Great flapping silk scarves! It's those

Knights Of The Sky logo

MICROPROSE * £34.99 * 1 meg * Joystick * Out now

War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing, if the song's to be believed. But what a huge steaming fib that is. War may not be much fun at the time, but it does make a great excuse for some wazzu computer games.

Think back of the years, all the games that wouldn't have existed if all human beings ever wanted to do was pick flowers and skip about in fields. Shoot-'em-ups would go out of the window, as would strategy and role-playing games, and pretty much eery other game in the world really.
All we'd be left with would be those really exciting language tutor programs that teach you how to say "The gentlemen are waving their handkerchiefs at the Bullfight" in stilted Spanish. Gulp. So war is a bit of alright actually. War is great. At least from a games point of view.
And let's face it, Microprose have built their reputation on games about people being blown up. But somehow, all this long distance fire-and-forget nonsense is getting a bit dull isn't it? All this hi-tech japery. Where's the action? Where's the tension? The seat-of-year-pants manoeuvring? The skin-of-your-teeth dogfighting? The hem-of-your-trousers nosedives? And so on.

I don't know about you, but I think it would be a good idea if Microprose realised a flight sim set in the First World War. Just you, a rickety old plane and a crap machine gun against a beastly Hun in a rickety old plane with a crap machine gun.
Back to basics and all that. Sort the men from the boys. Yes, that really would be the camel's doodahs. And what's this poking out of this Jiffy bag? Lummox! It's Knights of the Sky from Microprose. Am I psychic or what?

So, as you've probably guessed after that dismal introdcution, Knights of the Sky is a WWI flight sim. Not only that, but it's one of the most playable and appealing flight sims I've ever played. It's graphically excellent, it's got great sound effects, but most of all it's fun. Fun with a capital F. And while we're about it, it's got a capital U and N as well. Yes, it's FUN. In fact make that FUN with flashing neon bits and tinsel.

Now as with all Microprose flight sims, it's got the most miserable of anoraks happy. Suffice to say I could quite easily just spend the rest of the review rewriting the manual and telling you about each option in almost unbearable detail. But I won't. That's the kind of off-the-wall guy I am.

The game is as historically accurate as you'd ever want it to be. The front line advances and retreats just as it did in the real war, both armies take losses at the right times, famous battles take place around you, and most importantly the quality of the aeroplanes improves at the same rate as it did in 1916.

You start off with a choice of only two planes, and they're both terrible. But as the war progresses, new planes are developed and become available to you. At the same time, the enemy planes are becoming more and more deadly, so it's up to you to keep one step ahead.
Also adding to the overall "feel" of being involved in a real war is the ongoing battle to be an Ace. Once you've scored five kills in the air you qualify as one of these elite pilots, and can keep track of your performance against the other aces.

If you feel that one of the enemy aces is getting a bit big for his jackboots then you can challenge thim to a duel and go slap him about a bit. Mind you, they can do the same to you so don't become too cocky.
All of this adds up to give you a real feeling of involvement. You can really start to get quite badly riled when one of the Hun aces keep shooting down British scout planes. Quite badly riled indeed. And you can't help but cheer out loud when you hear that one of your lads has sent the Bosh packing. It can get quite embarrassing actually.

But before you can sample these delights you must jump in the seat and take to the skies.
First you choose your plane, paying close attention to the weaponry and speed of your chosen steed. Then you opt to fly a mission.

The mission will usually involve one of four general tasks. You might be asked to act as an escort to another plane, or you might have to attack an enemy installation or convoy. You could be asked to shoot down an enemy balloon, or it may just be a simple patrol mission. If you don't like the look of the mission, you can decline but this will affect your standing as a pilot and could lead to you getting mashed potato flicked in your eye in the officers' mess. Not much fun at all.

This is all merely a taster, though, for the actual flight scenes themselves. All the details are there. Little French villages with churches and houses, the constantly shifting front line with its trenches and flak guns, right down to the little truck convoys that trundle along the tree-lined roads just waiting to be blown to pieces. Gorgeous.

There are 14 different viewpoints to give you a good overall look at what's going on around you. These aren't just there for the sake of it either, as you don't have any posh instrumentation to locate the enemy. You'll have to constantly keep your eyes peeled for "bandits at 3 o' clock". Ooh, I always wanted to say that.

And when the fiendish Hun come at you, and believe me they will, you don't just see them as tiny dots in the distance. They have a nasty habit of flying right over your head and then swooping about you all over the place. As the pilot you get to see it in all glorious 3D, and you'll soon be swaying in your seat and ducking under the desk to keep away from them.

