It's time to remove the night vision goggles, deflate the G-suit, and remove any bumper stickers that say "Jet Noise - The Sound of Freedom". Instead you will require a silk scarf, a roughly woven tunic, and some moustache wax. Prepare to go back in time to when the warbirds of the sky were a cunning assembly of wood, canvas and string.
The CD comes with a well prepared manual, loads of maps, and a replica WW1 flying manual which is a 250 page book. It is an interesting read, and contains loads of old aircraft related adverts from the beginning of the century. There are three levels of install, 6, 38, or 463Mb.
The game consists of four campaigns, each with a wide range of missions and weather conditions.
If you want to get straight into the action there is an instant action option available.
There are many various types of aircraft featured in "Flying Corps", six of these can be flown by you. The three rotary engine aircraft are the Nieuport 28, Sopwith camel and Fokker Triplane. They are highly maneuverable and agile, but at the same time also slow and lacking power. The SE5a, Albatros D3 and Spad 13 all had stationary engines and this meant better performance and generally easier to fly. Only the rudimentary flight instruments exist in these aircraft, namely; altimeter - fuel - compass - RPM - slip indicator.
All of the aircraft have been programmed with their own specific flight model, and try to represent the real-life characteristics of the aircraft. With the hardest settings enabled some of these kites are virtually non-airworthy, and you really have a job to keep them in the air. If you are promoted to the dizzy height of Sqn Leader, the ability to alter the paint scheme of the aircraft is made available. So if you want the enemy to have their steeds painted pink so that you can spot them a mile away, now is your chance.
I had some difficulty assessing my altitude when flying at low level, this is due to the textures turning to blocks of colour. But the terrain looks at its best when above 1000ft, so I preferred to keep the aircraft high. This has the added advantage of extra energy when an enemy is spotted and a quick swoop down from above is the best way to get some shells into his airframe. I also had problems with the padlock view, in so much that I did not know the attitude of the aircraft that I was flying due to a lack of reference marks. The external views are the best way to view the rich textures and detail that have been incorporated into the sim.
There are no multiplayer facilities at the moment, but a patch is being worked on to enable modem, serial and network options. There is also a patch due for 3D Accelerator graphic cards due very soon.
Flying Corps is very atmospheric and the aircraft are well modelled. Although the minimum specification is a P90, I would recommend a minimum of a P100 with a fast graphics card, otherwise the lack of textures and detail would detract from the overall gameplay.
Mark Arnold for Game Over!