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Showing posts with label Flight Simulator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flight Simulator. Show all posts

A Quick Look At Iron Aces

War is hell. So said General William Tecumseh Sherman way back in 1864, apparently. War was undoubtedly about as close to hell as human beings could get going way back to pre-history and antiquity, and still happens to be so in the modern day. With this in mind, the last major worldwide conflict was World War II, and this is the theatre which acts as a backdrop to the Dreamcast's only dogfighting, dive-bombing, kamikaze-preventing flight sim: Iron Aces. Sort of.
See, Iron Aces from Xicat is very much a game that is set during the height of the 20th century's most deadly conflict, but also one which takes place on a fictitious archipelago made up of islands which bear striking resemblances to Great Britain, Germany, the United States and Japan. These are the main belligerents featured in Iron Aces, but the names of the countries have been doctored somewhat, even if the geographic shapes of the islands haven't. So, Great Britain becomes Trincer, the United States is Valiant, Japan is Yamato and Germany is Blocken. This is initially quite puzzling - especially since the actual countries involved in WWII are name checked constantly, and the Royal Air Force constantly referred to; however, the slightly fantastical setting undoubtedly gave developer Marionette the freedom to create missions and scenarios which, in reality, did not take place.
With this in mind though, there are numerous instances where real life events are clearly the inspiration for mission types and objectives, so the puzzlement remains intact. Anyway, I'm jumping the gun a bit. Join us as we take a quick look at one of the Dreamcast's hidden gems in the form of a true Battle of Britain simulator - Iron Aces.
The Dreamcast isn't short of decent flight sims and flight-based arcade shooters. There are the outstanding Aero Dancing/AeroWings titles if realism is your bag; and likewise there are games like Propeller Arena, Incoming and Air Force Delta available if you prefer more arcade-styled aerial thrills. Iron Aces however, sits slap bang in the middle of these two styles. It really isn't a simulator and it has a couple of mechanics that prevent it being classed as an all out arcade experience, and so it's pretty fair to class it as both a sim and an arcade shooter at the same time. And also one that takes a few liberties when it comes to historical accuracy. Don't let that put you off though, as to write Iron Aces off due to its slightly fabricated pseudo-WWII setting would be doing it a disservice.

A Beginner's Guide To Aero Dancing & AeroWings

Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height! Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring...Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear - oh, let's go fly a kite!

So sang the patriarchal Mr Banks in Walt Disney's 1964 classic horror Mary Poppins. And, oh how we flew our kites and wore the shit out of our pinstripe suits while we did so (I for one can't wait for the upcoming sequel, which reportedly features a dubstep remix). But let's be honest - while kites are fun, they aren't a patch on F-15 Aggressor fighter jets; and happily, the Dreamcast has those in abundance. Yes, the Dreamcast is a console that wasn't left wanting when it came to flight games, both of the simulation and arcade varieties. Indeed, some of the first games I ever played on Sega's final console involved two-winged harbingers of death - namely the Japanese releases of Incoming and Air Force Delta.
Alongside those two, others came: Toy Commander featured some aerial combat missions, while Iron Aces/Imperial No Taka - Fighter of Zero was a pseudo World War II flight sim, complete with a totally fictional theatre loosely based on the events of 1939 - 1945. Later, Propellor Arena promised pure arcade dogfighting thrills before being cancelled - allegedly - due to the horrific events of 9/11, although it's available online if you know where to look. The one series that really grabbed the genre by its horns though, was undoubtedly CRI's Aero Dancing franchise. A series that began primarily as a skill-based jaunt through the clouds as an aerial acrobatics pilot; but which ended with players earning their wings as full blown combat pilots, engaging in aerial dogfights, taking out warships and destroying ground units with well placed missiles and bombs. Quite the turnaround, no?
Join us as we dissect this intriguing and well regarded series of flight sims, and take a look at the dedicated hardware released for the Aero Dancing games; as well as the individual entries in this rich and engaging franchise. Dig our your flight suit, don your helmet and strap in as we get ready to engage in some Aero Dancing at supersonic speeds...