It's very, very difficult to sum up Knights of the Sky in only two pages. It's even harder to put in to words just what it is about the game that's so appealing. Maybe it's the sheer joy of having a flight sim where you actually get to fly and fight intelligent enemies rather than just using autopilot and lock-on weapons. It could well be the largest dollops of storyline and historical developments they've been squeezed I between missions.

It's probably just the fact that it's really good fun to chunder around the place and look at the sights. Add to this the best ever intro scene in the entire universe and you've got a winner. In a nutshell, Knights of the Sky is the most original, playable and lovable flight sim I've ever played. Most pleasant indeed.

Knights Of The Sky logo

Simulations usually rely on the high-tech hardware they are mimicking for charisma. But here is a game that stars Fokkers and Sopwiths that has its own distinctive style.

Looking down on the muddy hell of the Somme is a sobering thought. Europe is killing itself 5,000 feet below and all that holds you aloft is a precarious plane made of nothing but plank and plywood. To add to the terror Richthofen, the Red Baron, is hunting down allied pilots in the early morning clouds. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Knights of the Sky recreates the air wars of 1916. You are a pilot in the formative years of air combat, one of the brave few whose names became legends. High-tech jets are all well and good, but flying on a wing and a prayer has a terrifying edge, and this piece of software catches the atmosphere of innocence and fear well: back when flying by the seat-of-the-pants was the way you learned not hyperbole.

Aces high
It is late Spring, the Germans still rule the skies, but better Allied planes and more pilots are beginning to erode the Jerry's advantage. You join the war as a young recruit with only a few flying hours logged, but ready to risk your life in ramshackle machines. The aim is to survive the war and to become an ace. The options that face you are simple: join the war straightaway, practice the various duties you will perform at the front, go head-to-head against a chosen ace or hit the comms options and fly for fun against a friend.

Practice follows the well worn, and reassuring, MicroProse path. Different missions and levels of difficulty can be mixed up as you try your hand in all of the game's 20 planes. It is here that the planes reveal their strange characteristics: foibles that you have to learn to live with. Jet jockeys will invariably try to pull high G-manoeuvres, tight turns and afterburning tricks only to find that primitive prop systems cannot actually go ballistic. These planes have to be coaxed rather than flown, nursed into climbs and edged out of stalls. Try and Immelman turn here and you will find out why the move was revolutionary.

The manual recommends that you try to fly the standard dogfight moves: trust them they know what they are doing. Stick with the program and you will survive the first fight; rush straight for the front and you will find that beautiful new flying jacket is full of holes. New tricks have to be learned and all the regular flight sim tricks have to be unlearned.

The Blue Max
At the front line life is harsh - you can determine how harsh at the difficulty level stage - as day after day you are sent on missions to bomb, strafe and shoot down the dreaded Hun. The trouble is that they are trying to do the same to you.

The missions are varied enough to keep even ace killers happy: balloon busting, trucks strafing, escort duty and air superiority each have their own tricks. Balloons are defended by triple A but rarely fighters, so the kill count will stay low but you will stay alive. Strafing is barn-storming stuff, screaming in low and level, but continually risking ground hits. Escort Duty is made tough because you have to keep pace with slower observation planes and try not to accidentally shoot them down. Air Superiority is best for pushing up your ace rating, but because whole enemy wings can be encountered by a single plane, your flying life span is not assured.

Excellent 3D and static graphics ram home the message that this is the Amiga biplane sim.

If you do massive damage to the German war effort you win medals and promotion, score five kills and you become an ace and a target for the second, deeper game motive. A war of egos rages between Allied and German Pilots. The best from each side are feared by many but sought by the few. As your reputation grows, so will the clippings ledger and gossip tally that tell you where to find the opposing aces. Some foolhardy aerial killers directly challenge Allied pilots to duels above a certain town at a set time; high noon at 5,000 feet! Other, wiser, aces have to be hunted down. These are the richest rewards to heroic Knights: dogfights against the true greats.

The Sopwiths, Eindekkers and Fokkers feel unnatural at first, but the simulation has been built to be flown and not crashed. Knights is friendly to the new pilot, allowing the fun of flight, but removing the dangers or things like landings and armed opponents. Supporting these 'cheats' are logical key commands that make your flight with MicroProse a pleasure. If you have not got the courage, know-you or if you lack the skills to land, pilots on easier levels can simply employ the 'auto land' function which brings even the shakiest of pilots down to earth. If a plane is in the distance then a zoom is available - because it is not clever to shoot down your own side - to scope out the other guy's colours before opening fire, even in pause mode!

