What ho, Algy! Spiffing day for an early morning recce! Get your flying togs on, spin your prop, circle away and watch out for the Hun in the sun!
It's lovely flying weather, visibility up to 50,000 feet, the birds are twittering and your machine guns are oiled. What better way to spend the morning than a hunt for the Red Baron and his flying circus. Watch out for those Fokkers!
Yes, Codemasters Arcade Flight Simulator is the kind of game I've been waiting for for ages. It has a tiny tiny bit of simulationness about it, but the main aim is to blast everything that flies. The graphics are cool, the sound's OPK and while it won't absorb your interest longer than it takes to explore all three levels, it's worth the £3.99.
A little like Time Fighter, the classic coin-op, AFS presents you with a top-down view of a scrolling playing area. Unlike Time Fighter, here your plane isn't limited to the centre of the screen; it can fly off the side and reappear on t'other, or fly north or south far enough to get off the playing area altogether, and reappear at the other end. On the first level, set in WW1, the playing area is quite large, and since our nicely detailed plane and those of the opposition are pretty small, you get a great feeling of space.
After taking off from your landing strip, your aim is to track down and destroy ten enemy fighters. These weave around and change height; you can judge your own height from the position of your shadow, and the altimeter on the left of the screen.
You have a limited amount of ammunition, and since you have to get quite close to the Hun to shoot them down, you will probably have to land to re-arm at some point. This is pretty tricky, as is refuelling, since it's easy to smash into the trees or other obstacles.
If you manage to shoot down the opposition, you have to land to pick up a bomb, find the enemy base (thoughtfully marked "BASE") and bomb it. Fail, and it's back to the start; succeed, and the next phase presents you with more enemy planes.
Strangely enough, that's is as far as the one-player game is concerned, but if you have two players, there are two further levels. These feature much smaller one-screen playing areas; level two features Second WOrld War aircraft carriers, level three World War Three desert combat. The planes are faster, but the principle's the same, only it's one-to-one combat.
AFS could have been brilliant; if you had control over your plane's speed, or the ability to perform loops or other stunts. or if you could play all three levels in one-player mode. As it is, it's excellent fun for about an hour, then you'll be looking for new targets to shoot down.
Label: Code Masters
Author: Amazing Games
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Bit of sim, bit of blasting - great fun on the cheap.