One of 1998ís most highly anticipated military
flight simulations has finally hit the virtual
European geography with a big impact. Janeís WW2 Fighters
is here, but does it fulfill the high expectations
set for it?
Janeís WW2 Fighters comes at ya with spectacular
With one more major WW2 era sim left to be
released this year, (SSI's Luftwaffe Commander), the picture is getting clearer on who will be the king of the
skies over 1945ís Europe - and on our hard
The short of it is that Janeís WW2
Fighters pushes special effects to the next level
of heights, but falls short in some of the
features most important to the serious (a.k.a.
hard-core) simmer. Letís first examine the
expectations that were set by the following to be
found on Janeís website (http://www.janes.ea.com):
"I have been playing the WWII Fighters game for
about six months now. The graphics are incredible,
and I find the dogfighting to be as close as you
can get to realism on a computer screen, and it
still allows the novice to have fun, too! WWII
fans will love this one for its historical
content, as well as the game play." -- Col. C.E.
'Bud' Anderson, Triple Ace, flew 116 Combat
Missions in WWII.
" No other simulation -- in fact, no other
computer game -- has so accurately simulated the
appearance of a real-world combat environment." --
Denny Atkin, Computer Gaming World
..."more than merely a feast, its a canvas. It brims with atmosphere, and it shows the artists touch at every pause. Sometimes it borders on surrealism, but mostly it is simply beautiful... the best description of the game is that you are flying in a WW2 movie." Len Hjalmarson, www.combatsim.com
So much for the opinions of others, let's embark now into what this reviewer
experienced, and we will sum up at the end if the
expectations set were met by what we received, as
well as how this sim rates in my estimation.
WW2 Fighterís Museum motif graphical user
After a flawless installation and going through
all the very well laid out options and preferences
screens, (which were all done in a nice radio
button and switches motif, apropos for the 1945
era), we enter the Janeís Museum. Talk about a
work of art! This graphical user interface (GUI)
is a perfect example of form meets function.
Whatís more, you get to hear splendid Glen Miller
big band music - another nice shift from jet sim
rockiní and rolliní tunes. You start out by
entering the foyer of the fighterís museum, and
then have the choices of: immediately going to
instant action fur-ball, go behind the kiosk and
review European theater details, turn left to
study and test fly the 7 planes, or turn right into the war room where the solo, multiplayer, campaign and mission editor await you.
The War Room, both artistic and functional
The hangar room is where you can select any of
the 7 fighters and view the plane, cockpit,
engine, test fly, view camera footage, and even
listen to aces that flew them describe their
opinions of these wonderful planes (P-51 Mustang,
BF 109-G, P-47D Thunderbolt, FW 190A-8, P-38J
Lightning, Me 262A-1 jet, and the Supermarine
Spitfire Mk. IX).
What I liked was the ability
to get the information on each plane and even test
fly it un-molested before going on to combat.
Janeís has certainly added historical context as
well as aircraft specification details to the
military flight simming experience just as it has
for Fighterís Anthology, but this time with a real
touch of class.
The Hangar GUI - more than good looking
So letís leave the museum rendered GUI behind and
move on to the flight dynamics, damage modeling,
mission offerings and multiplayer aspects of WW2
Fighters. Suffice it to say that Janeís GUI
talents are top gun based upon what we have seen
from Longbow2, F15E and now WW2 Fighters. Now we
get to the heart of the matter.
With Janeís penchant for hitting the non hard-core market (as
with Fighterís Anthology and Israeli Air Force),
as well as the serious (Longbow2 and F15E) the
question arises: is this a light/mid-range or
hard-core/serious sophistication flight sim? My
finding is that it's a curious mixture of each, both a strength and a weakness.
Click to continue
. . .
P-51 in action (note uphill running streams)
First letís examine the special effects nature of
WW2 Fighters. The pictures within this review
should speak for themselves.
I have never seen
any released sim as close to photo-realistic as
this one. Painstaking attention to detail was
obviously put into both the interior cockpits and
exterior texturing of these birds. The colors
are clear and vibrant, the propeller whirls
realistically, the cultural and theater markings
are akin to what I see in my collection of WW2
books. Fire the weapons and bombs whine as they
are released, primary and secondary explosions are
This angry yellow jacket bares its sting
If you havenít invested in a sub-woofer and PCI
sound card, this is a good excuse to do so. The
F9 fly by view is one of my favorite in this
sim. Each plane screams by you with its own
distinctive engine roar with the full Doppler
effect. Shell casings can be seen dropping from
beneath out of their exit ports, gun/cannon
flashes and muzzle smoke puffs as you squeeze out
the rounds. So when others say that the special
effects realism is the best yet, I have to agree
A Spit 9 sports its classic curves
What is really unique about the special effects
are the voluminous clouds and flak.
Fly low and you will see very good looking low
level graphics much akin to Janeís F15-E. What
you won't see is the shimmering satellite accurate
terrain (like IAF or iF18), nor the highly
detailed repeating tiles of MS-CFS or
The terrain WW2 Fighters has is a good
compromise between these two extremes that I
believe helps the frame rate. Take a look and
see the next few shots and see what I think is
Janeís best foot forward and contribution to the
immersive feel of "being there".
Bf 109-G runs the flak gauntlet
B-24 medium bombers (not player flyable) over
Detailed cockpit with reflections and adjustable
FX galore: sun glare, glistening skin, clouds,
flames and smoke
The Me 262 Stormbird with frame rate counter
Go to Part II