Written by  :  Dasharatha (10)
Written on  :  Oct 29, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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Summary

Highly detailed simulation, albeit often tedious and overly time-consuming

The Good

This very ambitious and highly detailed simulation took you on a B-17 mission from beginning to end. I especially liked how you not only took off from a British airfield but then had to both (slowly) gain altitude and locate and rendezvous with the other aircraft in your formation. Very cool! Thankfully you could engage the autopilot and time accelerator if you wished to skip ahead to the bombing mission itself. The B-17 3D models were wonderfully animated and articulated.

The Bad

This simulation was designed by the same team that created Shuttle: The Space Flight Simulator and suffered from the same glaring omission: sound. As I recall B-17 had an engine sound, however this sound was simply an unvarying buzz regardless of what the engines or propellers were doing at any particular time. You could throttle up the engines, feather the props, or shut one or more engines down and the sound was always the same, boring buzz.

There was no mid-game save, so you were obliged to fly a mission from beginning to end before you could do anything else with your PC. As I recall, the fastest mission I ever completed took over three hours. That's a long time to dedicate your computer to a single purpose, especially a game.

The missions I flew were constantly hit with attacks from enemy fighters. I don't recall exactly how many encounters there were during a mission, 5 to 10 maybe, but they were way too many and it seemed unrealistic. Air attacks were especially frustrating because time acceleration was disabled so long as any enemy aircraft was nearby. Too many times I would be heading home after a successful drop only to have to fly real time because enemy aircraft were reported as being nearby. Many times I was obliged to spend 10 minutes or longer scanning the sky for the alleged enemy aircraft that never showed before I could re-engage time acceleration. When enemy aircraft did make an appearance, they were exceedingly difficult to shot down, and the crew AI were worse at it than I was. Very unsatisfying.

On top of fighting off waves of enemy aircraft you were obliged to constantly manage the crew (patch their wounds, etc.) and debug whatever was suddenly ailing the engines. More work than fun.

The Bottom Line

A bold, ambitious, but deeply flawed attempt at filling a real niche in air combat simulation.