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After exploring different time periods such as World War II with Pacific Strike and the future with the Wing Commander series, Origin has released a new title which takes place during World War I. "Wings of Glory" uses the latest improvements which were added to the previous engine of Strike Commander to fully exploit the power of the 32-bit processors. As a result of this, speed and gameplay have been greatly enhanced and it makes the game one of the best flight simulators ever designed by Origin.
It is a tradition for Origin to reward the player with an animated introduction to set up the mood of what the game is like. The introduction begins like an old black & white movie that gradually changes to full color. This time around, the animation was rather short, but since it is better to have an excellent game with a quick introduction than the opposite, I will not complain.
The main menu offers you several options as usual. You can start a new game, continue from where your last mission started, restore a previously saved game, create your own mission or simply view the 3D objects of the simulation. The object viewer displays the airplanes and other three- dimensional objects used in Wings of Glory. It gives you the opportunity to take a closer look at the planes as you can rotate the objects as you wish and set the viewing distance.
The mission generator will help you to design a mission that matches your skills. Different missions are available: Air Combat, Bombing Run, Gauntlet and Random. Gauntlet allows you to fight against waves of aces and provides you with unlimited ammunition. In this generator, you can select the type of your enemies's planes, their number, their skill level, your altitude, etc... to create your personal mission.
The last option in the main menu is the flight recorder that enables you to view the tape of a mission you recorded earlier, with the possibility of changing the speed up to four times.
In Wings of Glory, you can pilot five different airplanes: the Sopwith Pup, the Sopwith Camel, the S.E.5a, the Fokker Dr. I and the SPAD XIII. They are faithfully reproduced in the game with a high level of detail that is rarely achieved in other simulations. The game offers ten different camera views during the flight and one of them, like the Overhead view, is quite unusual and gives the player a view from above the airplane. There is also an option to give you a better view that basically eliminates the cockpit by just pressing a single key.
What impresses me in Wings of Glory is the quality of the graphics. Pacific Strike and Strike Commander had nice introductions with cinematic sequences, but the graphics during the game were not as good as one would expect from Origin. In Wings of Glory, both ground and in-air details are of very good quality and when you are approaching a zeppelin with your plane, you really get the feeling that you are in the plane instead of sitting in front of your computer screen. The sounds are also contributing to the realism of the simulation with 4 channel digital sounds that recreate all the sounds a pilot experiences during a combat.
Of course, don't expect your plane to be as maneuverable as a modern aircraft and you might hit the ground earlier than expected. The gameplay is fine with the possibility to customize the level of detail and plenty other parameters that will change the speed of the game. On a Pentium 60, with full details selected, it runs fine and there is no need to go faster, but a 386 user might want to reduce the details to adjust the speed.
Wings of Glory is an excellent game with astonishing graphics and sounds that deserve a place in your software library!
Electronic Arts (UK) Ltd., GRAPHICS ------------------ 88% 90 Heron Drive, Langley, SOUND ------------------ 87% Berkshire, SL3 8XP, England. MUSIC ------------------ 91% Tel: +44-(0)753-549442 GAMEPLAY ------------------ 89% INTEREST -------------------91% Electronic Arts Inc., 1450 Fashion Island Blvd., OVERALL ------------------- 89% San Mateo, CA 94404-2064. Tel: 415-571-7171
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