Written by  :  piltdown_man (145832)
Written on  :  Mar 16, 2012
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars
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Probably very good in its day

The Good

This package comes with airports, planes and adventures. When it installs the player can opt to install any one, two or three of these sections depending on space and preference. That was important when this was released and space was not as abundant as it is now in 2012. It shows a commendable degree of thought and attention to detail.

The airports look very good, especially with the terrain detail level pushed way up high. I've loaded a few airports now and this was the first where I noticed aircraft coming in to land on the main runway's, others taking off and disappearing into the distance and helicopters buzzing about out on the edges of the airport.
There were also cars moving on the highways, these look good in screen shots but on a modern computer they moved too fast to to be realistic. The same can be said for airport shuttle trains but both were probably spot on when this was released.
The documentation is good and includes airport maps as well as holding patterns which meant that when I was cleared for take-off on runway 32R I could work out where I was supposed to go.

I had problems with the planes and adventures, see below, but I had no problems with the early parts of the departure sequence and found the virtual co-pilot very helpful in keeping me on the straight and narrow.

The Bad

I've said that the airports look very good but they don't look terrific and there are places where they look very dated indeed. The car parks are just a vague patchwork of rectangles that doesn't look convincing from any height, in some places the trees are one dimensional, and there's not as much airport traffic and clutter as I would have expected.
Minor points but it's like the difference between looking at the picture of a model and looking at a picture of the real thing. It's good but it's not totally convincing.

I can't comment on the planes or the adventures because they would not work for me. The planes would not load in Flight Simulator 2000 Pro or Flight Simulator 98 on my main machine, nor Flight Simulator 2000 Pro on an old PC. Even my antivirus thought the .mdl files were corrupt.

The adventures are nearly all heavy jets and this gave me my second problem. The adventures start at the departure gate and work just fine up to the point where pushback commences. The supplied planes have, so the manual says, a special instrument panel specifically for pushback. Because the supplied planes would not load I did not have access to this panel so I could not achieve pushback and hence could not complete any of the flights.

I've searched forums and patch sites and have found no record of problems like this being reported when the product was released so I'm assuming that my problems not common. It is worth noting that this product is no longer supported by Wilco.

The Bottom Line

Back in the day this was probably a very good product. Some reviews at the time criticised it for being so detailed that it slowed the flight sim's frame rate down to an unflyable crawl.
Twelve years later and the airport models do look a bit dated. The shame of it is that the adventures with their air traffic control interaction would probably still be very enjoyable if I could get them to work.
Buy with caution and in the knowledge that it is no longer supported.