The Red Baron
Knights of the Sky has a fresh feel, unrestricted by all the techno jargon that surrounds the latest, supersonic flight simulations. It handles the flying well, creating a squadron of similarly dissimilar planes. None of them are brilliant, but some are very good. The lack of clutter-up front, though, is what marks it out as an ace in its own right. Enemies have to be spotted and tracked, not locked on radar. Waypoints are still science fiction here, so pilots have to follow landmarks or compass for directions. These make the whole flying experience more of a game, forcing greater control and interaction.

Hunting down the enemy's crack pilots gives the fights a candid touch - was that red Eindekker really Richthoffen? They force more into the 'between-flights' section too. The rewards are not just medals, but the power to track down a vaunted foe. It gives you something to shoot for other than personal glory.

The flying is fun but slow, in terms of velocity not frame rate, and it is all too easy to become disorientated. Knights' navigation is confusing, but then so was the real thing. Knights captures the First World War theme well, segmenting a story into the simulation.

Excellent 3D and static graphics ram home the message - this is the Amiga biplane sim. It can be an absorbing and thrilling aviation history lesson, but you have to find the period and subject interesting to make soldiering through the initial 'duff plane and I am lost' syndrome, worth it. Learn to fly one of these beauties, though, and you are guaranteed hours of testing dogfights to the death against some of flying's greatest heroes.

Tollkühne Ritter in fliegenden Kisten

Knights Of The Sky logo

Wenn Microprose eine neue Simulation herausbringt, sind die Erwartungen immer recht hoch - kein Wunder, Highlights wie "Gunship" oder "F-19 Stealth Fighter" bleiben halt unvergesslich! Kein Wunder aber auch, dass kleine Enttäuschungen nicht ausbleiben können...

Genau so eine kleine Enttäuschung sind nämlich die Ritter der Lüfte. Wohlgemerkt nur eine kleine, und auch das nur gemessen am hohen Standard anderer Microprose-Simulationen. Bloß: Wieviel Auswahl hat der Doppeldecker-Fan am Amiga schon? Die Cinemaware-Variante ist ja am Index gelandet, "Red baron" dreht nach wie vor ausschließlich am MS-DOS-Himmel seine Kreise - genaugenommen muss man froh sein, dass wenigstens diese historische Luftschlacht nun endlich vom PC umgesetzt wurde!

Als Hintergrundszenario dient das Frankreich der Jahre 1916 bis 1918. Mit einer der dazumal üblichen Klapperkisten kann man nun mutterseelenallein herumkurven (Training), in Einzelduellen gegen 16 verschiedene deutsche Flieger antreten ("Dogfight Encounter"), sich per (Null-) Modem spannende Luftkämpfe mit einem Freund liefern oder versuchen, sich im Ersten Weltkrieg ein paar Orden und Auszeichnungen zu verdienen.

Zuerst ist aber mal eine Entscheidung über den Schwierigkeitsgrad (fünf Stück) und den gewünschten Piloten fällig. Entweder man strickt sich seine Identität selber oder schlüpft in die Rolle eines von zehn Instant-Helden, die Auswahl reicht vom absoluten Greenhorn bis zum erfahrenen Flugveteran mit satten 78 Abschüssen am Konto. Dann braucht man noch eine Mission, und schon kann's losgehen.

In der Luft sieht man seine Umgebung einschließlich Freund und Feind in flotter aber etwas ruckeliger Vektorgrafik, der untere Teil des Bildschirms wird von den ziemlich groß geratenen Cockpit-Armaturen eingenommen. Mit dem Funktionstasten lässt sich die Perspektive wechseln (linke und rechte Seite, nach hinten und Verfolgansicht), gesteuert werden die Kisten mit Maus, Hoystick oder Tastatur.

Das Abschießen der feindlichen Maschinen ist übrigens gar nicht so leicht: Weil die Bewaffnung sich auf altertümliche MGs mit geringer Reichweite beschränkt, muss man seinen Gegnern fast hinten drauf fliegen, um sie vom Himmel zu holen!

