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.

Chocks Away!

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.

Campaigns

The game consists of four campaigns, each with a wide range of missions and weather conditions.

"Flying Circus"

Here you play the of the Red Barons younger brother, Lothar Von Richthoven. The task in hand is to beat big brother's score and hone your dogfighting skills; the aircraft used is the Albatross D111 which is superior to most of the enemies machines. A Fokker Triplane is also available if you wish.

"The Battle of Cambrai"

This second campaign finds you as a German pilot at the forward airfield of Flesquieres. British tanks will soon be driving around your base, you must get into the air as soon as possible and halt the British tanks by dropping bombs on them. If the tanks get to the German field guns you will also have to attack the British artillery to slow the ground advances.

"Spring Offensive"

You start as a green British pilot who is a new arrival to 54 Sqn in February 1918. You must stem the German advance while awaiting the American reinforcements. After a spot of flight training you venture over the front to weed out some balloons and carry out strike missions. The balloon attacks are quite a laugh, because the occupants bail-out when they see that you are about to burst their bubble. When the German offensive starts you fly a variety of close air support missions. The German advance must be weakened so that they are unable to breach the British defences at Amiens. The first missions are flown in the SE5a, thereafter you will fly the Sopwith camel, once you attain the rank of squadron leader you can choose which of these aircraft to fly.

"Hat in the Ring"

This fourth campaign is flown with you acting as Eddie Rickenbacker. The aim is to equal or better his score of 26 victories, if this is achieved you will be given command of the 94th "Hat in the Ring" Squadron. The German Army is being driven back by the Allies, but the German Air Service are doing their best to stop this with the Fokker DVII, the all round fighter used in the war. The aircraft available here are the Nieuport 28 and the Spad XIII.

If you want to get straight into the action there is an instant action option available.

Aircraft

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’.

Multiplayer

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.

Conclusion

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.

Score - 7/10

Flying Corps by Rowan Software
Specs O/S Processor RAM Graphics CD-Rom Soundcard MMX Direct3D
Required DOS 5.0+ / Win95 P90+ 16Mb+ SVGA X4 speed All major sound cards supported No No
Tested On Win95 K5/166 48Mb 2Mb Matrox Millennium X4 speed SB AWE32 N/A N/A

Mark Arnold for Game Over!

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