Hey, it's quiz night. F-15 Strike Eagle 2, Falcon, F-16 Combat Pilot and F-19 Stealth Figther. What have all these games got in common? Have you got it yet? Come on, it's easy - they all start with the letter F!
Nah, only joking, the proper answer is that they are all flight simulators. More to the point, all the planes in these so-called flight simulators are very hi-tech and practically anyone can fly them. Shooting down the enemy is no problem - click on a button and your missiles will hit the target, even though the target is 80 miles away.
What you really need is a flight sim to test your raw ability. What could be better than a World War 2 plane simulator like, err Knights of the Sky? Wait a minute, that's far too old, what we need is brand new World War 2 sims like, er, umm...
Oh well there doesn't seem to be another one. Thank God for that I'm bobbins at plane games (crash of lighting followed by small thud). Oh dear, God does move in mysterious ways. Look what I've just received - a brand spanking new copy of Reach for the Skies. Gusp!
It's 1940, it's summer and the future of World War 2 hangs in the balance. The German Luftwaffe and the might of the RAF are about to go into battle once more. This time it's the Battle of Britain and whoever wins will have a damn good chance of winning the war.
Well, in Reach for the Skies anything could happen because you get a choice of who you want to be. Germany or Britain, the choice is entirely up to yo. So, if you're good enough you could change history.
Everyone knows that Britain won the battle because we're smart, but what would have happened if Germany had won the Battle of Britain and eventually won the war? It doesn't bear thinking about - all I can say is that there is no way you'll get me scoffing frankfurters although it has to be said that you'd always get a sunbed when on holiday.
Wahey, follow me on a journey, a journey back through time where the sights and sounds of the 1940s will shock and surprise you. A chance to become a World War 2 fighter ace beckons. So let's don our flying jackets, grab our yokes and take to the skies. Or, instead I could just boot up the ST and play Reach for the Skies.
Right the game has loaded. Hmm, it offers a choice of air forces. I could become a low-down, dirty Luftwaffe pilot or I could become a brave and heroic Brit and join the Royal Air Force. The choice is mine. Hmm, a bit of a toughie. Right, proud British fighter pilot it is. Time to jump into the old Spitfire and give those Jerries a right trashing and be back in Blighty in time for tea and cakes. Chocks away, chaps.
Almost all of the game is spent in the air in your plane - or I should say planes, because you actually control a squadron. This enables you to hop from plane to plane during battle - very handy if you're about to get blown up.
The 3D is quite impressive, especially when you fly the plane over land. There are plenty of external 3D views, all with the option to zoom in and out.
The controls in Reach for the Skies are really simple. Pull back on the stick to gain attitude, push down on the stick to lose altitude and left to go left and right to go, err right. Oh, and you push the Fire button to, umm, fire. See, simple.
There are plenty of dials and meters to confuse you and the control panel looks authentic enough. There is only one little problem with Reach for the Skies, and that is that when yout ake off it takes you ages before you finally get into battle with the enemy.
You can accelerate time, but it's not very realistic. Fortunately, there is an option to start off in the air, so you're much closer to the enemy.
The game is quite difficult and chasing the enemy over land and sea is tough. The enemy always seems to be that one step ahead of you ad it is really tough to shoot it down. It wouldn't be much of a challenge if you could shoot them down really easily, though.
Once your flight has been completed you have the great chance to watch it all again by using the video option. OK, so camcorders weren't exactly available back then, but the video option is a very nice touch. You could even send your finished comedy dogfights into Jeremy Beadle and win loads of money.
Despite the little problem, Reach for the Skies is an excellent flight simulator. The presentation in very nice and everything down to the tiniest little detail has been researched, which makes the game that little bit more interesting.
There is a good manual that goes with the game explaining all about World War 2 and other such interesting facts about the planes and so on. You almost feel like you're actually flying a World War 2 fighter plane.
There is an ideal opportunity to enhance the atmosphere in three simple, but effective ways. One: Get a fan and position it on your monitor and set it at full blast. Two: Grab a white scarf and some swimming goggles and wear them. Three: Get someone with a shotgun to shoot it over your head every couple of minutes.
Hey, who said Gamer wasn't full of informative ideas? (me, get on with it you prat - Ed). One thing that I definitely would recommend, even though it's not essential, is that you play the game on an accelerated machine. This makes it mega fast and you will fall in love with it instantly.
If you're looking for a World War 2 flight sim that's as good as, if not better than Knights of the Sky, then Reach for the Skies could be the game that you're yearning for.
Rowan Software, the creators of such hits as Flight of the Intruder have come up with a cracker.
It's not exactly original stuff, but it's damn exciting and damn realistic. God damn, Reach out for Reach for the Skies, it's brill.