B-17 Flying Fortress: The Mighty 8th
The Mighty Eighth was, for the time, an authentic and atmospheric flight sim. Covering every aspect of a ten-man crew's life aboard a B-17 bomber, the game allows you to control everything from mission-planning and navigation to dropping your payload on the enemy.
Because you can flit from one character to another, you can choose the role you prefer - you don't even have to pilot the B-17 if that's not your bag. You can play the game in real-time, although there is a skip function, useful for those testing ten-hour sorties. OK, so it's looking a little Pathe News' now, but for less than the price of a Gracie Fields LP, this is a bally good effort.
Download B-17 Flying Fortress: The Mighty 8th
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Anyone remember MicroProse's original, classic B-17 Flying Fortress from 1992? Well, for their forthcoming WW2 bomber simulation MicroProse haven't forgotten their roots. At face value, B-17 The Mighty Eighth seems to be an identical type of game, combining all the pleasures of a heavyweight, highly detailed flight simulation program with the team management delights of a strategy game, just as the original did to such great effect.
Spend longer than the average lifespan of an Italian government looking at the pictures and watching the demo, and you quickly realise that 'update' is as misjudged a choice of word for this game as 'talented' is for Vanessa Feltz. Wayward Design haven't so much gone to town on The Mighty Eighth as invaded it, ethnically cleansed the locals and declared a state of independence. Not only can you fly a standard, run-of-the-mill B-17 bombing run, you can also take command of entire squadrons, assign crewmen to all the different planes based on their skills (skills that improve as they fly missions, which means you're likely to be more pissed off than usual if you lose them during a mission), plan entire bombing raids and command (and even fly) the fighter escorts.
On the technical side of things, the attention to detail is just as impressive: the European terrain is supposedly modelled to within 20cm; the aircraft have everything from rotating wheels to oil stains on the windshields; crews move around in full 3D inside the bombers as you issue orders; the flight and damage models are all intertwined; multiplayer games can have up to 32 players with human teams manning single B-17s... The list goes on and on.
Incidentally, that last one might not sound like a barrel of laughs, but let me tell you, sonny, that one of the most enjoyable multiplayer gaming experiences I ever had was during an online game of Air Warrior III, sitting in the tail gunner's seat of a B-17, bombing an enemy airfield, with seven other players manning the other positions. The sense of camaraderie conjured up as we chatted away to each other during the flight, and the team spirit displayed as we entered combat situations, alerting each other to enemy fighters and so on, was beyond anything I'd previously encountered.
Hopefully B-17 The Mighty Eighth can capture that same atmosphere and, thanks to the dedicated nature of its gameplay, improve upon it no end. The original was certainly one of the more impressive flight sims of its day, and with any luck this sequel will be able to make the same claim.