Dawn Patrol logo Amiga Computing Gold

Chocks away chaps, reach for the skies, tally-ho and many more WW1 stereotypical catch phrases, none of which you'll find in Jonathan Maddock's review of Rowan Software's altest flighty offering.


These days it seems that computer flight simulations are becoming more complicated and more technologically advanced than the aircraft they're supposed to be simulating. Graphics of the highest quality and realistic sound effects place you right in the middle of the action and childhood dreams of becoming an ace fighter pilot are finally fulfilled.

Rowan Software are a company that have been at the forefront of computer flight simulation development. Their determination for making the simulation as authentic as possible has been noted and appreciated by true fans of the genre. Rowan's previous efforts, Reach for the Skies and Overlord, have been lusted after and consumed by thousands of flight sim aficionados. This is thanks to Rowan's expertise in getting the right mix between high-class, realistic graphics and solid, addictive gameplay.

Some of the more aware gamers might be wondering what I'm blathering on about as Reach for the Skies and Overlord were not exactly the best flight sims to ever appear on the Amiga. It's because I was talking about the wonderful PC versions which are far superior to their bugged Amiga counterparts.

There are probably far too many reasons and not enough space in the magazine to explain why the PC versions are so much better, but as we all know, the Amiga is capable of producing some of the best games in the world.

Rowan Software, in conjunction with Empire, have returned to the Amiga with yet another flight sim in tow. Dawn Patrol takes a trip back to World War 1 when you had to be really skilled to fly an aircraft and cheat death in it at the same time.

I've got my fingers crossed that Rowan Software have struck lucky at the third time of asking because I, for one, haven't played a decent flight simulation in a long long time.


Seeing Dawn Patrol is a World War 1 flight simulation, I thought I'd give you a bit of background information on the event itself. World War 1 was fought between the Central European Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and their allies) and the Triple Entente (Britain, the British Empire, France, Russia and their allies).

It broke out on 28th June 1914 as the heir to the Austrian throne was assassinated in Sarajevo. A month later, Austria declared war on Serbia; as Russia mobilised, Germany declared war on Russia and France, and took a short cut into the west by invading Belgium. On the 4th August Britain declared war on Germany.

Three years of fighting passed and then in April 1917 the United States of America entered the war. On the 3rd March 1918 Soviet Russia signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, ending Russian participation in the war.

Out on the Western front, Germany began a final offensive. In April the Allies appointed the French Marshal Foch supreme commander, but by June (when the first US troops went into battle) the Allies had lost all gains since 1915, and the Germans were on the River Marne.

The battle at Amiens marked the launch of the victorious Allied offensive. German capitulation began with naval mutinies at Kiel, followed by uprisings in the major cities. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and on the 11th November the armistice was signed.

On the 18th June 1919 the peace treaty of Versailles was completed. The USA signed a separate peace agreement with Germany and Austria in 1921.

It's estimated that 10 million lives were lost and twice that number were wounded in the first world war.


Ride on! ride on in majesty!
The winged squadrons of the sky Look down with sad and wond'ring eyes
To see the approaching sacrifice



A free limited edition book comes with the Dawn Patrol package. It's titled 'Richthofen: The man and the aircraft he flew' and is all about Germany's top scoring air ace from World War 1.

Contained within the pages are superb, specially commissioned, full-colour artwork as well as accurate profiles and detailed technical sketches of all the aircraft from the era. Richthofen, although he flew many different kinds of aircraft, became famous for flying one of the highly distinctive all-red Tri-planes.

Richthofen scored his last 17 victories in Triplanes and it was while flying one of these aircraft that he met his end on April 21st, 1918. The Fokker Dr. I Triplane's better qualities were its handling agility and good climbing rate, and this made it very popular with the leading air aces of the day. The craft had very little impact on the air war and if it wasn't for men like Baron Von Richthofen, it wouldn't have even got a mention in the history books.

