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Author Topic: PC Zones "review" (uk)
Lex
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Member # 2831

posted 11-25-2000 10:11 AM     Profile for Lex   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Quote*****

SCORE 87 Bally good show

1992. A time of great change. The Bosnian conflict entered its second fun-packed year, the United States recovered from four years of George Bush by appointing a sex-mad yokel as president, and Manchester United began an annoyingly unstoppable assault on the newly formed Premier League. Meanwhile, the flight sim genre was about to be rocked by a bold new approach as then-mighty publisher MicroProse unveiled B-17 Flying Fortress to an astonished public. Eight years on and we've got a sequel. Who says this is a fast moving business?
Bally Jerry's on the move

Essentially this is the same game as the original, albeit with vastly improved graphics (there is a shot of the 1992 version on page 58 if you want to compare and contrast). You control every aspect of life in a ten-man B-17 crew. Everything. From planning missions and directing the war as a Squadron Commander to twiddling the knobs on the wind drift scale as a navigator.

Surprisingly, it isn't the nightmare of administration you might think. Once you're in mid-air it quickly becomes second nature to jump around from one station to the next, and you spend as much of the game in crew management mode as you do in simulation mode. Perhaps more. Flying is actually pretty secondary to the whole game. The computer does a good job of running things in your absence. As soon as you leave a station the AI takes over so you never have to worry about flying into the side of a hill while you examine the map or scan for fighters.

Despite that, it's something of a surprise just how attached you do get to the crews, probably down to the fact you get to see them physically moving about the plane during a flight. This is especially true if you rename the crews and planes. Our advice is to name them after the cast of favourite films and TV shows. Watching 'Linda Lovelace' bailing out of a crippled 'Deep Throat' is enough to bring a tear to the eye, so to speak.

On your own

'We've had to take the multiplayer code out.'

'Hmm?'

'Do you think that will affect things much? Will it get marked down as a result?'

I've been pondering this ever since Hasbro's PR lass thrust a beer into my hand and asked the question during a press trip to Duxford Air Museum. On the one hand it seems that everything has to have some sort of online facility to it these days, even where it isn't warranted. On the other, is the online audience really that large in the flight sim market? Doing a spot of research on the newsgroups elicits a mixed response. Some are feeling let down by the lack of a multiplayer B-17 game, even to the point of saying they won't be buying it as a result. Others, and this does seem to be a much larger share of the crowd, aren't too fussed. Just make sure it works, they say, memories of Gunship! and Falcon 4.0 still fresh in their minds.

The thing about B-17 is that I can't really see how it would make for an effective multiplayer experience. Yes, of course, you could have up to ten humans all in the same bird at once, each at a different station (although the radio operator would get pretty bored). But this would only really become fun during Luftwaffe attacks and they tend to be few and far between for the most part. So what about having one player controlling each plane, Mr I Have All The Answers? The problem there is co-ordination. How many of you - and be honest here, even you really, really dedicated flight sim nuts - are actually going to fly through an entire mission in real time? You're going to sit there for anything up to six hours, holding a steady course, occasionally responding to an attack, mostly just keeping things ticking over are you? You might do it once, but I guarantee you'll be using the time skip function more often than the fire button before long. So how do you do that online? How do you deal with the switch between crew management screens and simulation world, while randomly jumping forward through time, across up to eight different PCs all connecting to each other at different speeds? You don't. It would be a logistical nightmare and you know it. There isn't a viable multiplayer game in here that would provide satisfying gaming experience.

Oh and don't throw the Air Warrior/Warbirds/World War II Online argument at me. 'They do real-time bombing runs with multiple players, why can't B-17?' They're not dealing with a real-world scale. At most, a bombing run by a dozen planes takes an hour, most of which is spent getting into formation. Distances are either compressed big time or the game takes place in fictional locales designed for quick action. B-17 provides an accurate map of northern Europe. You do the maths.

2+2=17

So be told. No multiplayer doesn't equal less fun. If anything it has meant that Wayward has been able to focus on making the single-player game a thing of beauty. Will it appeal to everyone? Probably not. The fact that it isn't purely a flight sim may attract a larger crowd than usual, but what might hinder B-17's progress is it can become repetitive over time.

Sure there's the option to jump into the fighter craft and zip around in a dogfight or two, or there's the strategic element involved with planning missions and managing your crew (you don't have to fly at all if you don't want), but essentially each flight boils down to the same thing.

That's hardly Wayward's fault though. If you must point the finger, blame WW II for not being more varied. There is a crop of WW II sims on the way that may have more thrills in the dogfighting department (Rowan's Battle Of Britain looks nice in this respect), but nothing is going to top B-17 for painting an accurate picture of life in a bomber crew. Except maybe Memphis Belle. But that was a film. So it doesn't count. I'll shut up now.

MEMORY:
32Mb

PROCESSOR:
PII 300

PRICE:
29.99

PUBLISHER:
Hasbro Interactive/MicroProse

CATEGORY:
Simulation

ISSUE:
96

***** Err thats it - IMO one of THE worst loads of pish I've heard for a while,unfortunately I have no idea which hack wrote this advertising trash but it stinks big time.

Lex Morton AKA BazookaJock

------------------
"If you want to get laid go to college, if you want to learn something go to the library" (Frank Zappa).

[This message has been edited by Lex (edited 11-25-2000).]


Posts: 510 | From: Scotland | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged
Hertston
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Member # 7363

posted 11-25-2000 11:07 AM     Profile for Hertston   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I certainly disagree with a lot of the comments about multi-play. It COULD have worked big-time with sufficient thought, and made the sim even better than it is.

BUT, the reviewer is correct in that it the singleplay stands up tall by itself. He is also quite correct when talking about numbers - of those hundreds of thousands who have probably bought CFS 2 by now, and are perfectly happy with it - how many do you see on the MS Zone - fifty, sixty ?!

Oh, and he got the system specs wrong - the box clearly states a minimum 128mb RAM requirement. And, in truth, most of us would have liked to hear something about flight models, and AI.

Other than that (and the writers style, perhaps ), what's wrong with it ? The score is about right for what is (IMHO) the flightsim of the year - only BoB has a chance to dethrone B17 2 now. Whether you agree with the reviewer or not, at least he knows what should be in a flightsim, which is more than can be said for the moron who wrote that "Gamespot Australia" crap...

[This message has been edited by Hertston (edited 11-25-2000).]


Posts: 246 | From: Torpoint, Cornwall, UK | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
KRIMEWAVE
unregistered

posted 11-25-2000 11:31 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
>Oh and don't throw the Air Warrior/Warbirds/World War II Online argument at me. 'They do real-time bombing runs with multiple players, why can't B-17?' They're not dealing with a real-world scale.

Good grief... talk about rationalizations. The distances are enormous. So what? Have the multiplayer missions start near the targets. Solved.

>So be told. No multiplayer doesn't equal less fun. If anything it has meant that Wayward has been able to focus on making the single-player game a thing of beauty.

That is why multiplayer was pulled, right? Because Hasbro decided that "no multiplayer doesn't equal less fun"?. Yeah, right. Then why did they for years work on the multiplayer aspect of this sim? It took years to realize that "no multiplayer doesn't equal less fun"? I think not.

I don't mean to bring back all these arguments from the past, but at the same time I don't understand why people keep trying to rationalize the fact that this sim is missing a major feature.


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Truro
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posted 11-25-2000 12:35 PM     Profile for Truro   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Agreeing with Krimewave, why try to put a spin on a missing basic feature like multiplay.

"of those hundreds of thousands who have probably bought CFS 2 by now, and are perfectly happy with it - how many do you see on the MS Zone - fifty, sixty ?!"

I have cfs2 and my interest in it is vastly cut short by no coop multiplay. And the Zone is not the only way to play, direct IP is what many prefer. Anyway you look at it, multiplay limited to head to head gets old quick in my book, it's beter than none I suppose.


Posts: 1441 | From: Tulsa, Ok | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
KRIMEWAVE
unregistered

posted 11-25-2000 12:56 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
>"of those hundreds of thousands who have probably bought CFS 2 by now, and are perfectly happy with it - how many do you see on the MS Zone - fifty, sixty ?!"


Hehe... as if everyone who bought CFS 2 would be playing online at the same time. As if those 50 or 60 people are the same people all the time. Who are we trying to kid here?

That 50 or 60 people is a snapshot in time. Even if just 30 of those 60 people are different people on any given day, that is a significant player base.

And, Truro is right... The Zone is not the only way to hook up.

B-17 II is probably a great game for what it is, but I'm not going to stand for people who, for fear of any criticism lodged against B-17 II, would dismiss online gaming as some kind of small cult activity.


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Viking1
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posted 11-25-2000 03:39 PM     Profile for Viking1     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
THAT was a review?
Posts: 917 | From: Kelowna BC CANADA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Hertston
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posted 11-25-2000 05:21 PM     Profile for Hertston   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Truro,

That was precisely my point, although I didn't make it too well. But NO sim has any significant increase on those numbers, EXCEPT for the on-line only stuff. The great mass of Joe Public who have bought CFS 2 (and B17) don't give a rat's arse about multiplay. The small subset of them who do mostly (including me) have subscriptions to Fighter Ace 2, Airwarrior or Aces High.


Posts: 246 | From: Torpoint, Cornwall, UK | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Vancouver
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posted 11-25-2000 06:42 PM     Profile for Vancouver     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Um, he was running it with just 32MB RAM?? I thought 128MB was the required _minimum_?

Posts: 147 | From: Vancouver, BC, Canada | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged

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