The Best and Worst Space Fighters

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25 Responses

  1. Adam Solo says:

    I'm with you with the A-Wing. I also didn't like the A-Wing missions. If I recall correctly the problem seem to be the shields or the hull. The goddamn ship was simply too weak.

    TIE Defender and X-Wing are good choices. In the opposite side of the A-Wing they were sturdy and reliable.

    As we are in the subject, Y-Wings were ok. They provided quite a punch but … they lacked the speed :( Clearly one to get behind the line, however in some missions you were the line, against TIE Advanced. Not fair.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Yeah, while not the best, the Y Wing was a very stable and underappreciated weapons platform that I enjoyed flying until the B Wing stole my heart. ;-)

  2. TomF says:

    Haha! Never noticed that both the Tie Defender and the Dragon have four laser cannon, two ion cannons, launchers, and the only fighter in the fleet to have hyperdrive. Damned Bothan spies…

    The A-wing was tough to learn, but eventually I grokked it and now prefer it to anything except the X-wing. The Y is a tank but soooo slow, and I never could get the hang of hitting anything with the Bs crazy weapon layout. Vanilla Tie Fighters are junk, but the Tie Interceptor was just tough enough to be very useful.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Maybe that's why I love the TD and Dragon so. Sadly I never grokked the A-Wing, but OMG did I love the B-Wing.

  3. Pogue Mahone says:

    I really loved flying the A-Wing in the X-Wing games. I always felt like the faster, more maneuverable ships had an advantage in the X-Wing/TIE Fighter games, and once you could get the hang of flying circles around your opponents you were unstoppable. Not to mention that aesthetically I think the A-Wing is much cooler looking than the B, X and Y wings.

  4. Tony M says:

    I couldn't enjoy the flight model of any craft in any of the Wing Commander games. In Tie Fighter you really feel like you are in a dogfight. But in Wing Commander I feel like you are a stationary turret with "space" spinning around you, and combat turns into these weird space jousts instead of dogfights.

    I didn't play the later games so I may be judging Wing Commander harshly based on the early games in the series.


    • Brian Rubin says:

      HEh, I felt the latter three games dwarfed the feeling of space flight that was less than present in the first two games. :)

  5. caesarbear says:

    The Wing Commander games got better and better with the dogfight feel. The last game Prophecy: Secret Ops has some of the best dogfights in space sims, IMO.

  6. Guest says:

    Freespace had good fighters worth mentioning, except they were so balanced it's hard to single any out as the best. For certain, the black ops superfighter near the end of Freespace 2 was that game's Wing Commander Dragon. But Ulysses, Herc 1 & 2, Apollo, and the interceptors were also great at their roles. The bombers weren't as fun.

    Wing Commander Academy included the Wraith, which outperformed every other WC ship put together. WC1 & 2 had the Rapier and Saber, respectively. WC2SO2 added the Morningstar, which was enormously powerful but lacked personality. Privateer's Centurion was a joy after the cramped cockpits and other limitations of the weaker ships.

    A-Wing was fragile and lacked laser power, but it was great for taking on TIE Advanced, especially with its missile payload. Nothing else could keep up with those pests. I racked up at least 60 kills with it on that solo reconnaissance mission. Good ship for pure dogfighting.

    TIE Interceptor is fun to fly even though it shares most of the TIE fighter's faults. The extra guns, speed, and armor make all the difference. More satisfying than the superpowered Defender. Lousy when capital ships are near, of course. Missile Gunboat's overpowered, yet too fiddly to rank among the best.

  7. Chris says:

    Not saying it is the best but I loved the Raptor from Wing Commander 1. It had the perfect mix of weaponry and defensive systems in the game. Sure the Rapier was sexier but I actually liked the look of the Raptor more.

    The only knock I have on the Freespace games is that their fighter designs were not as attractive to me as the WC or Star Wars ones. I did love their Capital Ships though.

  8. Glenn says:


  9. aws says:

    I always enjoyed flying the missile boat in TIE Fighter. Sure, two whole batteries of advanced concussion missiles were hideously, hideously overpowered, but taking down two whole squadrons of X-Wings by yourself before turning on the SLAM and running 20km away felt amazing.

  10. Daniel Haire says:

    I have to agree with your best fighters list, but have to chime in defense of the A-Wing. The A-Wing was an amazing fighter for its role. It was designed as a combined long range interceptor and recon fighter unlike the space superiority role of the X-Wing or the Bomber/Assault role of the B-Wing and Y-Wing. In this its biggest strengths were shields just shy of the X-Wings, the fastest speed of any Rebellion era fighters, the longest ranged fighter sensor system of its time and 12 fighter scale concussion missiles. Still remember a couple of missions in xwing where speed was needed and I just dropped the hammer without needing to transfer power to the engines or if I did just from the shields or guns (but the times where I needed more than 120 MGLT were few and far between) and with the missiles was still fight capable when I got to where I was going. On the other hand, I would never plan an assault on an Imperial-II class Star Destroyer with A-Wings as my first choice.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Hey, welcome to the blog Daniel, and thanks for your comment. :) I totally see what you’re saying, and I guess in the hands of someone who prefers an interceptor, it makes sense. Me, however, I’m always for the big guys with the big guns. B-Wing FOREVA! ;) Seriously though, your points make total sense, and when I get to X-Wing, I’ll try to look at the A-Wing differently. :)

      • Daniel Haire says:

        Another good fighter that never made it in when the X-Wing series got cancelled was the E-Wing. Classed as an escort/recon fighter it was built to be the successor to the X-Wing, but wound up eventually replacing the A-Wing. 2 x laser cannons, 16x proton torpedoes, same speed as an A-Wing, Long mission duration capability, solid shields. Int the novels and comics, it was one of the only fighters besides the X-Wing that Rogue Squadron flew. Biggest Drawback was that it was expensive. It was a very solid design once it got past the initial design problems. Trivia note it was developed by the same designers who designed the X-Wing for the Empire (and then stole it and the plans when they defected to the Rebel Alliance.

        As for Wing Commander fighters what was your opinion of the Thunderbolt and the Excalibur from WC3? Very solid performance and heavy weapons loadouts. The Excalibur in particular started out with 4 tachyon cannons and 2 Reaper particle cannons plus 12 missiles (usually the Image-Rec Missile). Light Fighter Speed and Heavy Fighter punch and defense. The Wing Commander novels even noted that the Excalibur was the design predecessor for the Dragon. The Thunderbolt was an amazingly solid Heavy Fighter with near Medium Fighter maneuverability despite its slow top speed but had a great loadout on its own.

        my least favorite fighter in any mainstream or indie space sim was the Babylon 5 Starfury. I could never get the inertial combat system to work right and it would bounce all over the place. And only two guns with no missiles was a pain in the rear.

        • Daniel Haire says:

          Sorry, 3 x laser cannons on the E-Wing. Typo on my part.

        • Brian Rubin says:

          Heh, I stopped reading the SW novels around the time they first began mentioning the E-Wing, so I never learned much about it. Sounds like an impressive ship on its own.

          The Excalibur is likely my second favorite Wing Commander fighter. A totally solid weapons platform that was just a pleasure to fly. It WAS my favorite until the Dragon dethroned it. The Thunderbolt, however, never made much of an impression on me. It felt like an in-between fighter, you know? Not bad in any respect, just not exceptional either.

  11. GeometryPrime says:

    The Eagle from Elite: Dangerous is SO much fun to fly – More so than anything else in that game.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      It IS fun to fly, shame the damned thing is made of balsa wood and falls apart if you look at it funny. ;)

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