Soweit, so gut. Auch, daß die vielfältigen Flieger und Missionen (das feindliche Hauptquartier fotografieren, Begleitschutz, etc.) für Abwechslung sorgen, ist fein, genauso fein wie der "Campaign Generator", mit dem man sich eigene Aufträge basteln kann. Weniger fein ist hingegen, dass man immer dieselbe Cockpitgrafik zu sehen bekommt, egal in welcher Kiste man sitzt.

Noch weniger fein ist, dass sich die Maschinen auch im Flugverhalten nur geringfügig voneinander unterscheiden. Da helfen selbst die ungeheuer atmosphärischen Zwischenscreens und das Bißchen Klaviergeklimper nix - Knights of the Sky ist bestimmt kein schlechter Flugsimulator, aber von Microprose hätten wir uns doch ein bisschen mehr erwartet...

Knights Of The Sky logo

Forget modern warfare. The latest release from simulation-meisters MicroProse much more 'basic' skills of those magnificent men and - yes! - their flying machines...

It seems like only pages ago that I was accusing the A-6 intruder of being slow and unwieldy. But I take back everything I said, I really do. In fact, you hereby have my permission to cut out the relevant paragraph, roll it up tightly and shove it up my right nostril. Until you've tried clinging to be the air in a bullet-ridden Sopwith Camel, struggling to top 50 mph, flogging it for all it's worth in order to make it those last couple of miles back to the safety of the British lines, you haven't even begun to experience 'slow and unwieldy'. Compared to the Sopwith Camel, the A-6 intruder seems possessed of positively gazelle-like qualities. The Sopwith Camel is to air combat what the Raleigh Grifter is to international cycle racing.

Luckily, what the Sopwith Camel lacks in speed it makes up for in agility - you could quite literally turn it on a sixpence (as long as it was quite a bit one). The same goes for the 19 other World War I planes Knights Of The Sky gives you the opportunity to fly, and that's essentially what makes it such a fab game.

Flying a biplane is a completely different experience to flying a jet fighter, and Knights manages to capture its pitfalls with uncanny precision. You're basically fighting a constant battle to defy Newtonian physics. Your woefully underpowered airframe is just about capable of maintaining a steady 70 mph in level flight, so if you want to go any faster you'll have to sacrifice some height, and if you want to climb you'll have to content yourself with teetering on the brink of a stall at about 40 mph. It's all very touch and go, especially as your plane is hopelessly wobbly, and never quite seems to go in the direction you've got in mind.

It immediately becomes the World War I flight sim

Remember, though, that your opponents (the 'Boche') are suffering from similar problems, so dogfights are resolved on not only who's the best tactician, but also who can stay in the air for longest.
As you might expect, before take-off you have to wade through screenfuls options. The first of these is the most important - it's where you decide whether to go for flight training, a straight dogfight against an ace of your choice, a fight against a chum playing on another computer of World War I proper. This last one is where things really start to happen. You start off as a new recruit at the beginning of the air war with no kills to your credit and have to work your way up the ranks by flying missions and downing Germans. (You can only play on the Allied side, although in the training options you can fly German planes if you want). Your eventual aim is to become numero uno. The ace of aces, by downing lots of top German pilots like Ernst Udet and Manfred von Richthofen.

It's not just the feel of Knights that's right, the look is 'there' as well. While MicroProse F-15 II looked. I felt, a bit brown and bland, here we're talking green fields and trees, blue rivers and sea, white cliffs, blue barrage balloons (which explode with a wonderful noise when you shoot them), grey and brown trucks (depending on whose side they're on) and buildings in all shapes and colours. The brightly-coloured planes help a lot too. Views? There are plenty of those, including a much better 'chase plane' than usual and a really weird and completely useless 'radio control' view.

The graphics aren't quite as smooth as the PC original's, particularly when there's lots on screen, but they never become intrusively jerky and you can always turn the detail level down a bit. (And we're talking 20 MHz 386 PC with Turbo accelerator card here, rather than a £300 Amiga). Presentation throughout is absolutely top hole too starting with a flickery black and white intro sequence, complete with period music, and continuing throughout the game with pictures of all the aircraft and aces you'll be up against, along with plenty of performance and kill ratios.

In fact, the only real problems are those which apply to any flight sim. Firstly there are the inevitable horrors of flying a plane with a digital joystick, which means sloppy handling and occasionally unpredictable behaviour. The only answer to this is mouse control or an analogue joystick, but Knights doesn't cater for either of these terribly well. This has to be seen as a major oversight really, as any flight sim should try to offer authentic joystick feel.

