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-
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 handker
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-
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-
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 view
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 auto
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.