Back to the present day, and there isn't one Fokker Triplane that exists in a flying condition. Due to the ravages of time and the destruction caused by the second World War, there isn't even one which could be restored to its former flying glory.

Fans of World War 1 and ayone who has a love for planes will love the 'Richthofen' book and it's nice to see a company taking the time and trouble to produce a 'free' gift of astounding quality that perfectly complements the game.



This always seems to be one of the most forgotten elements in the history of flight simulations. Sound may not be as important as graphics or gameplay, but without it the whole game can suffer and become a complete flop.

Luckily, the person in charge of the noises and tunes department at Rowan Software hasn't got a short memory span as Dawn Patrol contains some of the best sounds I've ever heard in a flight simulation.

The game kicks off with a tune loosely based around 'The Last Post' and then evolves into a sprawling classical piece of music which is more than appropriate for this type of game. There are a couple of instruments within the tune that could get on your nerves after a while, but thankfully you can turn it off via the options screen.

What really gives Dawn Patrol that much-needed boost of atmosphere are the sound effects. The superb droning of the gine doesn't really come into play unless you change the speed of your aircraft, but when you do it's remarkably impressive.

For some bizarre reason the noise of your gun firing is twice as loud as everything else and this isn't such a bad thing as it gets your adrenaline pumping that little bit faster - don't ask me why.
There you have it, a tune you can either take or leave alone and a whole bunch of superb sound effects that transport you back to 1914.




Graphically, Dawn Patrol isn't going to be able to match the PC version for sheer quality, but I have to admit that Rowan Software have done a mighty fine job and excellent themselves in the polygon department.

The external shots of the dog fighting planes are very impressive and the various planes have been reproduced as accurately as possible. As per usual you can view the action from any angle and get incredibly close to the action, or view it from a distance via the zoom feature.

The high level of detail is also worthy of a mention. The majority of action in Dawn Patrol is fought primarily in the sky so you'd think the ground details would be skipped over. Well, you'd be very wrong because even things like field guns are well done, even though you're only to see them once in a blue moon.

One of Dawn Patrol's more interesting and very useful features is the interactive book which the whole game is structured around. You can select pilots and missions from the book but it also takes you through the various flying manoeuvres.

Normally, moves such as the Immelmann turn would be written down and carefully explained to you in a manual, but thanks to the interactive Dawn Patrol multimedia experience you get, via the same graphics taken from the game, to actually see the move performed from many different angles.

This novel and innovative idea helps beginners and experts alike to improve their flying skills, and for that reason alone it should be applauded from the rooftops and cheered at in the streets.

As far as World War 1 flight simulations go, Dawn Patrol has just taken first place in the looks handicap hurdle chase, but remember most of the time you will be, or at least should be looking at blue sky.




I've been waiting for Dawn Patrol for ages, ever since I saw in on the PC, and I'm happy to say that this time Rowan Software have failed to disappoint me and delivered the goods in pristine condition.

The first thing that impressed once I'd actually got into the game was just how fast it was. Okay, I was using an A1200, but imagine by surprise when it moved almost as fast on an A500. Everything seems to have been carefully thought about and it certainly looks like Rowan Software have learnt from their previous two Amiga flight simulations.

Novel ideas like the interactive book of the air war really go some way to making Dawn Patrol a bit of a classic in the simulation stakes. There are over 150 historically accurate missions to fly in and you're going to have to be an astounding pilot to finish them all within a couple of weeks. In the durability stakes, Dawn Patrol isn't going to last longer than a piece of Willy Wonka's everlasting bubble gum, but hey it's pretty damn close.

I've never been amazed by games from this genre, but I've been very impressed by Dawn Patrol and more importantly I've had a lot of fun making my way through the game. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea and I'm sure I've missed things like 'the altimeter not being the right' size and 'the colour of the front of the Sopwith Camel is a couple of shades out', but it plays well and that's the main thing.

Anyone that has a slight interest in planes should make this an essential purchase and as for fans of the aircraft that flew in the first world war, you're going to fall in love with Dawn Patrol.

Dawn Patrol logo

Steve McGill takes to the skies with Empire's latest to discover whether it soars into the realms of stardom or crashes into oblivion.

There's something fundamentally wrong with the structure, design, execution, feel, playability, lastability and marketing of Dawn Patrol from Empire. To coin a sadly unavoidable cliché, Empire have tried to squeeze a quart into a pint pot. And oh my gollygosh! (and other euphemisms of outraged incredulity) they've made one hell of a sticky mess. So don't tell their mum. She'll be mad.

But not half as mad as me. I was realy looking forward to this release. I thought it was going to be the one that would finally wrest the crown of best bi-plane simulation away from the firm grasp of Microprose's 1991 release, Knights Of The Sky (AF29, 88%).

Unfortunately, Dawn Patrol seems to be vying with Red Baron (AF32, 39%) for best-looking but most unplayable air war romp. So, having said that, it's time to qualify some of those sweepingly damning statements.

The main fault is the poor frame update. The majority of the blame lies with some of the pointlessly frivolous cosmetics that have been bolted on - features such as unnecessarily complicated wing curves, wing struts and an accurately detailed undercarriage.

These details slow everything down to a crawl that makes the plane feel as if it's fighting against the inertia of a struggling processor rather than cutting an elegant aerodynamic swathe trough the air.

It fatally detracts from the playability and furthermore it fails to help the game out during the complicated turning, climbing and diving manoeuvres. Empire have opted to have the display shrink in from the right and left edges of the screen, consequently, you never lose the sense that you're playing a computer game rather than flying over a virtual wartime France.

Mission impossible
It's a shame really. A lot of time has obviously been spent on research and presentation. For example, information on lesser-known aces and their brave, gallant, foolhardy, inspirational missions is structured around an interactive book.

You find out about their exploits and philosophy on life and then get the chance to fly on some of their more famous outings. Not only that, but you can customise certain aspects of the missions such as increasing the number of opponents and their destinations. In all, a good idea, but not good enough to save Dawn Patrol from mediocrity.

As it stands, flight sim fans should only be looking in one direction and that's Knights Of The Sky at 12 O'clock on the Kixx label - £16.99.


Let's take a look at what made and still makes Knights Of The Sky the best flight sim ever on the Amiga.
A permeating sense of atmosphere was deliberately developed and consciously exploited by Microprose. The flight envelopes of the planes were spot on. YOu could shoot moving ground vehicles and bomb churches. You can't do that in Dawn Patrol.
But the biggest clincher was the serial link option. you could choose any World War One aeroplane to fly in the head-to-head dogfights. Tremendous.

Dawn Patrol logo

Letzten Monat vergraulte Rowan die Amiga-Piloten mit dem schwachen "Overlord", jetzt ist Wiedergutmachung angesagt: Das vorliegende Digi-Geschichtsbuch zum Mitfliegen konnte ja schon am PC sehr gut gefallen!

Die inhaltlich originelle Dämmerungspatrouille entführt den Flieger in den Luftraum des 1. Weltkriegs und ist als eine Art multimediales Geschichtsbuch mit integrierten Missionen gestaltet.

Nach dem Programmstart findet man sich daher auch nicht in einem Fliegerhorst wieder, sondern im Inhaltsverzeichnis der Digi-Historie - wo sich bequem per Mausklick ein Kapitel nach dem anderen von den ersten Lüftschlachten bis hin zu den berühmtesten Fliegerassen durchblättern lässt.

Jede Seite wird entweder von einem Original-Foto, einem schicken Bildchen oder gar einer animierter Flugszene illustriert. Und zu nahezu jedem Abschnitt ist das passende Szenario im Programm untergebracht, um das Gelesene eigenhändig nachvollziehen zu können. Über kurz oder lang wird der Spieler also für eine der jeweils beteiligten Parteien im Cockpit einer alten Weltkriegs-Schüssel landen, die über den Wolken eines Frontabschnitts kreist.

