Air Warrior 2
Airwarrior 2, As You'll Have cleverly worked out from its suffix, is a sequel. I managed to work that one out myself, too, while sitting in the office watching Marcus from Interactive Magic desperately trying to locate and download a necessary file which would allow the slightly unfinished game to actually function.
Ah, there it is, he said. A few mouse clicks later and the intro sequence began. Watch this, he said. It's good. I know, I replied, I saw it last night, at home. Oh, I thought you couldn't get it working. I explained that I'd had no problems with the intro sequence, or indeed with any of the numerous options screens, but only with the game itself. It locked up? It most certainly did, I told him. It wasn't a big deal or anything, let me quickly add for the record, as this sort of stuff always happens with early beta versions. The point was, though, that at this point in time I had no idea at all as to what Airwarrior H's in-game bits looked like.
Having witnessed the intro sequence for a second time, I watched Marcus zap through the options screens. Ah! I knew them well by now. They were like old friends. Or enemies, actually, seeing as how I'd been through them myself, a squillion times before.
Look, this is a nice touch, said Marcus, clicking gaily on the little sheep icon. I know, I said, as it went Cbaaaaa' and the credits box popped up. Let's do a mission then, said Marcus. Hooray! One thing though, he said. What? Not all the aircraft interiors have been finished yet. In the final build they'll all be accurately mapped against their real life counterparts, but at the moment it's all a bit generic.
Adding that the Spitfire was one that had been completed, he clicked on a Spitfire mission and we were finally away. Yippee! Cue the loading screen, and massive expectation on my part.
But then the monitor was filled with a moving picture which, obviously, looks like the in-game screenshots on these pages. Yikes! Know what I mean? I think I just said Um... Or words to that effect, anyway. Ignoring the cockpit bitmaps, I was focusing solely on the outside polygon world, and wept inwardly as a result.
What do you think? said Marcus. Um, er, wha... wha... what's the difference between this and the prequel? I asked. The graphics in the last one were shit, he replied. You can imagine what I was thinking.
Slowly brought up to speed..
Oh, I thought you knew, said Marcus, a little later. No, I didn't realise. So this isn't, strictly speaking, a one-player game? No. Er, yes. Well, it is and it isn't. You can play it on your own if you like, and it's a good idea to do so to get the hang of the different planes, but the meat of Airwarrior II is the fact that you can join in a mass battle. What, like... a war? Precisely. How many people? Sixteen on a network or something? No, no per arena, on-line.
Aaah! The penny had finally dropped. With the central Airwarrior server needing to pass ordnance and debris information between no different homes in different countries yet still keep the frame rates up, I semiunderstood why the ground detail was, er crap. The flight models are superb, said Marcus, handing me the joystick. Go on, have a go.
I instantly put the Spitfire into a stalling spin. It's not a jet, you know, he said. Smartarse.
Better and better...
Marcus stuck Airwarrior II into Multiplay Mode (you need to be on aol or CompuServe) and... well, what can I say? How about Cwow'? The barren ground didn't matter a jot now: you could see where it was and that's all you needed. Meanwhile, a plane, just a pixel at present, was approaching, head on.
Can I shoot him? No, you'd better not, said Marcus, he's on your side.
I still wanted to shoot him, but had to delay going into my Cshoot the bastards down!' mode as Marcus explained how seriously the blokes who use this system take things: the rules are that if you shoot at (and hit) someone on your own side (even if it's by accident) you get dumped by the server and can't log on again for 24 hours.
Sad bastards. Still, eh? And you can send messages to one another a la Quake. And the closure rates are cool... the plane Marcus wouldn't let me shoot down grew alarmingly in size over about three seconds and then - woosh -was behind. Oh for a padlock view. Oh for a 110-plane dogfight.
And on and on...
As well as the wwu scenario, there's also going to be a First World War one (that'll be a hoot), and the Korean war too (with MiGS and Sabres). Also, and bizarrely, you can opt for control of a ground vehicle. Tank anyone? Hang around near runways taking potshots at the planes trying to land? Then there's the jeep, and the Flakpanzer. Quite why anyone would go for Cthe truck' I can't say, but there's nowt so queer as folk, so I daresay somebody will. Oh, and did I mention that several people can actually crew one aircraft? Like the Flying Fortress, for example? Navigator? Co-pilot? Bombadier? Rear gunner? In fact, I think that I'll leave you with a line from the game's README.TXT file... (11) The lower gunner killed on landing bug has been corrected. Ho, ho!
Download Air Warrior 2
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode