WarBirds Free Download
There Are Basically Two Sorts Of World War II flight sim. One is all about action - getting up there, sticking it to the enemy and returning to the soft soil of Blighty. The other goes after realism: accurate physics, historical flight models, and tactical, manoeuvre-based dogfights. On-line flight sim WarBirds fits into the latter category and it can be a bewildering experience.
Proceed with caution
Novice players should try playing off-line before connecting. There are two good reasons. Firstly, it'll help you get used to the graphics, which could be described as pretty as Coventry, ie, bollock ugly. Once you've escaped the feeling that time has warped back to the days before Gouraud shading and texture mapping, you can get used to the flight controls. Quite frankly, the planes fly like bastards. Unresponsive one minute, then viciously power diving the next, they're a real handful. When I first started playing on-line all I could do was run headfirst into buildings, or take off AND then spin-dive into the ground from a meagre height of 200ft. Neither made for satisfactory gameplay. The help file revealed that my joystick wasn't buggered; I simply wasn't countering the effects of Torque, and I was advised to fly a P38 twin-engine craft from the large selection. I did so, entered the practice arena, and made my first take-off.
The flight didn't last long. Within seconds some bastard noticed I was in need of practice, and proceeded to give me lessons in taking off under fire. Over the next 20 minutes my helpful friends in the practice arena gave me plenty more lessons. I practised taking off. I practised hammering the eject button. I practised trying to ram other craft on the runway in a desperate attempt to get a kill...
Up and at 'em
Having had enough practice I decided to join the most highly populated battle arena, aiding my unwitting red teammates against the evil green and purple forces. There is a certain camaraderie about, judging by the conversations going on between my fellow players. They covered each other's tails, they commented on daring manoeuvres, they commiserated, congratulated and occasionally bickered. Myself, I felt like a character in a World War II flying corps mOvie; the guy who's just mentioned his oncoming leave to marry his childhood sweetheart just before the squadron takes off, the guy who's marked for doom. I tried my best to find combat, and became the first victim every time. Getting satisfaction from WarBirds takes time and practice, and it's hard to practise when all the air combat experience you get is on the receiving end of someone's machine gun.
It's a bit hard
I did get better, but not much. If you're a dyed in the wool propeller head who's already notched up cumulative weeks of flying time on the more realistic WWII simulators, WarBirds presents a challenging and rewarding interactive world, albeit not a very attractive one. Like Deathmatch Quake or on-line Diablo, it gives back whatever you put in. For most of us, however, there's not enough there for the beginner to encourage you to develop your skills.
Strangely, getting on-line was one of the easiest things in the game. If your ISP uses a 32-bit Winsock, you can connect up directly. You simply run the WarBirds set-up menu, enter your account name and password, then set it up to run under Network or PPP/SLIP. As I'm all fitted up with the latest 32-bit dial-up-what-have-you, I just connected up to my ISP and then ran the WarBirds Online program. Some ISPs might not use a 32-bit Winsock (Pipex, for instance, use 16-bit in their own software), in which case you'll have to follow the manual's instructions and start the game using dial-up networking.
Hopefully, you won't have to face the wait I then encountered while WarBirds upgraded my version to the latest release on-line. I was informed that this would take "over ten minutes". It did; around 30 to be precise. Internet play always costs - but before you start playing?
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
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