It's not just the feel of Knights that's right, the look is 'there' as well

Then there's the fact that to glance over your shoulder during a dogfight means fumbling around with the keyboard - it's usually easier just to try and guess where the enemy is. Combine the two problems and you get one big one, with baddies flashing across your view with gay abandon while you desperately wrestle with the controls to try and pursue them. Like I said, though, you get this with any flight sim. With only the likes of t(he relatively poor and far slower) Blue Max competing with it, Knights of the Sky has no trouble at all in immediately becoming the World War I flight sim.

It's got the lot - great graphics, seat-of-your-pants flying, accessibility (you won't need to worry about radars or chaff dispensers), and tinkly piano music. Take it from me: hedge-clipping in a creaky biplane is considerably more fun than the detached business of flying a modern warplane and a lot less expensive if you come a cropper.

The Knights Of The Sky game focueses on the daring-do of WWI air conflicts, the only problem ebing that World War I fighter planes were completely crap. Some, however, were slightly (slightly) less crap than the rest. Here they are:
Knights Of The Sky: DE HAVILLAND DH 2
As grim as it looks. The DH 2 is a 'pusher' design, meaning that the propeller's at the back. This makes it look a bit like one of those weird swamp boat things on Gentle Ben, and about as fun to fly. Still, what can you expect for 1916?
Knights Of The Sky: ALBATROS DS
There was a whole series of Albatrosses, but this is about the best (believe it or not). It's quite nice and streamlined, thanks to its inline engine, but you still need nerves of steel to go up in one.
Looks pretty cool from a distance, but isn't. 85 mph tops, and a slightly rude-sounding name to boot. The one consolation is that it has a gun that fires through the propeller(!), making it a good deal easier to aim.
Knights Of The Sky: SOPWITH CAMEL
The plane you've heard so much about. Must be pretty nifty, right? Wrong. Although it was the most successful Allied plane in terms of kills, the Sopwith Camel is actually just as useless as the rest of them. Edwardian engineering, eh?
Knights Of The Sky: NIEUPORT 17
French, and correspondingly weird. All the same, it shifts (well, 100 mph) and is slightly less embarrassing to be seen in than the DH 2, which is perhaps why the aces of the time preferred it.
Knights Of The Sky: FOKKER DR 1
If you see one of these painted bright red, run for it - it's probably the Red Baron. The Fokker Triplane's three (or is it six?) wings gave it amazing agility and climbing skills. (Well, when I say amazing...)

Knights Of The Sky logo CU Amiga Screenstar

This is real flying! No radar, missiles, parachutes or Mach two turbo jets: just a crabby 105-horse-power engine and machine gun that keeps jamming.
Knights Of The Sky puts the player in the cockpit of a first world war bi or tri-plane, flying and dying for Britain, France or Germany. The manual is complete with a history of the war, so you can lie in bed and look up the dates where the allies took a pasting. But when hostilities break out there's only a few models worth choosing, with the best being flown by the Germans.

It's worth taking time out with the trainer mode, before you plunge head-first into combat. This still sticks you in at the deep end, but there's a text bar at the top of the screen which tells you when you've made a mistake and how to correct it. What normally happens is that you end up in a power dive and hit the ground before you can take in any information.

Once you master in a (moderately) straight line, you're ready to take on some opponents. The first thing you notice is that you can't see your enemy. This is where the look-round view comes into play, hitting the appropriate keys on the numeric pad gives eight different views from the cockpit. Precision is also called for: if you don't spot him in time, the other plane will usually appear on your tail with its guns blazing.

Bi-planes don't have much in the way of moving parts, just the engine, propellor, pilot and flaps. This lets them soak up a large amount of damage before they go into trouble. Usually, the rudder or flaps go first, which means you can only steer in one direction. The engine is usually next to go, so it's wise to try and land your plane once the steering goes.

Turns and special moves have to be learned if you want to fly against the aces, without any tricks you'll soon find yourself travelling back to blighty in a box.
Ground targets can be strafed with your machine guns, but this takes a lot of practise. You have to put the plane into a shallow dive, reduce speed and let rip. Once a target is in range, your plane is at the mercy of the defenders' guns, and a stray bullet can cause a lot of damage.

Most of the planes fly nimbly and can perform some very agile moves. What they do lack, though, is engine power, which leads to stalls. This takes some getting used to, especially if you're an F-15 or an Intruder veteran.

But the charm of this game is it's very low-techness. Don't shoot 'till you see the whites of their eyes, and that can be a lot more fun than launching a heat-seeking missile at a distant target.
What makes Knights so good is its speed. It's incredibly fast, even when the screen gets busy. There are plenty of ground objects which add to realism without slowing the game down.