15 Modelle wie z.B. die von Snoopy bevorzugte Sopwitch Camel oder gar der berühmte Fokker-Dreidecker des Manfred von Richthofen stehen bereit, wobei die Einsätze nicht unbedingt en historischen Wahrheiten entsprechen müssen: Wer mag, darf die Zahl der Gegner, das Flugverhalten seiner Maschine oder die Treffergenauigkeit der Feinde bis hin zur Unverwundbarkeit den eigenen Bedürfnissen anpassen.

Ja, sogar eine individuelle Karriere kann man starten und so vielleicht die bis ins Jahr 1918 erzielten Abschüsse in astronomische Höhen treiben.

Klar, daß das hausbackene "Overlord" gegen so eine innovative Simulation ziemlich alt aussieht, zumal hier auch die Grafik wesentlich besser aussieht - ohne dass das Spieltempo darunter zu leiden hätte. Gegenüber den feinen Landschaftsdetails wie Schützengräben etc., den gelungenen Cockpit-Designs und den wählbaren Sichtperspektiven fällt der Sound allerdings deutlich ab, denn Tschaikowski würde sich wohl im Grabe umdrehen, müsste er hören, wie gequält seine wunderschönen Melodien aus dem "Cappriccio Italien" hier aus den Boxen quäken.

Nun ist aber so ein Flugi nun mal kein Symphonieorchester, weshalb es wesentlich interessanter ist, daß die tadellose Steuerung neben Tastatur und Maus auch Digi- und Analogsticks unterstützt.

Kurz und sehr gut: Dawn Patrol macht Spaß. Denn nicht nur, daß die Missionen sehr abwechslungsreich gestaltet sind (am 3D-Himmel werden Duelle geflogen, Fesselballons angegriffen und und und), durch die vielen Geschichten aus der Geschichte wird man auch toll motiviert - wobei unser Testmuster zwar noch englisch war, die Verkaufsversion jedoch komplett übersetzt wird.

Tja, und wer je den leibhaftigen Roten Baron trotz angeschossener Benzinleitung vom Himmel geholt hat, der weiß dann auch, wie sich ein wahres Fliegeras fühlt! (mic)

Dawn Patrol logo

As the sun rises, we patrol. Be afraid.

Today I was struck by a worrying thought. What if a parallel could be drawn between my life, and current theories regarding the creation of the universe? From the day of my birth (equivalent to the Big Bang) it would have increased in size rapidly, thrown outwards by the vigour of the initial explosion.

Then it would gradually have begun to lose its momentum, expanding more and more slowly until one day - 11th July, 1993 by my reckoning - it would have succumbed to the gravitational forces at its heart and, after pausing momentarily at its zenith, begun to collapse in on itself.

And as it shrunk smaller and smaller - and this is the really disturbing part - it would have replayed in reverse the events which took place on the way outwards. If my reasoning holds, it continues to do this as I write, until on a day 22 years from now it will have contracted to a single point of infinite density. I'm not sure what'll happen then, but I don't expect it'll be very nice.

I was set on this path of thought by, among other things, finding myself reviewing Dawn Patrol, a year-and-a-half after 11th July, 1993. It's a World War 1 aerial combat game, in which you roam the skies of France shooting down baddies.

Meanwhile, just over three years ago, a year-and-a-half before 11th July 1993, I was reviewing Knights of the Sky, a World War 1 aerial combat game in which you roamed the skies of France shooting down baddies. Not so much deja vu, then, as deja review.

Dawn Patrol is organised as a kind of interactive book. You click on 'page numbers' to jump to 'chapters' on various aspects of War War 1 aviation - the history of the war, the aces, the aircraft, or a selection of pilots whose careers you can follow through.

From within these 'chapters' you can then choose individual pilots, or planes, or whatever, by 'turning' to the appropriate 'page'. And once on the 'page' you can read lots of text with an accompanying picture or animated sequence, and then go from there to actually flying a mission.

It's rather a tortured analogy, especially when you find yourself typing page numbers from memory into a fiddly little box in the corner of the screen, but it's wholly preferable to the dreadful 'click on various buildings on an airbase' system of Rowan's previous game, Overlord, and it could be said to be taking the Amiga boldly forwards into a new era of interactive InfoEduTainment.

Once you're up in the air, Dawn Patrol looks much like any other Amiga flight sim. The aeroplanes are all neatly modelled, with roundels and iron crosses and little struts around their undercarriage, and there's a nice hazy effect on the horizon, but even on an A1200 it moves a bit jerkily unless you turn some of the details off.

Curiously, the sides of the screen sometimes move in and out slightly, making the picture bigger and smaller. Apparently this is to keep the speed of the graphics up, but it made me feel slightly sick.

The standard cockpit view only gives you a thin letterbox-shaped peek at the action. But that, of course, is where you can call upon Rowan's now-famous range of special views, which were explained in detail in the review of Overlord in Ap43.

You can look at your own plane from all sorts of different angles. You can get views of all the enemy planes. And there's the incredibly useful combat lock, which follows the nearest baddie around the sky so you don't spend the whole time watching them whizzing across your field of view, fumbling for the 'left' and 'right' view keys as you manoeuvre.

Struts around their undercarriage

If it's realism you're after, then there's lots. Switch off the Super Engines option and your plane claws feebly at the air, just like a biplane should. Try too may turny-twisty manoeuvres and your wings will fall off. (Although this actually gets a bit annoying, because you've no real way of knowing when you're exceeding your plane's limits. Cam pointed out that, in a real plane, you'd be able to feel the G-force, and see your wings juddering about and the ground looming up to meet you, and suggested that maybe the screen should wobble about when you're pushing the plane too hard)..

Also, your guns occasionally jam, causing you to have to level out and stab repeatedly at the U key till they clear. (Although it's actually more 'quite often' than 'occasionally', and again gets annoying. Maybe gun-jamming is the flight equivalent of reversing-the-controls power-ups in platform games).

There are 13 aeroplanes to choose from, from the desperately inadequate DH2 to the nimble Fokker Triplane, along with some Gotha bombers which you can't fly. And the missions are pretty varied too - as well as attacking formations of baddies you've got to escort bombers, attack barrage balloons and strafe lorries.

You can also 'be' a wide variety of top aces, like Immelman, Ball and Richthofen, although in practice this means doing exactly the same missions you'd be doing if you were Smith, Jones, or indeed, Davies, but with a bit of historical preamble beforehand. Except, having said that, the ace's missions are based on historical accounts, and you even get the chance to re-enact Richthofen's final, fateful flight to see if you can succeed where he failed.

Perhaps it's unfair to directly compare Dawn Patrol with Knights Of The Sky simply because they're both 3D polygon World War 1 flight sims. But they do both do essentially the same job and the question has to be asked: Is Dawn Patrol significantly better than Microprose's three-year-old veteran, which is still ranked at No 7 in our All-Time Top 100?

Dawn Patrol certainly has advantages over Knights Of The Sky: slightly more sophisticated graphics, the option to fly for the Germans and a greater variety of viewing angles, for example.

It also comes in a huge box with an excellent illustrated book about the Red Baron and a manual stuffed with fascinating facts. (Apparently, during the battle of Cambrai in November 1917, 30% of pilots were lost per day. Blimey).

And it excels in the way the computer-controlled aircraft behave. If you spy a formation of enemy planes below, and the sun is behind you, you really do have surprise on your side. The computer planes won't be aware of you until you start shooting at them, by which time it'll hopefully be too late. And rather than stubbornly sticking with dogfights until either your or they are dead, they'll realise when they're losing and feel, leaving you either to chase after them or give up.

But Knights Of The Sky is still, after all this time, so much more atmospheric and exciting. It opens with some flickery, black-and-white credits and a tinkly piano tune. Then, after negotiating the menus, you find yourself sitting on your airstrip with friendly planes circling overhead and lorries driving up and down the road. (Dawn Patrol's missions all start in the air, and you're never really aware of what's happening below).

