Zzap


Spitfire '40
By Mirrorsoft
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #3

Flight simulation with Battle of Britain combat

Spitfire '40

The advertising blurb leads you to believe that this is the closest you'll ever get to flying the classic Spitfire aeroplane. If this is really what it was like, it's a miracle we won the war.

The flight simulator puts you slap-bang in the middle of the Battle of Britain during World War II. Three modes are presented to you on loading: practice flying, combat flying and proper combat. Practice puts you on the runway giving you the opportunity to take off, fly and land the Spitfire, and generally get the feel of how the aircraft handles.

The two combat modes pit you against the enemy. The combat practice mode will put you in the air directly behind an aircraft which you can shoot down. Once the plane has been shot down, another will appear. This is all very easy and the enemy hardly try to shake you off.

Spitfire '40

True combat mode will start you on the airstrip. You have to take off, seek and destroy the enemy using the map and on-screen details. Once you have shot the intruding plane, return to the airstrip and land safely. If you are successful, you can save your experiences on tape and go out on another interception run.

If you do well you will earn promotion according to your flying experience and the number of kills you achieve. If you do really well, you will rise through the ranks rapidly and with great skill you will gain the coveted position of Group Captain, VC, DSO, DFC.

Unfortunately, the 3D effect of the approaching airfield and the enemy planes is unconvincing. The view from the cockpit is boring and uninspiring, although the instrument panel is a masterpiece - even better than the ones on Dambusters!

Spitfire '40

You can switch to the map screen to help you find the enemy planes, although the map is very poor and is no real guide to where the plane actually is. There are two maps, one of the south of England, the other close up of the area around the airfield. The enemy plane is usually shown on both of these, but it's still very hard to find.

The sound is a reasonable drone, which grows to a horrendous pitch if you over-rev your engine. There are also shooting noises during combat, but little else.

As a flight simulator this is pretty poor. The program updates the external view only about once a second. This does rob the program, making judgement of manoeuvres very difficult. Oversteering is terribly easy to do - in fact, I found it easier to fly looking at the instrument panel than using the horizon.

GP

Spitfire '40

I've certainly seen more gripping flight simulators. The excellently detailed internal view of the plane didn't make up for the jerky and uninteresting external one. The task of searching out and shooting down the duck-like enemy aircraft soon proved rather boring. With more interesting and varied simulators to compete against, I don't think this is one that will take off.

JR

Highly disappointing in my opinion. Although the instruction manual was very good, the actual program gives me absolutely no sense of flying. The instrument panel looks superb, but otherwise the graphics are poor. The ranking system is a good idea but requires a lot of play if you're to get anywhere. Frankly, I doubt most people will be prepared to give it that.

Taking Off And Landing

The controls are mostly from the joystick and the increase/decrease power switches. Taking off is quite easy: use the instrument panel to get the revs to the correct rate. High revs are needed, but once in the air they should be decreased to cruising speed. Landing is quite tricky until mastered. Approach the runway, put down flaps, decrease the throttle and gently drop your altitude.

BW

This flight simulator is unfortunate to come out at a time when Super Huey, Dambusters, and even Glider Pilot are in competition. The flying in this doesn't even match that of the later, and the shmup action isn't much of a consolation. The best thing you can do is watch the marvellous instrument display, which is the only excellent thing about the game. Improve the graphics and flight reaction and you've got an enjoyable program, but otherwise . . . .

Verdict

Presentation 86%
Excellent instructions and game package, plus good in-game options.

Originality 52%
There are plenty of other flight simulators but this has an instrument display.

Graphics 50%
Superb, detailed cockpit but appallingly slow screen update when flying.

Hookability 32%
Not a great deal to grab you besides the cockpit.

Sound 29%
Very ineffective engine and machine gun noises.

Lastability 35%
Less absorbing than many other flight simulators with no long term mission.

Value For Money 33%
There are much better flight simulators than this - even Glider Pilot has faster graphics.

JR

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