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GOG's Gems: Wing Commander III: Heart Of The Tiger

by Alessandro Ebersol (Agent Smith)

The war against the Kilrathi is going badly for the Confederation. Its flagship, the Concord, was destroyed, battles are lost on all fronts. The war hero, Colonel Christopher Blair, is transferred to the old carrier ship Victory. Take the role of Blair and ensure the success of the final attempt of the Confederation to the victory: the destruction of the home world of the Kilrathi, Kilrah.
You must fight with determination: The future of the human race is in your hands!

Wow... This brief intro puts the player in the spirit of Wing Commander III - The Heart of the Tiger, an adventure that, despite being 24 years old, still runs great.

Wing Commander III - The Heart of the Tiger - The Game

Here I reproduce some promo's, from the time when the game was released:

The first real interactive movie for your home PC.

Filmed professionally in Hollywood, a production of millions of dollars from ORIGIN, combines movie entertainment with the interactivity of computer games. The result is a spectacular space flight adventure.

Adrenaline, romance, humor, danger - Wing Commander III has it all and more. This sequence completes the turbulent chronicles of the Terran-Kilrathi war. The final confrontation takes place in one of the worlds - Earth or Kilrah. But only you can write the end...


• A - list Hollywood cast: Mark Hamill, John Rhys-Davies, Malcolm McDowell, Tom Wilson, Jason Bernard, Ginger Allen, Tim Curry (voice), Josh Lucas and Courtney Gains.

• Interact with characters to control the plot, the path of the talks and the ending.

• Fifty intense missions - each with photo realistic 3D space combat (Well, it was in 1994).

• 16-bit full digital soundtrack for the cutscenes, and General MIDI support and synthesized voices during space combat.

• 32-bit computer technology fully utilizes the power of your 486 or Pentium™ (LOL).

• Explore virtual scenarios rendered by SGI (Silicon Graphics Image) in VGA and SVGA.

• Invisible cockpit, 3D navigation system, stealth technology, instant missions and more.

• Pilot five distinct ships, armed with fully configurable weapons.

• Play directly from the CD - more than 3 hours of video in live action, plus dozens of hours of gameplay. (well, now this is not possible because it is an electronic download. But the 3 hours of video are present. Only CD's are not)

It's him! Luke! No ... It's Mark Hamill as Chris Blair ...

Creating Wing Commander III

Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger was developed and released by Origin Systems. Released on December 8, 1994 for MS-DOS and Mac OS, in 1995 for the 3DO and in 1996 for the PlayStation (a version for the Sega Saturn was also announced, but was never released), Wing Commander III made the switch from 2D graphics based sprites, used in previous titles, to the polygonal 3D graphics with texture mapping and FMV (Full Motion Video) used for cutscenes. The new formats of the ships, more angular and blocky, were made necessary because of the state of polygonal graphics, primitive at that time, since WCIII was released before 3D accelerator cards were released, and all calculations were done by the CPU.

The live action scenes were filmed in front of green screens, almost everything in the scene was computer generated (except things like chairs, tables and the bar in the recreation room, beds and lockers, etc.).

Giant Kilrathi characters are played by men using animatronic heads, hairy hands and boots that add about a foot high and create the appearance of cat legs.

The budget for the live action cutscenes cost US$ 4 million and was the most expensive game produced at the time.

The cast of A class Hollywood actors:

• Mark Hamill as Christopher "Maverick" Blair
• Malcolm McDowell as Admiral Tolwyn
• John Rhys-Davies as Thrakhath nar Kiranka (voice) and James "Paladin" Taggart
• Jason Bernard as Capt. William Eisen
• Tom Wilson as Maj. Todd "Maniac" Marshall
• Ginger Lynn Allen as Rachel Coriolis
• Jennifer MacDonald as Lt. Robin "Flint" Peters
• Courtney Gains as Lt. Ted "Radio" Rollins
• François Chau as Lt. Winston "Vagabond" Chang
• BJ Jefferson as Lt. Laurel "Cobra" Buckley
• Josh Lucas as Major Jace "Flash" Dillon
• Julian Reyes as Lt. Mitchell "Vaquero" Lopez
• Yolanda Jilot as Col. Jeannette "Angel" Devereaux
• Barbara Niven as Barbara Miles
• Tim Curry as Melek nar Kiranka (voice)
• Alan Mandell as Emperor (voice )
• John Schuck as nar Ralgha "Hobbes" Hhallas (voice)

Several versions of the same scene were shot, and the decisions of the player alternate between one version and the others.

