Wings of Fury logo

Publisher: Domark Price: £24.99

WHEN I was younger and thought that my Tandon PC was a really nice state of the art piece of gear I had one game that was my most favourite of all. Many of the more sentient of you will never have heard of this game - in fact many of you may not have heard of PCs.

Anyway, the name of this game is Sopwith, and the plot was quite simple. Piloting your plane from an elevation viewpoint (side on) you had to engage in dogfights with enemy craft and drop bombs on cities and gun emplacements until everyone had had enough.

This was by far the best game I ever played on the PC and probably the most on any machine. And this was on a nasty monochrome monitor running a CGA simulator. How much better, I remember thinking to myself, this game would be if it had graphics and sound.
Somewhere else across the universe of thought someone must have had a similar, if not the same idea - here comes Wings of Fury!

The plotline has been developed somewhat. You are the pilot of a Hellcat, operating from an American carrier in the Pacific Ocean around 1945.
This is an unpleasant place to be because the place is swarming with Japanese. That's not to say that the Japanese aren't nice people these days, I mean, in WWII they murdered and tortured civilians, summarily executing those who stood in their way. These days all they do is torture and murder business with high import taxes and murder, torture and eat endangered species - no comparison really.

The aim is to eradicate the enemy by destroying their island bases and sinking their ships. Air combat may ensue, sneaky Zeros (which were manufactured by Mitsubishi as a matter of interest) defend some islands and most ships.

A choice of weapons - bombs, rockets or a torpedo - will outfit you for your mission. It may be necessary to fly a sortie and then return to your carrier in order to re-arm with different weapons. Bombs are the most universally useful, especially when attacking ground installations. Rockets seem to be rather haphazard and inaccurate whereas torpedoes are incredibly unreliable and obviously only useful for sinking ships. Remember you have machine guns for dogfights and those all important strafing runs.

Landing back on the carrier is quite difficult. The problem can be compounded if your plane has received a bit of a pasting from the Nips Ack-Ack or the odd Zero. One slip, one fatal slip and it's goodnight Singapore.

The variety of missions and the inherent strategy requirements for each level make every flight seem different and challenging. I know I said that Sopwith was my most played game ever, but I have a feeling that may soon change.

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As the end of the second World War draws near, US Naval Forces are clamping down on the Japanese troops. Huge aircraft carriers carrying F6F Hellcat fighter planes cruise the seas closing down enemy encampments.

You are a member of the crew on the carrier USS Wasp, one of the most heroic ships in the fleet, travelling from the frontline back to the safety of an Allied port. Unfortunately, the weaponry and structure of your vessel has been damaged in battle and you must pilot one of the Hellcats in an attempt to protect your ship, the Wasp, from enemy attacks.

Along the way you come across various enemy installations, in the shape of island bases or battle cruisers. You are given a mission to complete on arrival in each zone. To complete a mission all the targets must be destroyed; that is, all gun emplacements must be blown up, all ships have to be sunk, and every last man on the islands must be shot down. For this purpose, you are given a small selection of weapons to use in battle, each of which has its own specific purpose:

ROCKETS are used to take out heavily armoured gun emplacements and ship's guns.
BOMBS are used to bomb ground targets and send enemy troops scurrying in the open, ready for a strafing run with your machine guns. Yahaaa! TORPEDOES: are used for sinking ships once all the guns have been taken out.

On first sight the graphics look a little on the crude side, but the care taken over the detail and animation of the sprites is incredible. The flailing bodies and bursts of flame when you're on an attack run are very well drawn. The effects are used well to create an atmosphere, with some realistic engine noises, gun blasts and shrieks to push the action along. So it just goes to show, don't be fooled by early appearances, since Wings of Fury's graphics and sound suit the game superbly.

Even though the gameplay itself is quite repetitive, the game has a hook that will have you coming back time after time for another blast. Many a review has been put off so that the Format staff can have a bash at blowing a few enemy troops away! The earlier missions aren't too difficult to get to grips with, but the higher ranked missions are a bas... er... they're very difficult!