This is a flight sim that requires very accurate flying skills. It's jam-packed with action, which makes it like a shoot 'em up at times. Nevertheless, a must buy for flight sim fans.

ACES HIGH In the unlikely event you start surviving missions with a high kill rate, you'll start attracting the attention of enemy aces. Once you reach a certain number of kills you can challenge, or be challenged by, an ace to single combat. All you have to do is nominate a meeting place and turn up.
Bombing missions also come into play, although your arsenal consists only of tiny 25lb bombs which are almost useless. Machine guns are often the bane of confident pilots. It takes quite a few shots to bring down another plane, and if your gun jams you're in trouble. Bailing out is out of the question.
One of Britain's top world war one pilots was Albert Ball. At the age of 20 he commanded his own squadron, making him the youngest captain in the Royal Flying Corps. He had been credited with 45 kills at the time of his death. He was last seen attacking five German Albetross scouts, and it's believed he brought down three before finally being shot down.
Britain's highest scoring pilot was Edward Mannock, who commanded 85 squadron. Despite having just one eye he notched up 78 kills, only two less than the Red Baron. Ironically, he died in a flying accident. He suffered engine problems shortly after take off, and instead of trying to land the plane straight away, which was procedure, he carried on ascending for several hundred feet, believing his engine would be fine. It cut out and he plunged to his death.

Knights Of The Sky logo Zero Hero

Amiga/£34.99/Out Now

World War One, eh? What a laugh. I mean, which would you rather have - a carrier bag full of white feathers or a lung full of mustard gas? I know I'd take the feathers - what about you, children? There was a glamorous side to it all of course - the "fly-boys," the specialists of the tailoring world, for whom no trouser-tuck was too tricky, no packet uncontainable and no bulge unconstrainable.(Eh? Ed.)

Oh yes, and there were the other fly-boys, the geezers who thought they were clever because they zoomed about in barely-controllable machines and died young all over the place (much like their modern-day equivalent, the motorcycle courier). Predictably, Knights Of The Sky deals with these airborne show-offs, rather than their interesting needlework-orientated contemporaries. The initial menu lets you choose between Flight Training (fly about sightseeing, bombing churches and strafing poodles); Dogfight Encounters; Head to Head (where, if you can hire a friend with a compatible computer, you can link up for a dogfight and World War I proper.

Your goal in KOTS, apart from living longer than 12 minutes, is to become Ace of Aces, recording more kills than anyone else and killing all the enemy Aces by defeating them in aerial duels.

Missions consist of escorting bombers, patrolling alone, bombing and balloon-bursting. There are five levels of difficulty, enough to cater for the most ham-fisted flyer. Excel in the set missions and you get some future war-memorabilia pinned to your chest, which should come in handy when you're a penniless old vet with no legs and a pathetic pension. You are initially thrown to your fates in a crap old bucket of a plane and newer models become available to you as they became available historically.

Amiga review

Patrick: Algy Sliteley-Winklebreath gritted his eyes, slitted his teeth and stared into the seat of his pants... obviously there was a problem with his wordprocessor macros. His "Handy Phrase-Generator for WWI Flight-Sim Reviewers" seemed to have developed a fault. Nevertheless, he kick-started his Sopwith Tortoise and hurtled into the wide blue whale. Hurrah!

This game weeps atmosphere like an old astroturf burn. As you progress, real events from WWI are described in newspaper headlines and the front-line trenches move back and forth in authentically futile fashion. When challenging enemy aces, you'll find that the cowardly Hun is usually surrounded by his mates, making getting at him pretty damn hard. This is balanced by the fact that only one bullet will put him away for good - a fairly standard MicroProse feature but you'll need all the help you can get.

The game scrolls more smoothly than its PC counterpart, and the graphics are less blocky than the PC's VGA version. A memory-saving generic cockpit is used for all planes, and tehre are the usual eight million external views (roughly), including a very useful 'reverse tactical' which shows more clearly where the basts are in relation to you. On-screen messages have been stepped-up, and include such advice as "Bullets whistle all around you." Oh and you can also now be "wounded".

All in all what you have here is 'une humme-dingèré', as I believe the French say. (Do you? Ed) So, although Knights Of The Sky was subsequently outdone by the stunning red Baron on the PC, I suspect, given the respective companies' track records, that it may well prove to be the outstanding WWI flight-sim on the Amiga.