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Achtung Spitfire (Windows)

81
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  M B (18)
Written on  :  Aug 07, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars4.57 Stars

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Summary

Turn-based flying? Are you nuts?? Yes, I am, and I love it!

The Good

I am amazed that someone managed to create an exciting flight simulation on a turn-based strategy model! In fact, I prefer this game to most other flight sims because of its realism. Each airplane (and there are many, with the exception of France, since they were defeated so unusually quickly) feels different. The computer AI is equally brilliant. It is not flawless, but very good. The graphics don't look great necessarily, but each plane is easily identifiable.

Its greatest strength seems to be a twist on an otherwise standard feature: the difficulty settings. In most games, difficulty relates to your chances of winning and your margin of victory. However, in Achtung Spitfire, the difficulty relates to the number of features available to you as the squad leader: as a Lieutenant, you have the fewest number of choices to make-- this doesn't mean that the game is easier by any means, it's just that you won't be overwhelmed by tons of choices as a beginner. In contrast, the General difficulty offers complete flexibility (and, with your wisdom, you can make your victories more decisive through your choices!), transforming the game from a flat game limited to 2 dimensions to countless variations in altitude (a 3-d game without the 3-d graphics).

The Bad

I hate that this game has no manual, especially considering the apparent realism of the flight models. The online airplane database is of limited help and quite cumbersome to use... however, you'll refer to it often if you feel like winning. I would have rated the sounds more highly if the background music weren't so melodramatic and repetitive (some people like the music, but I don't).

Worst of all, I dislike that the creators of the game (Big Time Software, now battlefront.com) have abandoned this game entirely. Their site used to feature good tips and strategy for this series, but now this is gone as well. They cancelled the sequel to "Achtung Spitfire", involving Pacific air warfare (claiming that this type of game is outdated, which it is, I admit), opting instead to produce refined versions of 2-d hex-based land combat games, it seems (now if this isn't outdated or overdone, I don't know what is!) (At least they are succeeding, even if I don't agree with their decisions!)

The Bottom Line

Complex tactics and physics are combined with a simple and alluring gameplay. You will learn a lot and have tons of fun without having to memorize keypad combinations-- instead, you'll be researching the database to determine whether you'll try to outgun, outrun, or to grab the edge in turning or acceleration over your opponent. Also, much of the learning comes the hard way, often through humiliating defeats, as it does and did in real life: one strategy or one airplane model will never work in the long run. This adds so much to the realism of the game and to the history of this period.