|a game by||Gemsoft Corp.|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Merit Software (of Isle of The Dead and Dr Radiaki fame) is taking a break from producing Doom clones to work on a flight sim with a difference. Fighter Wing will (allegedly) have a very realistic flight engine to challenge experienced pc pilots, while at the same time include an option for beginners which enables them to simply fly around the place shooting things. Merit claims the graphics (up to 800x600 in svga mode) are superior to those in Strike Commander and Fleet Defender, which both used texture-mapping to great effect. The designers of Fighter Wing say that their 3D render graphics engine will provide a far more realistic environment to fly around in than either of these games. There will be no career option in this offering. but players will be able to fly any of today's American or Russian planes in several combat scenarios, each one more difficult to complete than the last.
Networking the skies
Perhaps the most impressive thing about Fighter Wing at this stage of its development is the multi-player option. The game can be played over a local area network with up to 16 players on two teams. There are seven special multi-player missions, which range from simple dogfight scenarios (both teams fly around blowing each other up until one of them ceases to exist) to missions which force the teams to think strategically in order to win. A good example of this is the "Capture the Flag" scenario. This concept has been lifted from a computer game in which the objective is. spookily enough, to capture your opponent's flag, except in this case it's not a flag you're after, it's a plane. Both teams split their members up into attacking and defensive ranks, and work together to outwit their opponents and. eventually, capture their plane and win. Okay, it might sound a bit crap in theory, but the original game is very addictive, so a wacky flight sim version could work well if Merit can strike the right balance between strategy and out-and-out dogfighting.
Multi-player piloting aside. Fighter Wing should also have plenty to keep solo players busy, considering the variety of the missions available and the impressive list of planes to choose from. It doesn't offer quite as many planes as the ill-fated Dogfight from MicroProse. which, although it allowed you to fly about in lots of different planes, suffered from awful graphics and a suspect flight engine, but you can fly any of today s modern fighter planes. These make mission preparation more challenging as you not only have to select the right weapons for your aircraft but also the correct plane to fly if you are to be sure of successfully completing your task.
Extra goodies on the CD version include video footage from FirePowcr, a weekly Discovery Channel tv series, which I'm sure you've all heard of and love.
On paper, Fighter Wing looks as though ii could be the multi-player flight sim extravaganza we've all been waiting for, though whether it will knock Doom off its network game of the century pedestal, we won't know until we see the finished version. Watch this space.