Flight Unlimited III
Looking at the review of the original in April '95, it's great to see that, at first glance, Looking Glass have worked on the basis that if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. Back then, we got all excited about great graphics, superb flight models and the sort of atmosphere you just didn't get in flight sims. Sadly, there was also the small matter of the huge processor power and disk space needed to run the sim properly. The recommended spec was a P90 with 16Mb and 120Mb of free hard disk space.
Well, brace yourself - Right Unlimited 3 comes on three CDs and, if you go for a full install, will eat up nearly 3Gb of disk space. We reviewed it on a PII/400 with 128Mb and a Voodoo 3/3000 AGP card. That's not cutting-edge spec, I agree, but it's pretty damn quick. When things were happening, we were getting unflyably slow frame rates until we cranked the detail levels down. We're talking about a machine which barely comes above entry spec for running this sim properly.
The Real Thing
There are no difficulty settings in FUIII. You have a choice of realistic flight or loading something else. And by 'realistic flight', we do mean realistic. It includes everything that made its illustrious predecessor so good -proper wind effects, propeller wash, nasty turbulence and so on. There are more aircraft than before, including the glider from the previous version of the game (although, sadly, the glider is now motor-assisted, so you don't get to try the real challenge of a tow launch), plus the unusual opportunity to fly a floatplane. And because of the extra features offered by PCs these days, you get full force feedback support, proper weather (lightning, rain and snow, the lot) and some really groovy cloud and sun effects. I'm sorry I just said 'groovy', but when you fly it you'll see what I mean. It's really a very good sim.
True, there's no shooting, but that doesn't have to be an issue. I find MS Right Simulator M, but Flight Unlimited III has far more to da For a start, the ground looks like ground; trees and buildings look sort of integrated - unlike FS98, where they look stuck on. There's radio chatter going on in the background, and if you're carrying passengers or an instructor, they talk to you.
In short, FUIII has atmosphere in a way that MS Combat Flight Sim can't even dream of. In one of the pre-set challenges, you even get to track Bigfoot - and you can see him, too, if you get it right. (At least I think I did.) And just for good measure, you can use the radio, set up navigation aids, and do all the things you have to do in FS98. But it still remains a laugh. This sim will stay loaded well after your copy of FS98 has been sold off at a car boot sale.
This Is It
FUIII is very, very good. If you're a pilot, or a budding pilot, or if you simply want to fly around without having to shoot at stuff (weird!) then this is the sim for you. No ifs, buts or anything elses. Unless, of course, you're stuck with a PC which is slower than mine. In which case, upgrade first, or you'll be disappointed.
Processor: PC compatible, P-100
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
Flight Unlimited III Screenshots
- Air Warrior 3
- B-17 Flying Fortress: The Mighty 8th
- F-22 Lightning 3
- Fighter Pilot
- Flanker 2.0
- Flight Unlimited
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000
- Microsoft Flight Simulator 98
- Red Baron 2
- Su-27 Flanker