Discussion – The Price of Freedom
There are days where I remember fondly my past gaming experiences. One such favorite memory falls under a single awesome title: Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom. Let me tell you a bit about that…
My family and I were poking through a Circuit City in the mid-to-late 90’s and I was browsing computer games. I had already played and beaten Wing Commander III: The Heart of the Tiger and I spied WCIV. I immediately grabbed it and ran to my Dad with a “Hey look! We have to get this!” Forty to sixty dollars and a car ride home later, I had cracked the packaging and laid eyes on the CD book that came with it (SIX DISCS! Two more than WCIII!).
After a bit longer (my Dad had to adjust the config.sys slightly I think), I was finally able to install it and start it up. I remember the intro like it was yesterday… watching that transport blow up… “In two weeks… we shall vote on War or Peace!”… my character appeared and I met up with Maniac… I had a run in with a very dangerous individual… Maniac trumpets a bit and notified me of my reactivation as a Confederation pilot. “Haven’t you heard Maniac? The war is over!”
Seeing Vagabond again… Captain Eisen… it was awesome. Also, oddly, I was feeling much more friendly to Maniac now as opposed to during the war with the Kilrathi. Running from the Lexington with Catscratch in tow was very exciting but nerve wracking. Was I doing the right thing? This new Captain Paulson (from the Third Fleet) had very questionable motives to me… and I didn’t like how Captain Eisen was just shoved aside. When the Captain ran… I had to help him.
I was dismayed upon landing on the Intrepid. She had gotten a beating and I wasn’t sure going toe-to-toe with the Lexington was going to be a good idea… but we did it anyways. It was my torpedo that sank the Lady Lex and I was not thrilled about it either. Life on the run from the Confederation wasn’t easy and I saw a great deal of terrible things (Telamon and Axius really scared me, especially Telamon).
When it was all over and I was on the Senate floor, arguing against recently promoted Space Marshall Tolwyn, it was make-or-break time… I had crushed Seether on my way to Earth (punk never stood a chance) and I crashed his case for going to war with the Border Worlds. How could so brave a man, so brilliant a tactician, have fallen so far since the Behemoth debacle of the Kilrathi war? His crazed eyes as he argued for genetic manipulation and the use of war as a mechanism for “separating the wheat from the chaff” disturbed me.
To this day, the box for WCIV sits on a shelf to my right, holding my memories of those quick two weeks… from the time Tolwyn reactivated me, through my defection to the Border Worlds, up to the final arguments on the Senate floor. I have lived the story time and again over the years… and here it is, 15 years since the release of this game and I’m still remembering the story nearly flawlessly. This is a good game. This is a favorite game… no… it’s a favorite experience and story.
Until next time, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.
P.S. A favorite quote of mine for today: “Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.” – Dodie Smith