Wings gives nostalgic danger-junkies a taste of life as a World War One pilot. It lets you relive those heady days when planes were made of wood and Von Richthofen ruled the skies, when synchronised machine guns were state of the art and radar was science fiction, when sidewinders were still snakes and a SAM was the Uncle you signed up to serve.
Essentially this is three arcade battle sequences bound together by the ongoing story of 56th Aerosquadron. To earn your pilot his wings there's a single dry run mission, which is all that's asked of you to prove your flying skills - and is probably a much better training than the real WW 1 pilots received!
You select your pilot's statistics, choosing between flying and shooting ability, mechanical aptitude and stamina. Then it's time to join a squadron and leave for the fields of France.
The meat of the game is flying, be it dogfighting, bombing or strafing. These are the only styles of flying you'll encounter. As the war drags on, the battles get harder: new planes appear, better weapons are developed and ground defence improves.
Dog fights are never easy because as well as the Hun there's the prehistoric kit to cope with. The planes are massively underpowered, spluttering to a stall in climbs, while the guns tend to jam with a terrifying regularity. Bombing runs only appear in the latter stages of the war, which is realistic because historically bombs were in short supply. Luckily these sorties, like strafing runs, are non-fatal affairs.
In classic shoot-em-up style you scroll up the screen searching for your primary targets while dodging the ack-
Strafing lets you fly a plane low over a track, blasting, anyone or anything in sight. Except, that is, Red Cross trucks, which if bagged earn you a caution and a chewing out form your CO. On strafing runs you could be after troops, tents, trains, trucks or tankers full of fuel, most of which have the audacity to fire back as you slaughter them.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
Cinemaware's graphics are up to the usual exemplary standard. Beautiful animations and great battles scenes help to recapture that spirit of detrmined courage the realpilot exhibited. The battle sequence are linked by the Company journal, which tells the story of the conflict on both a global and personal scale. Sonically the game supports the theme of WWI France, with haunting tunes running whenever you're back at base. Naturally it also has the all important 'dagah dagah' machine guns, without which no biplane game could show its face in public.
With only three core elements and low life expectancy for pilots, Wings should hit the ground in flames on the first sortie. Yet the facility to enrol a new pilot the same day your last one died gives Wings a stamina it shouldn't possess. It's possible to play through to the end of the war by continually enrolling pilots, seeing who - if any - of your original squadron makes it through the whole show. What spoils Wings is the disk-
Despite the disk swapping, Wings has that seat-of-