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iMagic Online: Dawn of Aces
by Thomas "AV8R" Spann

Dawn Of Aces (DOA) from Imagic has been released in beta (version 0.99). It is a 9 MB download that allows off-line , online, and head to head flight options. Since I have flown both Flying Corps Gold (version Y) and Red Baron 2 online, Dawn Of Aces has delivered what looks to be the best of both its predecessors. DOA has the 3D graphics and sounds akin to FCGOLD, and has the flight model and Internet gameplay of RB2.

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DOA 3D is every thing for WW1 flying and dogfighting that WarBirds 3D is to the WW2 era. The version tested was 0.99 beta, but in the 3 plus hours flown, nothing glaringly wrong was apparent to me. The most notable aspect that hit me was the full flight model. If you try to yank and bank with these birds, you're going to invoke a nasty spin. Recovery of such, needs to be done with nose down - opposite to spin rudder deflection AND caught immediately. Any delay and you'll be in an unrecoverable spin.

Dogfighting in DOA is very much like that of WB, but with the obvious differences required due to the slower, more fragile planes. It was said once that for each of our major wars the speed of fighters have increased 5X. What's really great about WW1 planes is there is more time to think through your strategies and this should make dogfighting open to even more virtual ACES.

There's something very appealing and even romantic about battling in the skies with these fighters of paper, wood, and metal. Don't even think about bailing. /8^P

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Its too early to be able to plumb the breadth and depth of this simulation, but I did try to test the aspects of the damage modeling and such. Landing too hard will end up in a damaged plane. As you shoot your adversary you can see parts fly off and notice the performance effects. When you get shot, you can hear the tearing of the fabric and suffer the effects of oil leakage and other damage effects.

Doing Emmelman's, barrel rolls, and other aerobatics are limited by the speed and type of plane chosen. Unless you're very close, the damage by your guns is less pronounced when compared to that carried by the warbirds of WW2.

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What I also really liked about DOA is that the terrain was littered with ground objects and low lying hills. Even the great Red Baron was brought down at a very low altitude, whether it was by a ground gunner or by Capt. Brown is for the historians to argue about. WW1 planes take so long to gain altitude, spiraling dogfights will often lead to low level tail chasing. So having interesting ground graphics is a big plus for this era of aircraft.

So the skies over Europe circa 1917 await you. Great graphics, realistic sounds, bi and tri planes that shimmer in the sunlight. But best of all, with voice comms (INSERT KEY) and with the solid support for Internet multiplayer gameplay. Till we meet in the skies, Check Six.


For download go to..iMagic Online


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