maverick finds himself flying into the ‘dead zone’…
Seether 36 KiB Seether declares Maverick to be obsolete…
Major Todd “Maniac” Marshall 184 KiB A small collection of Maniac inflight comms from the CIC.
Chief Technician Robert “Pliers” Sykes 1.04 MiB A small collection of Pliers speech and inflight comms from the CIC.

Miscellaneous

The inflight briefing in which Admiral Wilford orders Colonel Blair to a Black Lance transport is available in full screen, full colour. Presumably, the ‘double’ mission involving the capture of the Black Lance’s advanced fighters was originally designed to be a separate mission. This particular video requires the Xanmovie Codec (included in Mario “HCl” Brito’s Wing Commander Movie Player), but a higher resolution DivX version is also available. There are also various behind-the-scenes clips available from the CIC, and even spinning Union of Border Worlds and Black Lance logo animations.

Users of Mario “HCl” Brito’s Wing Commander Movie Player may find the TRE Index compiled by Wedge to be of some use in sorting movies. Alternatively, another movie guide is available at the CIC.

For a good laugh, try Gary Hladik’s Wing Commander IV parody, WC4.123106, warping every aspect of the game’s intriguing plot and more. While immoral sexual behaviour and a contemptuous attitude towards God is rather stupid and not to be encouraged, the parody is nevertheless full of (twisted) humour and is a thoroughly enjoyable read if one does not take it too seriously. Keep in mind the author’s personal ‘R’ rating.


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