Airport 2000 Volume 3
|a game by||Wilco Publishing|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||6.0/10 - 1 vote|
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After cranking out two add-on hits for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000, Belgium-based game publisher Wilco Publishing is at it again with Airport 2000 Volume 3. The latest edition includes seven new airports, three new aircraft and 10 adventures with two levels of play. Finally, a chance to try a barrel roll in an A320 Airbus full o' passengers. You are not free to move about the cabin.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Airport 2000 Volume 3 is an add-on in the truest sense of the word. Don't expect any changes to basic gameplay or controls, instead Wilco packs in tons of graphic upgrades, a few extra planes and a handful of "adventures." Now when I say adventures I don't mean the swinging-from-a-rope-like-a-monkey-while-you-steal-a-fabled-jewel kind of adventure. No, this is more of the flying from Denver International to Seattle-Tacoma kind of adventure.
Seven of the adventures included in Volume 3 link the new airports to each other, while another three link up with airports available inand . Each of the adventures include in-flight cockpit crew announcements, pilot's voices and even tower, ground control, and departure control communications. To mix it up a bit, some of the adventures also throw in a random emergency, like a blown fuse or faulty landing gear. Overall, I wouldn't expect much from the adventures, though they do add yet another level of realism to the game.
The best part of this add-on is the wonderfully rendered airports. Roll along the tarmacs of Berlin Tegal in Germany, Paris Orly in France, Kastrup Copenhagen in Denmark, London Gatwick in the U.K., and Denver International, San Francisco International, and Seattle-Tacoma in the U.S.
Each of the airports are packed with the kind of details that help turn a flight-sim into a truly immersive experience. Satellite terminals, radar towers, hangers, office buildings, even airport docking gates are all rendered true to life. If you have the computing power, or don't mind the low frame rate, punch up the detail to the max and check out moving monorail, aircraft, and car traffic running in and around the airport. Heck, the game shows fresh tire marks and oil spills on the tarmac and even fills the air with migrating birds. In some airports you can actually see passengers walking from building to building. This is what sims are all about.
Finally, Airport 2000 Volume 3, gives you three new planes to tool around in. The Boeing 737-800, Airbus A320 and Dornier 328 Turbo Prop all feature moving flaps, ailerons, rotating fans and propellers and retractable gear and flaps. Unfortunately the instrument panels, said to replicate each plane's real counterpart, leave a little to be desired. The graphics look a little amateurish compared to the rest of the add-on's features and I found myself doing a lot of squinting, trying to figure out what the gauges and switches said.
Realism, you want realism? Try this: you actually have to look out for flocks of birds during take-offs. A pelican in the turbine can really ruin a guy’s day.
This add-on is all about graphics and, with minor exceptions, those graphics are almost always breath-taking. For instance, comparing the original Denver International to the add-on version gives you an idea of what you have been missing. The improvements are unbelievable.
In any simulation, the devil is in the details, and this game has them in spades. From ultra-realistic night lighting, to people, plane and vehicle traffic, Airport 2000 Volume 3 breaths some much needed life into what was Microsoft Flight Simulator's ghost-town airports. Not only are the graphics incredible, Wilco manages to deliver them without sucking away all of the game's frame rate. The game's ability to fine-tune the level of graphics also help to speed-up dragging systems.
From the roar of a turbine engine to the polite reminder by a stewardess that the flight is non-smoking, Wilco makes sure that you'll be listening to the game as closely as you watch it.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000, Windows 98/ME, Pentium 400 MHz, 64 MB RAM, CD-ROM drive, and 184 MB of free hard disk space. Airport 2000 Volume 3 is fully compatible with Volumes 1 and 2, but they are not necessary.
As if making the outside of seven airports a living and breathing thing wasn't enough, many of the new airports featured in Airport 2000 Volume 3 allow you to stroll through the inside of the terminals as well, bumping onto hurrying passengers and scanning the cheesy gift stores. Geesh, enough realism already.
Although chock-full of interesting tid-bits about the seven new airports and airports in general, the "pilot's manual" does little to help walk you through the process of taking advantage of the add-on's new features. Luckily, most of the new features are easy to find -- so happy hunting.
Only a hardcore propeller-head is going to want to buy this add-on, but then again who else would want to play Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000? Airport 2000 Volume 3 takes an already incredibly realistic flight-sim and bumps it up a few hundred notches, pumping life into a game that in every other way was nearly perfect.