You start up your engine with a satisfying splutter and lurch along the runway, clawing your way into the air just before you run out of grass. Then, after a short flight, you're over enemy lines, the air thick with Fokkers and flak bursts.

Messages appear on the screen like "Bullets whistle through the air around you!" and "Gun jam cleared!", which add greatly to the tension. The ground is littered with buildings, trees, guns and trucks, which not only provide a better sense of altitude, but give you something to skim over as you attempt to evade pursuit. There's even that fantastic two-player serial link option.

Knights might not be as realistic as Dawn Patrol - the number of planes and ground targets has been exaggerated so there's more to occupy you, and dogfights tend to follow repetitive patterns - but its shoot-'em-uppy feel means it works much better as a game.

Dawn Patrol, on the other hand, is slick and worthy, and in most respects a fine product, but just a trifle dull. Each mission is carefully staged and happens exactly as planned, so you're never surprised by anything. In fact, ironically, you never actually get to 'patrol' at all. You're never just sent up on the off-chance of running into some baddies, as tended to happen in World War 1.

And it doesn't really conjure up that pioneering, barn-storming spirit that's one of the big advantages of a good World War 1 flight sim: although your wings fall off occasionally, you feel almost as insulated as you do in, say, an F117A Stealth Fighter.

Overlord was good because, apart from perhaps Reach For The Skies, it's got no serious competition in the World War 2 stakes. And you could launch rocket attacks on boats and factories. But Dawn Patrol is slap bang up against Knights Of The Sky and, although Dawn Patrol got plenty going for it, it's Knights that we always reach for.

What's bothering me now is that if my life really is replaying itself in reverse, then it's clearly slightly worse on the way back. So this summer, although I was planning to go to California, I'd better brace myself for the most appalling holiday in Wales on record.


Why, back in the early days of military aviation, when all the good aeroplane names (like Phantom, Lightning, Mustang and so on) had yet to be used up, did manufacturers give their aircraft feeble titles like the Pup, the Camel and the SE5a? How might the balance of the war have been altered if the Germans instead of calling their main frontline fighter the Albatross, had flown into battle against us in Fokker Thunderchiefs, or DR4c SOul Extinguishers? Or did they realise how inappropriate such exciting, thrusting names would have been for their underpowered, unsafe aircraft? And in that case, shouldn't those pioneering aviators have been taking to the skies in the Fokker Fliegenkoffin? The Nieuport Pagnell? Or the Sopwith Crap?


Dawn Patrol is organised as an InTeracTive MultiMedia book, with everything divided up into chapters and pages. But how, you might be wondering, does this work in practice? Allow the AMIGA POWER™ InfoCannonⒸ to tear through the blinding fog of your ignorance with its thunderous ejaculations.

Dawn Patrol
THE AIRCRAFT: Aeroplanes evolved rapidly during the war. The first were quite dreadful (the Wright brothers only made the first powered flight 11 years earlier), but they slowly improved until they were merely crap. Dawn Patrol gives you 13 to choose from, with information about each.

Dawn Patrol
HISTORY: 'Turning' to 'page' '2' from the 'index' elicits a series of periods from the war, stretching from those first tentative encounters to the eventual demise of the German air force. 'Turning' to one of these gives you some text to read and a choice of missions from that period to fly.

Dawn Patrol
THE ACES: The best pilots shot down loads of planes, and by 'turning' to this 'page' you'll be able to read about the Red Baron, Albert Ball, Eddie Rickenbacker and their chums. Then you can fly some of the missions they flew. Each time you complete one you'll be offered another. This is probably the most involving way to play Dawn Patrol.

Dawn Patrol
PILOT BIOGRAPHIES: Dawn Patrol falls down a bit when it comes to creating your own pilots. The nearest you get is this 'page' where there are eight fictional pilots. Unfortunately you can't change their names or anything about them, and you're simply given a list of missions to choose from for each one. Desperately limp.

