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B-17 Flying Fortress: The Mighty 8th!
by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Game Bugs, Issues




B17 is relatively trouble free for most players. Its difficult to determine what percentage of players have legitimate problems, since issues are often tied to incorrect drivers and occasionally faulty hardware. Some players have complained of occasional crashes or lockups. I have had only one lockup in 25 hours of play, and no crashes except when I had A3D selected for my non-Aureal sound board. But I have been unable to adjust the volume sliders to allow the crew voices to be heard when I am inside the Fortress. In the beta I could clearly hear the crew; in the release edition I have to rely on the subtitles.

A few players have noticed occasional erratic behavior by the escort fighters. Many have noticed the missing texture for the gunsight in the P38, an omission noted by Wayward.
At the same time as the gunsight texture went missing, so did the white L that should appear in the middle of the black triangles on the tail and wing.

Perhaps the two largest complaints are collisions, and stuttering and pauses, particularly in the gun positions. My frustration level with collisions grew when I increased the default escort and interceptor size from 4 to 8 fighters. By the time I reached the target area I had usually lost four Forts to collisions. Finally I turned collisions OFF in the game setup.

The stuttering surprised me with the release version, since the beta version was smooth after I increased my system RAM to 256. I have been unable to accomplish this with the release version, though tweaking has improved the situation. I suspect that there is a glitch yet to be found. Upgrading to DirectX 8 has solved issues for some, while causing issues for others. Some have increased the size of their swap file, or set a fixed size instead of allowing WINDOWS to manage it for them. Its a good idea to aim for a minimum 500MB swap file.


Oil Refinery



Finally, some players have landed with their crew intact only to discover that they are listed as killed. Will there be a patch? Indications are to the affirmative, but Hasbro has not yet confirmed this. In the meantime, MeatWater has indicated his desire to release a sound add-on, and other tweakers are already examining the database files, which allow manipulation of a host of game components. Check out my tweakers article here on COMBATSIM.COM for a briefing on modifying the DB files to increase your enjoyment.


SUMMARY
B17 is a marvelous game, a landmark release, and a true simulation of the Fortress, her crew, and the combat environment. It is accessible to the novice, a great deal of fun, and highly immersive. If you have recent hardware you will be entranced with the graphics and effects.

If you were hoping for a great fighter experience, look somewhere else. Likewise Im not sure I would recommend the game to someone with less than 128MB of memory. A good sound system will also add to your enjoyment.

If you are looking for the ultimate bomber experience, then B17 is for you. If you are willing to experiment with some tweaking for best performance, then I highly recommend this game. Since some systems have had continual problems with game crashes, I recommend you purchase the game where you have the option of returning it.


Test System


Tested on Celeron II at 733 with 128MB and Athlon 1 GHz with 256MB.

Required: Windows 95/ 98/ Millennium * Intel Pentium II 300MHz or faster (or 100% compatible) * 128Mb RAM * 8x CD-ROM drive * Hard Drive (700 Mb free) * Video cards: 3dfx Voodoo2 or higher, Matrox G200 or higher, Nvidia TNT or higher, ATI Rage 128 or higher, S3 Savage 4 * 8MB VRAM * DirectX compatible sound card * DirectX 7 (supplied on disk) * DirectX compatible joystick.

Recommended: Windows 95/ 98/ Millennium * Intel Pentium II 600MHz or faster (or 100% compatible) * 256MB RAM * Hard Drive (700 Mb free) * Video cards, including: 3dfx Voodoo 3, Matrox G400, Nvidia TNT2 and GeForce, ATI Rage 128 Pro and Radeon, Supports Hardware T&L * 16Mb VRAM . DirectX compatible sound card * DirectX 7 * DirectX compatible joystick.

Ratings:


Graphics 10
Sound 9.5
Interface 9
Campaign and Mission Flow 10
AI and Gameplay 8
FM and Systems 8
Damage model and physics 10
Documentation 8
Immersion 10

OVERALL: 8.5


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