Title Wings (Second Review) Game Type General Action Players 1 Compatibility All Amigas (With WHDload Patch) HD Installable Yes (With Patch) Company Cinemaware/Mirrorsoft Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review Of all the efforts to produce an interactive movie on the Amiga, Cinemaware came closest to finding the 'holy grail'. Games like "Rocket Ranger" and "It Came From The Desert" mixed arcade action and movie-like sequences with considerable excellence but it was their final Amiga game "Wings" where all the pieces of the perfect formula finally found their places. Wings puts the player into the hotseat of a World War I fighter plane. The main goal of the game is to play through the massive campaign (over 230 missions) and survive the war, preferably with as many decorations and promotions as possible. The missions are loosely linked to your war diary which details the people in the player's squadron and the happenings of the war. The presentation is top notch (this is a Cinemaware game after all) so both graphics and sound are first rate, and special mention goes to the absolutely fabulous soundtrack this game possesses. Missions are divided into three categories - dogfight, strafing and bombing. The latter two are quite simple 2D games more akin to a shoot'em up than a flight sim - still, they offer some enjoyment between the dogfight missions, which are undoubtedly the 'real meat' of the game. In these missions the player sits in the cockpit of the fighter (or 'scout') with a unique 'backseat viewpoint' (more about this later). Real flight physics are called into the game, which means the player has to worry about things like losing airspeed (and altitude) in tight turns, stalling and so on. While not being completely heavyweight stuff, the flight model can hold its own when compared to those found in rival Amiga WW1 flight sims like Red Baron (Dynamix) and Knights of The Sky (MicroProse). So, surviving the war is the name of the game and it is not an easy task. One cannot die on strafing nor bombing missions, but on dogfight missions everything is possible. Crashing after a mid-air collision is probably the most common reason for an untimely exit from this world, but there are also the enemy pilots to worry about. Wings features massive dogfights where over a dozen aircrafts can engage in the same battle. There is one particularly blood-stopping mission which starts with a view of enemy planes filling the whole horizon - the next moment the sky was filled with bullets and smoking aircraft, and death was everywhere. Surviving such a skirmish took not only skill but also luck, and in most cases, luck had left town.. As mentioned earlier, the player's viewpoint in dogfights is from the backseat - just behind the pilot's head. This unique feature is actually useful in many ways - the way the pilot's head follows the closest enemy acts as a sort of radar which means a player can use it to find the enemy. It also works as a warning signal - if you follow an enemy plane and notice the head suddenly turning you know there is another enemy plane closing on you - and you have the chance to take the necessary action to evade (or attack) the new threat. In big dogfights with several enemy planes this feature is invaluable - it is quite easy to lock your attention on one enemy plane for too long a time only to be roasted by another one that has sneaked on to your six while you were busy wasting your 'primary'target. With the campaign and its missions Wings offer little new over the other WW1 flight sims - what makes it unique is rhe cinematic feeling offered by the war diary. Player actually gets to know pretty much everyone on his (her) squadron - the commanding officer, cook, priest, pilots, even the squadron pet. During the war various things happens to these people and animals, tying the player emotionally to those characters near him. The war diary contains many twists and surprises, some happy some sad, to keep player on his (her) toes. There are several things which make Wings a classic (and one of the best Amiga games ever) but one of the finest things I found about Wings is how it can cunningly play with the player's feelings. When starting the career as a WW1 pilot, I was quite saddened to see how the other more experienced pilots snatched the easy victories from me. But as time in the game moved on, my emotions changed - if you are attacked by a dozen enemy planes you suddenly appreciated every wingmen you had, and I really began to mourn the loss of experienced fellow pilots. By the end of the war, I noticed that it was I who not only snatched the victories from greenhorns, but also acted as 'mother hen' to these inexperienced youngsters. The final mission and the final confrontation made me feel quite sad, really only because I knew my flying days were over. Wings is one of those few games which you feel compelled to play again even after completing it. It offers a perfect mix of arcade action, flight simulation and movie-like presentation - and all this on two floppy disks. One can only imagine what an extended CDROM version of the game would be like but even in its current form it offers some of the greatest drama on the Amiga theatre near you.