|MiG Alley: Another Look
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
This is very subjective. Most of my hours in MiG were on an AMD K6-3 450 with 128 MB RAM. So long as I emptied SYS-TRAY I had no problem running at 1024x768 with all realism and graphic options to MAX.
At these settings I enjoy the graphics in MiG. Some have complained about both object appearance and ground textures. Sorry. I cannot relate. You can get some idea from the fifty or so screen shots in the preview articles we have run, but screen shots never look quite as good as moving reality. The lighting on aircraft skins is cool. And you can customize your nose art in the paint shop.
The terrain could have been better. There are two cloud layers, not quite state of the art, however. I like the cockpits, at 1024x768 they are very good, and complete with reflections. (In fact, your first sign of bandits nearby may be a reflection from their canopies, just as noted by pilots of the time.) You can even zoom out the cockpit using CTL +/- (I think it is.) Graphics are 8/10.
Now we are talking. For me personally there is a graphics threshold beyond which graphics fade out of my awareness and I can then be free to enjoy a sim. MiG is beyond that threshold and gameplay issues are more important to me. I would not hesitate to invest in MiG because of graphics issues.
The AI is very good. A dogfight in MiG, if you have chosen complex AI, will leave you sweating. If you lock on the tail of a MiG for too long his wingman will chew yours off. You want a record of your flight? The gun cam works great, you can view the film later.
Your wingmen will support you in a fight. They don't call for help unless they need it, and when you are outnumbered, they will need it. The chatter in a dogfight will get your adrenaline flowing. The COMMS system is quite good. Get yourself Game Commander for voice comms and lose the keyboard.
Better still, I love the padlock system. If you ever flew Flying Corps Gold you already know the padlock options. The view system is challenging but flexible and the Info bar is back. Read our previews for more detail. AI is 8/10.
I like it. Fairly robust, nice engine sounds, great voices. It's immersive. No A3d or EAX support, just DirectSound but they handled it well. You guessed it, 8/10.
Damage and Physics Modeling
I was surprised to find that damage affects the flight model significantly. Take hits to your wing and lose lift on that side. You are now much more susceptible to loss of control or a spin. Lose an aileron and suddenly turns become arduous. The graphics that show bullet holes in your fuselage are always the same, but at least they modeled the hits!
I was on the tail of a MiG recently who lost control and went into a spin. I hit the air brakes and followed him down. Just as he regained control I let fly and tore his wing off. I watched him careen into the ground below. I've taken out MiGs while they were on the runway, and even killed a pilot outright with a high angle off the tail shot on a high speed pass. Very nice!
Don't get too close when you take your shot, however, or the aircraft fragments can kill you. I almost lost my engine to a fragment on a campaign mission and limped along until my engine simply quit. Explosions and flame in the air are quite dramatic, not quite as great on the ground. Ready for take off? Spool up is NOT instant in MiG. 9/10 for damage and physics, 8/10 for effects.
Does MiG have wind and weather? Yes, you'll see rain but not snow flakes. Not everyone likes the fog effects, but you can adjust horizon distance in the PREFS.
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Last Updated August 15th, 1999