Mostly, shoot-em-ups tend to take themselves a mite too seriously. Wings of Fury manages to skate this trap by producing an action-filled blast which is loaded with humour. The flying bodies of enemy troops under fire caused a few chortles around here! Unfortunately, some people will find the tasks a bit too slow and arduous to get deep into the game, but with perseverance the game soon proves to be an enjoyable little jaunt which is well worth checking out.

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Braucht irgend jemand noch ein 08/15-Ballerspiel mit Kriegshintergrund? Bitteschön, Der Mann kann geholfen werden, Wings of Fury are ready to attack!

Die nicht gerade originelle Handlung ist schnell erklärt: Als heldenmütiger amerikanischer Pilot muss man mal wieder schlitzäugige Japaner niedermachen - manchmal wundere ich mich, dass überhaupt noch welche übrig sind, wenn ich an all die Games dieser Machart denke! Entsprechend dem gewählten Dienstgrad werden die gestellten Aufgaben zunehmend schwerer, allerdings steigt lediglich die Zahl der Feinde entsprechend dem eigenen Rang (fast wie im wirklichen Leben?!). Je nach Einsatzziel gibt es verschiedene Waffen zur Auswahl: MG, Bomben, Raketen und ein Torpedo stehen bereit. Mit dem Joystick in der Hand macht man sich dann auf die Suche nach japanischen Inseln, Schiffen und Flugzeugen.

Die Steuerung der alten Mühle ist etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig, auch die Bombenluken scheinen gelegentlich zu klemmen, aber das Bord-MG funktioniert immerhin einwandfrei. Lässt der Öldruck nach (Trefferanzeige), oder geht der Sprit aus, heißt es schleunigst wieder zum heimischen Flugzeugträger zurückzukehren. Das recht eintönige Spiel wird durch den betont sparsamen Einsatz von Grafik und Sound auch nicht gerade aufgebessert, der einzige Lichtblick ist die elegante Schleife, die der Flieger beim Umdrehen aufs himmlische Parkett zaubert.

Fazit: Man fühlt sich hierhin eher strafversetzt und versieht entsprechend lustlos seinen Dienst. (wh)

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It's difficult to know where to file Wings Of Fury. One look at it is enough to have you reaching for the P-47/horizontal shooter drawer, another longer one will make you think again.

Wings Of Fury is no simple blast, but it's a bit too cute to cut it as a simulation, and to b fair it makes no claims to be the latter.

The plane you control is a Hellcat, and the setting the Pacific during World War II. The task before you is daunting, your carrier the USS Wasp has been badly damaged and must be escorted back to base. Between you and safety though, there lies hundreds of miles of ocean, populated by Japanese craft, enemy torpedo bombers and heavily defended occupied islands.

There are seven ranks, each of which complicates the missions you have to undertake to protect the carrier. Once you have selected this the Wasp appears and you're given the option to select from rockets, bombs and torpedoes. Which ones you choose depends on the particular missions you have to complete.
The involvement of enemy shipping obviously necessitates the use of torpedoes, but heavily fortified islands with concrete pillboxes require rockets to bus them open.

First of all you have to take off from the carrier. Enough speed is necessary or your little plane will do a passable impression of a lemming. Even at full throttle it lurches dangerously close to the waves.

Once in the air you can see how the curious view system for the game works. As you climb the perspective changes to give you a view from afar with a greater angle of vision and smaller objects. Dive down and you zoom in to a close up of the action.

It all takes some getting used to, and it's pretty easy to end up diving into the ground. But Wings Of Fury is tough in every respect. It's a game that will last for the right reasons as you grapple to clear a way for the stricken carrier.

You won't find any filled vectors or 3D polygons in Wings Of Fury. Its graphics are neat if unremarkable. In fact much of the game's cuteness stems from the size of the characters and the plane. Try and suppress a small as you dive down and strafe a helpless group of Japanese soldiers you've flushed out if you can. They even scream like munchkins as you hit them. It sounds brutal, but one look at it is enough to tell you that it isn't.

The sound on Wings Of Fury is hardly expansive, but unlike P-47 to which this bears favourable comparison, it has an authentic engine sound and spot effects which add to the atmosphere. The game doesn't require much more and at least there's no duff tune.

If you like your shoot-'em-ups on the cerebral side then this is for you.

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If there are two things Paul Lakin hates it's Americans and hot weather. So for a laugh we enlisted him in the US airforce and sent him to the Pacific. He didn't think it was very funny.

The Americans love all things fat. Fat cigars, fat kids and above all fat aeroplanes. There's a glorious roll call of fat American kids... er... sorry planes. The Thunderbolt, the Mustang, the Wildcat and, fastest of them all, the Brewster Buffalo. One proud member of this podgy squadron was the F6F Hellcat fighter bomber, backbone of the US Pacific effort during World War II.

This World War II work horse is the star of Wings Of Fury, a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up from the Shufflepuck Cafe team. Your base is the USS Wasp, a crippled aircraft carrier limping back to base and very vulnerable to attack. The game contains seven levels ranging from Midshipman to Captain. Each level has a number of sorties in it with both islands and ships as targets. Starting on the deck of your carrier you select either bombs, torpedoes or missiles as your weapon of destruction, make a perfect take-off (hem) and fly to your target.

The game has two viewpoints - one fairly close up showing the plane and landscape in detail, while if you fly at a higher altitude you get a less detailed but wider ranging view. There's also a "What the pilot can see" monitor at the bottom of the screen (So that makes three viewpoints. Ed.) Damn.

The islands are littered with dug-outs, huts, gun emplacements and even small airfields. These must be bombed or missiled out of existence, but there's more to it than that. When a target has been hit the occupants all start legging it to the nearest cover. IF you leave them to their own devices they'll soon return and rebuild the destroyed installation. Now as the old saying goes "A man can't repair an 88mm field gun if he's dead" so a few strafing runs are in order. This requires care as well as aggression or you could find yourself saying hello to a palm tree.

If you think bombs and missiles are for babies, then why not take a torpedo and take out a battleship? Provided that some burger doesn't shoot it from under you while you're still crossing the island of course. Then there's the small matter of fighters to worry about. When these guys are being nice they try o tempt you to fly low over the gun emplacements. When they're in a mean mood they lock onto your tail and do their utmost to blast you out of the sky. Lovely.

Once you've used up your payload and there's no one left to strafe it's time to return to the carrier and re-arm. First though you've got to land. This takes a little getting used to. At first "I think I'll land now" means "I think I'll crash into the side of the carrier now".

As well as worrying about when to release your bombs, how low to fly in your strafing runs and how much more punishment your plane can take, you must also keep an eye on your carrier. Every now and then a Japanese plane will launch a torpedo attack against it. If you can't shoot the plane or shoot the torpedo out of the water before it reaches the carrier, then you're not so much up the creek without a paddle as up the Pacific without an airstrip.

Amiga reviewPaul: At first sight Wings Of Fury is a bog standard, vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. Instantly playable but instantly forgettable too. Ah but first glances are often deceptive. The game has not been off the ZERO computer since it arrived.

To be honest there's nothing particularly new about what's been done in Wings Of Fury. It's the way it's been done that's so impressive. The game is so playable it'll appeal to people not normally interested in flying or shooting.

While it's more a shoot 'em up than a flight sim you do get a genuine feel of flying. The Wings Of Fury graphics are good without being outstanding. They benefit from a keen attention to detail. Bullets actually kick up a trail on the sand or in the sea and destroyed buildings don't just vanish but stay smoldering in the sand. This all adds to the atmosphere as does the sound which includes screams from the little men as you rattle their legs with machine gun bullets. (Morally dodgy but disturbingly addictive).

