Need some space? These folks are your ticket to all of it

Given that the cosmos is so big it’s frankly just rude, real starfaring pilots will find themselves more and more in demand as the expectations of the future bear down. And yet this noble role is ill-served by the videogame biz. We’ve got high fantasy heroes coming out of our grubby goblin ears and enough elite soldiers to answer every call of duty until the end of time, but space jockeys? Not so many, at least not with their own identities: there are plenty of big missions where it’s you hogging the controls, you awful glory hunter.
So here we call out some of the names and faces providing gaming’s response to those Death Star trench run air-punch moments. Bubbling under: the amusing but barely competent Jetman, and Spanky the Aero Fighters dolphin because he’s technically just a jet pilot. Dammit.

Proco and Tiat
Darius (Arcade – 1986)
Listed as one fightin’ unit, two Silver Hawk pilots forever paired in the aquatic Darius space shmups. Surely by now sick of the sight of huge battleships approaching fast. And the smell of fish markets.

Carth Onasi
Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic (PC, Xbox – 2003)
Every man and his dog droid seems to be a pilot in Star Wars. So how did Carth stand out? By nicking the Ebon Hawk to get you off an exploding planet, for starters.

Falco Lombardi
Starwing (SNES – 1993)
If he was a real bird you’d cook him and eat him because he’s a bit of a tool, but in the Star Fox series Falco is the most coolly efficient flyer, whether on duty or turning up, like a tool, as a last second lifesaver.

Wing Commander III (PC, PS1, 3DO – 1994)
Not that one. Wing Commander hero Christopher ‘Maverick’ Blair was suddenly Mark Hamill in this third lot of 27th century dogfights against Kilrathi cat-men. Creator Chris Roberts later set up crowdfunding monster Star Citizen.

Commander Jameson
Elite (BBC Micro – 1984)
While Jameson’s persona could be easily overwritten, he was as good a Cobra Mk III pilot as any (and better-known than most) with whom to lift off from Lave and melt Thargoids in the cold pits of space.

Foe Hammer
Halo: Combat Evolved (PC, Xbox – 2001)
Need air support, Spartan? Heads up: it’s Captain Carol ‘Foe Hammer’ Rawley of Pelican dropship Echo 419, merrily pulling off lunatic rescue ops and troop drops on hostile turf throughout the original Halo.

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