Dynamix's Red Baron, in its PC incarnation, was the first game to ever score 94 on the ZERO excellent-o-meter. Frankly, it was fab. But what of Amiga owners who fancied a bit of aerial jiggery pokery? Well, there was Cinemaware's Wings - good fun, but not exactly a simulator. Apart from that there wasn't much going - until now, that is. Now we've got MicroProse's Knights Of The Sky (reviewed last issue) and... here it is... Red Baron.
In case you don't know, Red Baron is a flight simulator set in the First World War. Starting from the end of 1915, you get to fly for the German or British air forces in combat over the western front. All the options of the brilliant PC version are here, including dozens of single missions - from challenging an ace to hunting a zeppelin, or pursuing a whole career.
There's also a full replay facility and while flying, you've got full external views at your disposal: look up, look down, chase plane view etc. You can alter all the parameters of the flight model so that the game can be played almost as a shoot 'em up or, on the other, as a complex flight sim complete with rudder, carburettor freezing, sun glare and so on.
You can fly a whole mission from taking off to landing, or you can opt to 'start near the action' and quit out of the mission once you've completed it. One of the beauties of the PC version was the inclusion of maps - maps that actually bore relation to the gameplay. These are in the Amiga version too. You can actually navigate from them, following your progress in relation to landmarks shown in the graphics. Sounds promising, eh? Well let's find out, shall we?
David: In my opinion, Red Baron, stuffed KOTS on PC, but what's the deal on the Amiga? Well, er... um... (Get on with it? Ed.)
Er, okay - in a nutshell, the Red Baron broke my heart. With his lilting Teutonic tones and dashing balding bonce, I... er... sorry, I'll wirte that again. Just like its predecessor, A10- Tank Killer, this is another case of a cracking PC title failing to translate to the Amiga.
It's quite 'in' at the moment to introduce a new techy trade mark, such as Photoscape™ , Rotoscape™ , Virtual Theatre™ etc. Well, if Dynamix had to coin a similar term for its Amiga conversions, I'm afraid it would be Jerk-o-vision™ . To say this game moves at a snail's pace might well upset a lot of snails. The PC version was jerky on our bottom end machine, but you forgave it because of the huge depth of options, user-friendliness and total atmosphere. Turn the Amiga detail down to minimum and non-filled wire-frame graphics throw the atmosphere right out the window.
Dynamix is top notch when it coes to PC flight sims (see Aces Of The Pacific on page 18), but when it comes to the Amiga it should check out its competitor. Lucasfilm isn't going o produce SWOTL on the Amiga, because it knows it can't maintain the speed and quality.
MicroProse has its Amiga and ST conversions written from scratch so that they're more compatible with the hardware. Bearing in mind the speed and graphical quality of similar games available at the moment, I think Red Baron is probably the slowest ever.
It might just be the case that if you've never seen the PC version and you're desperate for a WW1 sim, you may be able to live with the jerkiness of Red Baron, but for me the game is a huge disappointment. Even though Knights Of The Sky (PC) didn't come close to Red Baron (PC), I'd definitely buy Knights Of The Sky (Amiga) before this. (Sob, sob, blubber).