Dawn Patrol logo

Price: £34.99 Publisher: Empire 0181 343 7337

Dawn Patrol - is it a good flight sim, a history lesson or both? We find out.

It seems that Rowan Software is single-handedly attempting to keep the flight sim genre alive and kicking on the Amiga. First they released Reach for the Skies, then a couple of months back it was Overlord and now comes Dawn Patrol. Reach for the Skies and Overlord played well so does Dawn Patrol match that tradition?

Well, if a game was marked on options alone then the answer would most definitely have to be an empathic yes. Dawn Patrol's 150 plus scenarios cover the air wars from the earliest days at the start of the First World War, right through until the bitter and bloody end. It's not just air to air combat that's covered though, ground attacks and the more mundane aspects of war such as destroying air balloons are also featured.

Clearly a lot of time has been spent making the missions as realistic and accurate as possible and repeated playing teaches you a great deal about early air combat.

For instance, playing the Allies in some of the early missions (whose first combat aircraft featured guns on the top wing making aiming almost impossible) makes it easy to see why the average life expectancy of a pilot was measured in hours rather than days or weeks.

Certain mission parameters like how many and what type of enemy planes are encountered can be altered too and this helps to increase the game's longevity.

Other options such as invincibility, super engines and unlimited ammo are also available for the more arcade orientated gamer, but Dawn Patrol is definitely a game for the flight sim fan as the multiple keys required for mastery of each aircraft demonstrates.

Empire also deserve special praise for the presentation of Dawn Patrol, which is among the best I've ever encountered in any computer game. First off is the chunky box, complete with a dramatic painted image of a dogfight. Once inside there's a satisfying manual and technical supplement, but far more interestingly there's a limited edition book from the Famous Flyer's series. Manfred Von Richthofen: The Man and the Aircraft He Flew follows perhaps the most famous of pilots' exploits, from his early days to becoming the World War One Ace of Aces, a title earned for rather happily shooting down more enemy planes than any other pilot.

Being bombarded with information continues apace throughout the game with impressively researched and thoroughly detailed accounts of the pilots and the battles themselves for each of the missions on offer in the game. The problem is that this information tends to get in the way of the action.

I don't know about you, but if I want to read brilliant research material I get a book with which I can sit down in a comfortable chair and burrow through it. I don't want to sit in front of a glaring monitor clicking through page after page of weeny text when I'm trying to play a game.

This information interferes with the structure of the game because no sooner have you completed the series of missions for one pilot, than you're ploughed straight into the next. A severe lack of immersion of feeling of progress in the game is the result because just as you become used to the idiosyncrasies of the plane and period that you're flying in, bam, you're whizzed off to the next.

It's a lot like being trapped in a string of episodes from BBC's cult sci fi programme where physicist Sam leaps from person to person without ever becoming fully accustomed to where he is. In my opinion strategy-based games needs a sense of progress that missions, sub-missions and the ability to save games offers.

Your failure or success has no effect on the game. Either way you're free to play the mission again or move on to the next. For me this resulted in the feeling of 'so what' if I failed.

Good reading material but...
As a piece of reference material Dawn Patrol is exceptional, especially for a computer title, but as a game? Well, it's fun to play for sure, but I felt there was no sense of progress in the game and didn't get very involved in it. It's something that I'd return to, but only for a quick blast, which surely isn't the aim for a flight sim.

Still, it's not all bad by ay means. Although limited in their scope, most of the missions are fun and I like the way that you can choose to play as either a German or Allied pilot as well as alter at what height and whereabouts the battle takes place.

And graphically this is impressive for an Amiga fight sim, certainly more so than Overlord and particularly when played on an A4000.

Dawn Patrol's main problem though is one of simple economics. For the same price you could pick up a copy of the definitive Amiga flight sim, MicroProse's classic Knights of the Sky, as well as a decent book about First World War combat and at the end of the day I'd recommend that.