Just to let you know where I'm coming from in this review, I'll start off by saying that I have always loved the WING COMMANDER series. The first game that I played in the series was WING COMMANDER II, and I picked up the third game on the first day it was out. Mark Hamill as the main character is like a blessing! Of course, WING COMMANDER IV was just as good, but WING COMMANDER PROPHECY's storyline did leave a little to be desired (although it was a good game). When I first heard about this port though, I nearly did a back-flip out of my chair. How can the Game Boy Advance handle such a game?
For those of you unfamiliar with WING COMMANDER, it is about Colonel Christopher Blair and the Confederation's fight between them and the Kilrathi (think Chewbacca, but a big lion instead). In the third incarnation of the game, Confed basically destroys the Kilrathi. So, we need a new enemy and that's where PROPHECY picks up; a new alien race has come from another dimension to take over. You'll play as Lt. Casey (instead of Mark Hamill's Blair) in the fight for freedom.
While the game obviously doesn't look as good as its PC counterpart that was released back in 1997, the game looks awesome for a GBA title. The 3D engine used for the game looks great, and since there isn't a whole lot to animate in space and there are only a few ships on-screen at one time, there isn't much slowdown on this beautiful game. WING COMMANDER PROPHECY sports about 50 missions, so the game should keep you busy for some time.
The main part where PROPHECY suffers is from the controls. As fluid as the gameplay is, it still suffers from being able to use only a few buttons. During gameplay, you aren't allowed to look around to see if any enemy is behind them like you could on the PC version; you literally have to wait for them to fire on you before you know they're back there.
Of course, WING COMMANDER has always been known for its cutscenes. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a GBA cartridge here so most of it has been compressed to pictures and text. While I loved the cutscenes in the games, reading infinite amounts of text can get old and some of it just feels out of place.
And where is the flight simulator trainer? Every WING COMMANDER game (including the PC version of PROPHECY) has had the training missions, but it was apparently omitted from the Game Boy Advance port. No biggie except to maybe someone who is a big WING COMMANDER fan like myself, but it would provide some instruction to newbies to the series.
The game may be a bit more confined than the PC version, but this port of WING COMMANDER PROPHECY is a testament to how great the little Game Boy Advance really is. A must-buy for flight sim fans.