Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002: Professional Edition

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a game by Microsoft
Platform: PC
User Rating: 7.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Flying Games
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002: Professional Edition
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002: Professional Edition
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002: Professional Edition
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002: Professional Edition

Along with all the serious stuff, there has been an awful lot of crap written about the horrific events of September 11, like made-up Nostradamus predictions and supposed 'spooky’ messages in the Wingdings font in Microsoft Word. Most non-thick people immediately spot this kind of rubbish and ignore it. But when it occurred to some hack somewhere that Microsoft Flight Simulator features both planes and the World Trade Center, it seemed like an easy opportunity to link two of the media’s favourite bogeymen -international terrorism and computer games - with the implication that the hijackers could have used the software to rehearse their attacks. A load of old cobblers, maybe, but the 'story’ allegedly gained enough attention to cause Microsoft to delay the latest release of Flight Simulator. So here it is - late, hopefully better, and minus the Twin Towers.

Just in case you didn’t know, the Microsoft Flight Simulator series lets you fly several civilian aircraft over basically the entire world. This concept will either intrigue you with its open-ended approach and sheer scale, or bore the pants off you with its complete lack of things to kill and general gameplay. But with a pedigree dating back to the birth of the PC, it's hard to deny that it’s a winning formula, and each new version has brought more airports, more planes and improved graphics. FS2002 has all these, as well as a couple of improvements on the gameplay side of things.

Anew Cessna? Whoopy-Bloody-Do

So what exactly is so good about this latest version? Well for starters you get to fly a few new planes, the most interesting being the Cessna 208 Caravan Amphibian (lands on water) and Boeing 747-400 (big).

As already mentioned, one of the biggest strengths of FS2002 is the go-anywhere freedom that it gives you. The much-improved user interface makes it very easy to select your nearest airfield, pick a plane, time of day and weather, and then take off and try and find your house. But if you can't be arsed to do this, there are tons of pre-defined flights that you can choose from. These are grouped into categories rather like minicareers. In one, you get to chauffeur a novelist around New England for the summer, in another you’re an airline pilot ferrying your cargo of sweaty businessmen around Europe in a 737. This stuff may sound a bit tame when you compare it to intercepting a Luftwaffe raid in your Spitfire, but the sheer atmosphere more than makes up for any lack of action or glamour in the 'missions’. And FS2002 has a couple of new features that add to this atmosphere in rather a big way.

Hello... Is There Anybody Out There?

One of the biggest complaints about earlier versions was the lack of anybody else in your virtual world. Microsoft has addressed this in FS2002 by adding air traffic control (ATC) and Al-controlled planes in the skies. The ATC is excellent, and flying a busy route like London-Paris is peppered with I authentic-sounding radio chat. The interface is simple - you basically use the 1-9 number keys to pick from a context-sensitive menu. My only whinge is that all the voices have American accents, even Welsh air traffic controllers.

The other planes in the sky also add to the immersion, although unlike combat sims, the emphasis in FS2002is obviously on staying as far away from other planes as possible, so they're not usually more than dots with flashing lights on them.

Are The Graphics Any Cor Then?

One of the worst things about reading a review of a new flight sim is the creeping realisation that you’re probably going to have to buy a new PC to enjoy all the lovely graphical enhancements that it offers. But FS2002is pretty ground-breaking in that it has better graphics than Flight Sim 2000, and it actually runs faster. The fancy new Autogen scenery generator adds lots more trees and buildings to the worid below you, the ground scenery and lighting effects have been much improved (but there are none of those huge, disk-churning pauses every time you switch views), and the frame-rates are better. Hurrah.

Mile-High Club

Previous versions of MS Flight Sim have always had plenty going for them, but they’ve lacked a certain amount of polish. This definitely doesn't apply to FS2002. The Professional Edition offers you extra flight logging and an opportunity to link up with an instructor online. On top of this, you also get gMax- a 3D modelling tool which lets you design your own planes - and a couple of extra planes. FS2002 is bigger, better, and faster and it you've ever wondered what pilots get up to when the seatbelt light goes off, now's your chance to find out.

Download Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002: Professional Edition

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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