A Pentium class CPU (then a high-end processor) was needed to get the best performance of Wing Commander III. Chris Roberts, the creator, said: "We are not afraid to push a little the hardware sales, and we believe that the Pentium will soon be the standard."

A novel by William R. Forstchen and Andrew Keith was published in 1995. An adaptation of collectible card games was published the same year by Mag Force 7 Productions under the direction of notable science fiction authors Margaret Weis and Don Perrin.

After the end of Origin’s official support, the fan community itself began offering support for the game. For example, the community has developed various unofficial patches to improve compatibility with the latest versions of Windows and the latest PC hardware.

In September 2011, the source code of Wing Commander III was released to the fan community by a former developer, for the purpose of digital long-term preservation.

On September 13, 2011, WC III was re-released in in digital distribution.


What can I write about this game? Words fail me, but I will try to describe how it feels to play this classic, and, how it is still powerful, even after 24 years.


Impressive for the time, the graphics are still good today. I do not mean so much the graphics of the game itself, but the fantastic cutscenes, so well done, that stood the test of time. The mix of actors with virtual sets was very well done, and it is amazing what they could do with the technology of that time (1994) when 486 was a high end and a Sound Blaster Pro was the common sound card.

The game graphics do not impress much, as they are rather primitive vector graphics, but they fulfil the task of putting the player in the space, in the heat of battles, that, thanks the high production values, are always exciting.

The most amazing part are the Kilrathi, the aliens that look like giant tigers. Their design was so perfect, the making and handling of the heads so well done, you will believe that they are real creatures. Grade A, with honors!


Perfect, there is nothing to complain about. In cutscenes, audio is orchestrated, and in the simulation sections of the game the musics are in MIDI format, which was the standard back then.

The voice acting is fantastic, and of course actors like Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Tom Wilson (Back to the Future), John Rhys-Davies (LOTR trilogy) never drop the ball.


It is a 3D space flight simulator. So, there is obviously no gravity, but realistic physics do not apply. If you slow down to zero, you stop. You can rotate and roll, but you can not reverse, nor can you steer the ship vertically. And in some spaceships, you can perform a sliding maneuver so you can rotate and keep firing at your target while sliding for a later position. That is more arcade like than a realistic simulator. But it never spoils the fun. The ships run smoothly and each has a different feeling. The game supports joystick, keyboard and mouse. I definitely recommend a joystick, a mouse to track these enemies can feel awkward.

The game has five different endings, two good and three bad. Therefore, the replay factor is good, since it keeps the interest to not know every possible ending of the story.


Buy Immediately. The game is simply amazing, even at 24 years old. It aged very well, like a good wine. Even today, it is still impressive, especially the Kilrathi, imposing and scary, their menacing figure works very well, and the impeccable performance of each of the actors is mesmerizing: you get hooked on the story, rooting for your alter-ego (Chris Blair / Mark Hamill) and care and are moved by each of the characters, so well they have been written and interpreted. And if you were disappointed with The Last Jedi, like me, you can follow the space adventures of Mark Hamill, at a time when the future of humanity in space was brilliant, not a melancholy end, drinking green milk from a sea cow (seriously Rian Johnson, you will not go to heaven after that).
And the FMV games are back, having Night Trap been re-released for current systems recently, and Late Shift, a new FMV game, in high resolution, was also released not long ago.


Developer: Origin systems
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Designer: Chris Roberts
Composer: George Oldziey
Price: US$ 6.00
Size: 1.6 GB


Play-on-Linux. It is an old game that runs via DOSBox. It has an installation by POL, in which you run POL, and choose install the game Wing Commander 3. The installation is automatic and without any major problems.

I recommend visiting this page: It has many tips, information and tools for the game.

Also, here are two videos, one with a behind the scenes and gag reel of the game:

I hope you like it. To the Infinite! And away!

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