First, a sort of apology, I previewed A-10 Cuba last ish and at one point said "the playing areas are a tad on the smallish side". Doh! In retrospect I was talking a complete load of arse: the playing areas are in fact massive. Still, you'll have discovered this for yourself if you've checked out this month's cover disk.
Actually, I'm going to assume you have checked out the cover disk, so if you're reading this on the bus - like on the way home from the shops or something -can I ask that you skip these two pages and come back once you've done the biz? Please? It'll make much more sense if you do, and then you can agree/disagree with what I'm saying, and get all annoyed if you think I'm spouting bollocks and so on. Yes? Ta. The rest of you follow me...
A question of detail
I played A-W on the office P166 (and, briefly, on Jeremy's P133) with all the detail and distance settings set to max. The result was as smooth as a baby's bottom. How did f things fare on your system? Were the settings you chose acceptable? I hope they were. If, however, they weren't, all I can say is this: upgrade, upgrade, for God's sake upgrade. I may as well add that if A-20 didn't function properly on your machine, then I doubt that any recent flight sim would... and I don't mean to sound obnoxious here, and I'm truly sorry if you're skint and have outstanding red leccy bills or court fines and what have you. Hmm. Okay, okay, I feel guilty now - look, I'll lend you the money for a P120. Just send an SAE to the Zone address and I'll return it with a cheque. (Yeah, right. - Ed.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, you've played a bit of A-10 Cuba, and you'll pretty much know where it's coming from. So all I can do is tell you where I think it's coming from and you can sit there nodding (or perhaps shaking) your head. Okay?
Right. A-10 Cuba is like a breath of fresh air. It's almost like discovering the flight sim for the very first time. Sod all your rotatey bitmaps and stretched pixelscape texture bending: here we have perfection in polygons, and the longer you play the bloody thing the more perfect it becomes... until it's so unbelievably brilliant that you enter a weird 'mind-loop' and your head goes all squiffy. Mine has. Has yours? If it hasn't, then you haven't played the game properly. Go back i and have another go. I'm right and you're wrong, it's as simple as that.
And I'm not even willing to enter into debate about it. A-10 Cuba, as far as I'm concerned, is one of the best flight sims I've ever played. Indeed it might even be the best flight sim I've ever played. Consider the facts...
(1) After playing it for the whole weekend, I intended to leave the office and head home at about iopm Sunday evening But no. I couldn't stop playing this game. I even dragged Moses (one of the Dennis publishing security guards) downstairs, to show him how unbelievably skill it all was. He concurred. He now wants to buy a pc.
(2) If I'd left the office when I intended to I could have got a tube home, which would cost a quid. But I carried on until 1 am, fully aware that I'd have to pay six quid for a cab instead. I didn't care.
(3) It's now 1.55AM and I've finally made it home: as I write these words there's an ou programme blaring away on the telly, and it appears to be about how to walk up a hill in Scotland without dying. Not that I could care less, of course, as my mind is elsewhere...
(4) 'The best sense of altitude in any game ever - bar none.' That's one of the little notes I made on a piece of paper earlier, while flying at 16,000 feet. I'm reading it back now, and I still agree. We've all stared out of a plane's window while flying to Tenerife or wherever. We all know what 33,000 feet looks like -and in A-10 Cuba it looks like double what I was looking at when I wrote the note. Look, just trust my maths, okay?
(5) Little cars and trucks move about in towns and around airfields. You can attack them. You can even taxi along roads and 'overtake' them. I used to set up this kind of stuff in Stunt Island. Brilliant, brilliant.
(6) While on the subject of taxiing, we hit the age-old problem of not being able to stray off the runway without exploding. Or, rather, we don't. The program takes all the variable velocity/terrain equations and does remarkable maths. You bounce, you get bogged down, you can even skid. And more, and more. So much more...
(7) I spotted a road going into a tunnel. "Can I get in there too?" I wondered. Bugger me sideways, I could! And okay, so I emerged the other end with a busted wing, and crashed over the edge of a hairpin bend into oblivion, but hey! Fantastic!
(8) Fire extinguishers for your engines! Continue to fly with a bit of your tail section blown away (tricky but possible)! Crash land and survive (even on the side of a hill), due to being 'clever with flaps and throttle'. On and on. The rewards fly at you thick and fast: satisfaction isn't based on just earning medals.
More room please...
I'd sell my soul to the devil for a bit more space here, because I could go on for another 19 pages. Alright, so there's a teensy bit of'pop-up' occasionally. And yes, the sun looks extremely silly. Oh, and maybe it'd have been nicer if the planes you shoot down didn't suddenly 'disappear' so unconvincingly. But these are moot points: A-10 Cuba is so bloody enjoyable that it's... er, sort of, crm, well, like making an excellent spaceship out of Lego when you were nine. (Or something.)
And, to lay my cards on the table, I haven't really got that far into any of the 12 missions yet: I keep getting distracted. You know the kind of thing I mean: "I wonder what happens if I do this, do that, do the other?" And that, for me, is the mark of a superior game -you're given a realistic world and you do with it what you want. Then (and only then) do you feel like digging deeper, following the rules and suchlike... by which time you're ready to enjoy the challenges rather than feel dictated to. (If you're of a more regimented mind, of course, you don't have to piss about at all; just read the manual, do the missions, earn medals. You sad git.)
If you've the networking facilities, the four-player option is a hoot - with a handful of imaginative scenarios (one of which is in outer space... asteroids with runways). I'll end with a bum note, though, and it's this: DirectX. I personally don't even understand what DirectX is, but I do know that (a) it's down to Bill Gates in some way, and that (b) it stopped A-10 Cuba working on my machine at home, apparently due to a sound or graphics card incompatibility. (Which is why I was in the office until one o'clock, rather than here at home writing this; and why I had to fork out six quid on a cab.) Still, what do you care?
Download A-10 Cuba
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Yo, whussup. Snoop Doggy Dogg in th' house. I'm here to tell y'all about A-10 Cuba, the flight sim game, you know what I'm sayin? It's tha real deal,
homes, you hear? It's like bitchin' an' shit. You climb into this big jackass aeroplane and you're like boom! Up in tha air, flying all over th' place and swoopin' all over an' shit. Dope.
But you all don't need be listenin' to me busting yo' ears on this damn thing, you need be playin' this shit, you know what I'm sayin? Yo, jus' install this here demo on your hard drive an' shit. See it with your own eyes. Yo, I'm outta here. Stay real.
A-10 Cuba Screenshots and Media
- Air Strike II: Gulf Thunder
- Apache AH-64 Air Assault
- Battle of Europe
- Comanche 4
- IL-2 Sturmovik
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles