Combat Flight Simulator 3
Some time ago I received a reviewcopy of Combat Flight Simulator 3. The System Requirements the box mentioned were: a 400 Mhz CPU, 128 Mb ram and a 16Mb/3D video card, so I tried playing the game with my 1 Ghz machine, 512 MB Ram and a ATI Radeon 32 Mb thinking it would go as smooth as ice-cream on a hot, tanned, Californian surf babes’ chest. Getting a little drifted away here … Anyway, when I first tried to start up the game I got the message the game didn’t support my graphics card and that I needed ‘a graphics card with 3D support’. What the hell? My cheap but trusty Radeon had never let me down before! But after some cursing and searching on the Microsoft support sites I removed my latest ATI drivers and reinstalled the drivers provided by Windows XP and finally the game started up.
Unfortunately, the quality of the graphics was rather poor and it wasn’t easy at all trying to fly one of those planes without a joystick. But rescue was on its way! I found a new job and had some spare cash to buy me a brand new GeForce 4 TI4200 128 Mb graphics card and a Sidewinder Force Feedback joystick. Not quite the requirements they had put on the box but now the graphics were much better and the game played without any lag.
Ok, I told you something about the system requirement, but what about the storyline?
The game is situated in the year 1943, at the time that World War II is raging in Europe. You are a fighter pilot who has to help his country win this war. You can do this by flying campaigns or single missions. There are several types of missions: you’re able to choose between dog-fights, escorts, bombing missions and more. It’s also possible to play over a LAN or over the Internet. It’s in multiplayer mode that you can choose to play against each other but also to cooperate with others against an enemy.
When you are ready to start a mission, you can fly as a German, British, or American pilot and of course, each country has a range of airplanes you can fly with. A neat feature is that you can give your ‘bird’ a personal paint job!
Actually, the game is full of options, too much to mention them all in this small little review. You’ll have to check them out yourselves.
Flying the plane is something different. Although this is a flight combat game, it’s also a very realistic flight sim. I don’t have a lot of experience with flight simulators or real life airplanes and the first couple of times I tried to fly a mission it didn’t take me long to crash my plane. But thank heavens there’s a manual provided along with the game. However, you won’t find this manual in the booklet but you’ll have to print it out yourself as it’s stored on the cd-rom in pdf format. The manual has a lot of content: besides explaining how a 60 year old airplane works, you’ll also find advice on combat manoeuvers in this manual so, unless you have Messerschmitt or Thunderbolt in your own backyard, I think it could be useful to read this manual before you start shooting those bloody Yankees out of our European sky.
I already told you that a good 3D card is necessary for some decent graphics. The graphics are very detailed, and also very realistic so if you are high up in the sky everything down there looks the same, if you go down, everything gets larger and more clear. The same goes for the sound. Don’t expect too impressive sound effects, everything in this game is as realistic as it gets. You hear your engine roaring, your bombs falling and your gun shooting and the enemy planes only when they start getting too close.
In conclusion: this game is stacked with details and features but it takes a lot of time and practice for a newbie pilot to get the hang of it. This really is a game for both flight sim fans as those freaks that get their kicks out of realistic war games. If you are looking for quick action and just want to shoot as many Americans (or Germans) as possible, I don’t think this is your game.