EVERYONE who is at all interested in flying, as well as a few thousand people who aren't I should imagine, must have heared of the Red Arrows - the stunt team who fly around in their nice red planes without crashing into each other (hopefully).
Less of you though may have heared of the Blue Angels, a small group of acrobatic nuns who tour the third world doing a juggling cabaret.
Actually, that was a bit of a porky-pie. In fact the Blue Angels are the US Navy's own display team, who don't actually do much displaying, what with most of the pilots being committed to pre-emptive airstrikes on countries not currently holding a Mac Donald's franchise.
Anyway, these guys put on some impressive shows (apparently anyway - I've not seem them personally since they haven't been to Newtownards), and generally hang out in F/A-18s looking cool. Your mission, should you decide blah, blah, is to join them.
So you think you're rough enough? So you think you're tough enough? The flight sim will test you to the limits of your flight-
A light touch, quick reactions, a damn good memory and an excellent sense of timing are required if you want to make it to the big time.
The simulator will provide help in the form of displays telling you when and in which direction to adjust these controls. IT is definitely necessary to know exactly what sort of manoeuvre you are trying to make beforehand though, the helper is just there as a gentle reminder should inverted flight at 2g momentarily disorientate you.
A wireframe box stretches out in front as a further aid to navigation and orientation. The planes are also displayed as wire-frames in this mode.
If you like, you can practice a complete airshow in the simulator, helping to eradicate those embarrassing little slips of the controller that sends your F/A-18 straight into the crowds at full throttle.
A practice mode will help you iron out any last minute difficulties. The display will show average error and greatest error expressed as a percentage deviation from the optimal flight path. The flight path itself is modeled in a little cube affair which can rotate, allowing examination of even the weirdest double helixes.
Over 25 actual tried and tested (as in they have been completed successfully at least once) airshow manoeuvres are painstakingly rendered into the software. You may chose to fly in a umber of positions in each stunt - obviously some positions are far more critical and demanding than others.
One of the annoying things about the game is that if you stray too far from the specified path a break will be ordered and you will have to start again. This is all right during an airshow - I mean, fair enough, you're a hazard to the general populace - but it's a bit out of order when you're only practising.
There are plenty of view modes, giving the opportunity of watching from the ground, from the sky or from the cockpit. The filled polygon stuff isn't impressively fast - in fact I noticed the refresh slowed down perceptibly when flying over the complicated runway, but it's pretty enough to look at.
Now, a flight game where you don't get to shoot anything isn't necessarily all bad, but something has to be done to make it interesting. Although Blue Angles has a nice display and plenty of options and stunts there isn't much to keep up the interest.
It could sell on the accuracy of simulation, the reality of flight, training to become an ace pilot, but of course without an analogue joystick option all this is impossible.
Nice try though.