Wings Of Fury's greatest strength is the range of factors to it. As well as different levels there are different skills to master. At first simply taking off is a bit tricky, then there's landing to master and what about using missiles effectively (i.e. without crashing) or actually winning a dogfight instead of running away all the time. These are just a few of the different challenges the game throws at you.

The lack of variety between levels might affect the game's long term appeal, but its immediate impact is exciting, well executed and unputdownable. Stop

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Domark/Broderbund, C64 £14.99 disk only; Amiga £24.99

The Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbour not only dragged the US into WWII, but also revolutionized sea power. Until then battleships were critical to any navy, but almost all America's were sunk at Pearl by carrier-launched aircraft. The American response was based around its own aircraft carriers and no-one has bothered to build battleships since.

Nowadays Gruman F-14 are the best navy planes, but back in 1944 it was the squat, robust Gruman Hellcat. Six Browning machine guns and a hefty bomb load give it a punch to rival a destroyer's broadside, and you're in the cockpit.

Your carrier is heavily damaged with no Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns or spare pilots.

Nevertheless steaming home will take it through lots of action. The game is divided into missions, where the objective is always the destruction of all nearby enemy forces. The first mission features an island base. You can use rockets or bombs to destroy the barracks and AA guns, forcing Japanese soldiers to come out in the open. If you don't kill them all, they'll take cover in the AA bunkers and start firing at you again. Everyone must be killed to complete the mission. To go onto the next stage, or simply to rearm, refuel and get repairs you need to land on your carrier.

Later missions can have three islands and several ships, including aircraft carriers. After every third mission you're promoted. To sink a ship you must first knock out its AA guns, then make a torpedo run. Of course, the enemy can make torpedo runs against your ship as well. A red arrow warns when an aircraft is attacking: you must either shoot the plane down or destroy the dropped torpedo. Five or six hits sink your carrier, along with any spare planes. There are also enemy fighters, which try to shoot you down.

The game view is the familiar side-on, horizontally scrolling one. However if you climb above a certain height, the scale drops dramatically, showing your plane as a handful of pixels soaring above an entire island. There's also a small 3-D view window in the control panel, especially useful when trying to land on the carrier.

Robin Hogg A great one this, well I would say that being a tad biased towards all things aerial but Fury really is fun. It all smacks of Choplifter with little men running around, except this time you're allowed to blast them! The torpedo runs are good and dogfighting with Zeros is enjoyable (pity I've never shot one down) but it's nothing compared with the thrills of bombing and strafing the Japs. Everyone who played it enjoyed the island attacks most, it's a shame Broderbund didn't make more of them. The plane itself is extremely good with a nice smoke effect when hit. Fury has the playability to make for a great full-price game but lacks variety on the Amiga. At a full ten pounds less, the C64 game is much better value with not too much disk accessing - although to be honest I'm not as keen on this version as everyone else here. The bombs are a little slow and the men are a bit poor - still the explosions are great and it's worth a look.
Stuart Wynne While the gameplay recalls an early Speccy game, the attention to detail and immense playability suggest a coin-op. The Hellcat is beautifully animated, there's an incredible amount of animation frames making for stunning aerial turns. Then there's the way the bombs tumble and how the rockets fall and then ignite their motors. Playability matches visual detail: the control system is a little odd - pressing up causes a stall - but once mastered provides much more control and realism than you'd expect of an arcade game. Dogfighting is frustratingly hard, but ground combat is great, requiring practice to master the different weapons. Strafing is best with sand kicking up, enemy screams and a lethal tree always catching your wingtip. The only drawback is that as the game progresses there's more islands, AA guns and ships but nothing dramatically new. But despite being overpriced, there's a magical playability which makes it worth buying.
C64 disk drive owners, in particular, should take a look at this nicely presented game. Although sound is limited compared to the Amiga's smart samples the plane actually moves faster and the slightly jerky scroll is more acceptable.