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Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020

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I remember picking this up at the time of release. It deserved every poor review it got when it hit the shelves. It truly was an unplayable mess, due to MS rushing Zipper to get it finished & out the door. (typical behavior for them) After patching though... WOW. Nothing like it on the PC at the time, or since really. Not a typical flight sim, but an inventive, exceedingly fun atmospheric I remember picking this up at the time of release. It deserved every poor review it got when it hit the shelves. It truly was an unplayable mess, due to MS rushing Zipper to get it finished & out the door. (typical behavior for them) After patching though... WOW. Nothing like it on the PC at the time, or since really. Not a typical flight sim, but an inventive, exceedingly fun atmospheric alternate-history arcade flying game. Unlike most other PC flying and racing games, Crimson Skies had a story thrown in. This is usually the cornball out-of-place sort of thing you find on consoles (Midnight Club for example), and it could have really dragged the game down. Thankfully it was well done, fit the theme perfectly and actually made the game better than it would have otherwise been. In addition to the engaging story mode, there are a considerable number of fully customizeable instant action missions. In these, you can choose your plane, number of wingmen and their planes, number of enemies, their planes and pilot expertise, weapon loadouts and the environment in which the mission takes place. There's also an online component, which is free, as any proper game should be. It's fun, but there are only a handful of die-hard people still playing these days. Graphics were fantastic at the time, and are still nice today due to crisp high resolutions. Smoke effects in particular are nice, and flying through clouds still hasn't been done better visually. The planes are interestingly designed and have moving control surfaces. One cool touch: when your plane has taken enough damage from enemy fire that it is about to explode, your pilot opens the canopy, climbs out onto the wing and jumps off with a parachute. Many of the environments are much more detailed than your run-of-the-mill flight sim, with various buildings and structures to fly around/through. It's fun to simply fly around, low to the ground, checking out all the cool destructible stuff, which can include automobiles driving around city streets. The textures, water textures in particular, don't hold up well compared to today's games of course. The terrain is slightly more angular/low-poly as well. However, looking at what was available on consoles at the time, and even a few years afterward, the visuals and details were downright amazing. The sound is masterfully done, with authentic sounding 40's era music, professional voice acting and perfect sound effects. Control with a proper joystick is excellent. This is one of the best games ever released for the PC. Once patched, it's really difficult to imagine how it could have been improved upon. My only lament is that the sequel isn't available on PC.… Expand

I remember picking this up at the time of release. It deserved every poor review it got when it hit