This is a flight simulation game, intermixed with abilities of a shooter style. It is set in the World War II era. Published by City Interactive it is a sequel to Combat Wings. In this version , Battle of Britain, you are the newest pilot to the squadron tasked to defend England from the onslaught of the German Luftwaffe. I personally had a lot of fun with this game. You start off learning the basics of the interface with flight, firing, and dropping munitions. But do not get too cozy because you are quickly tasked with a lot of short missions.
They made some drastic improvements with respect to the head up display and gauges from its predecessor Combat Wings. Instead of the view from the cockpit, you view the plane from 3rd person. Your altimeter, speed, gun status, and aircraft integrity gauges are located at the bottom, well out of the way of what you need to do to succeed.
The interface is really easy to get use to, even if you have never played this style of game before. You use the mouse to track the flight and the usual keyboard interface of movement, W,S etc. The missions are a lot of fun and had me hooked for a few hours. You start out in a Hawker Hurricane and soon upgrade to a Spitfire. There are other innovative crafts of the era you get to fly as well. After the 5th mission there is a sort of monotony that sets in, and they do slightly get more difficult as the game progresses.
Also you are tracked on a killboard and promoted in rank as well as achieve medals such as the Distinguished Flying Cross. Another fun point of the game is once you have trained on different craft you have the option of flying them on missions. If you do not upgrade and continue to fly trainee planes your mates will tease you about it too. You can customize your plane with different decal setting as well. I have a thing for pin-ups so I would choose the largest one I could.
Game sound and music is reminiscent of any battle or heroic style of game. Sounds do vary between the different aircraft you choose, so to give you the feel that you are operating a different aircraft. Also in battle you sometimes get cross-talk on the radios from your enemy which given the technology at the time is a very real probability of hearing them. Although, the phrases repeated often to where it became annoying and I just wanted to shoot at them more. They heckle you and call you “Tommy”, as your team calls them “Jerry”.
Combat Wings: Battle of Britain does offer a multiplayer mode where it can be setup on a LAN or across the net. You can set it for “deathmatch” or “team deathmatch”, the constraints being a time limit or frags, and number of players. Twenty frags or twenty minutes and ten players were the maximum setting for a server. A bonus here is you can actually play the Germans or the British, the Germans offering a Messerschmitt to contest the abilities of the Spitfire or Hawker Hurricane.
I considered this a low end game with not a lot of bells and whistles and apparently developed on a relatively low budget. It can run on a system as low as Windows 98 on at least a Pentium III with 256MB of RAM and only 700MB available on a hard drive.
As long as it is cheap and if you want to get someone an easy fun game who just does not have the computing power or know how, then this game is perfect. If you see it on the way out of the store at a bargain price, you will get your money’s worth. Also included on the game DVD is the original Combat Wings and World War II Pacific Heroes. I personally would not pay premium price for this bundle but for a bargain I would. As for replay value, I see it as questionable based on the nostalgia of the player. If you are a history buff as myself then yes I would replay this once beaten, but nothing I would commit to my PC for extended periods of time.
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