> Dreamcast is making one dream after another come true for me. One
of the most difficult genres to make successfully is the Flight/Sim.
It's taken a long time for Aero Dancing/AeroWings (AW) to come home and
it was worth the wait. Many times I have dreamed about a game where
you play the part of a precision demonstration pilot. Now, thanks
to CRI, Crave and Sega, AW is here. There are no differences between
the domestic and import versions other than the language.
> This game has a lot to do so I'll just explain briefly. First,
it shows you step by step how to perform all the aerobatic maneuvers that
Blue Impulse (a Japanese flight demonstration team) performs. You
are expected to learn and perform them. Second, you can compete in
a Pilot Wings type mode where you must fly through targets in a timely
manner in order to earn enough points to advance. Finally, you can
just fly around and hone your skills in the Free Flight mode. Oh,
and there's an FMV demo of Buggy
Heat (Japanese version) and Tokyo
Xtreme Racer (US version).
> [Japan Import] The game is a cinch to play, especially if you know the
basics of flight. All the menus, game screens and some voices are
in English. The briefings, which explain the maneuvers, are in Japanese
and feature an animated presentation as well. Overall, it's entirely
playable and gets a high importability rating.
> All the planes, scenery and backgrounds are constructed of beautifully
detailed, smooth animating polygons which provides the 3D realism you'll
experience. The various locales include a Base, Sunset, Monument,
Cloudy Sky, City, Island, Valley and Night City. Each locale features
3D terrain as well. Another great feature is the sense of speed,
which is convincing at all altitudes.
> The scenery throughout is a pleasure to see and includes mountains, beaches,
bridges, buildings, runways and clouds. Special effects abound in
AW too. You'll see lens flares, smoke trails, light reflections off
cockpits, animated clouds, wing vortices, ocean waves, blackout, redout
and raging waterfalls.
> There are a ton of different views to enjoy which range from cockpit
to formation to fly by. The HUD has three modes: full, partial and
off -- all of which can used with any view. The various aircraft
(at least 11) actually have cockpits and exterior markings which look like
the real thing! What can I say... There's nothing like climbing through
the transparent cloud layers at supersonic speeds and watching the sun
appear above the cloud deck! AW is smooth, fast and gorgeous!
> This is the most important part of a Flight/Sim and CRI has done a marvelous
job. Even though you have control over many aircraft functions, the
game remains easy to control yet difficult to master. And don't worry,
the control is definitely slanted towards realism instead of arcade.
Here are the controls: flight stick, rudder, flaps, air/ground brakes,
landing gear, view change, throttle and smoke toggle.
> You have complete freedom of flight and hitting objects does destroy
your aircraft (unless you're training). About the only thing that
seemed off to me was the ease of which the redouts and blackouts occur.
Anyway, you'll be happy to know that the difficulty of the various aerobatic
maneuvers is emulated nicely. However, they're not as difficult as
they are in real life (thank God).
> Most of the music can be described as a combination of fast paced techno
beat and orchestral melodies. A couple of songs can become annoying
because they're repetitive. But overall, the music is great.
> The sound effects are decent. Mainly, you'll hear screeching tires,
jet engines, explosions, water splashing and gear retracting. Voice
and warning cues are included as well. Could have been better though.
> Amazing. This game will never get old for me. There are so
many things to do and you have to earn the aircraft since there's only
one available to begin with. You get Replays, Save Replays, Briefing
Videos, Training Mode, Blue Impulse Missions, Sky Missions, Multi Play
and Free Flight!!! A pilot's dream becomes reality.
If you're into flight simulation, then look no further. If you like
to dog fight, then get Airforce
Delta. There is no shooting, just gorgeous graphics, realistic
control and plenty to do, learn, and master. If you've ever wondered
how much talent it takes to become a Blue Angel or Thunderbird, then you'll
experience some of what it takes with Aero Dancing/AeroWings.
9.2 | Graphics: 9.0 | Control: 9.4 | Sound: 9.0 | Fun: 9.5