reviews\ Nov 10, 2002 at 7:00 pm

Wings Advance - GBA - Review

The turning radius isn’t much to brag about. It has a tendency to stall when climbing too sharply. Landing when shot full of holes is almost a sure one-way trip to the ranks of Killed In Action.

So what makes this so much fun? The challenge, of course.

Wings, a Game Boy Advance program from Metro3D and Cinemaware, is a solid flight sim, featuring challenging game play and terrific graphical elements. was allowed to see an advanced copy of the game, and eagerly climbed into the cockpit of the old World War I biplanes for a little aerial action.

First, there are several ways to play this game. Single-player settings feature a campaign mode on either the Allied or German side. A multiplayer option connects two-to-four GBAs via the GameLink for head-to-head dogfight action.

The control elements are kept very simple. The D-pad controls movement, the A button fires your weapons, B is to change your heads-up display or for a boost, and the L and R buttons allow you to look left or right, or pitch in either direction during bombing runs.

As for mission types include, bombing, strafing and 3D dogfights. There is a booby trap in the campaign scenarios that, if you don’t understand it, can cause some frustration – especially if the console unit is shared. Once you enter a campaign, it is saved. Should you or someone else start a new campaign, the previous one is wiped clean of the machine.

Of course you can create your own pilot, at which time you will have to earn your wings. Each new pilot has skill points that can be distributed in certain areas, like dogfighting.

With everything in place, you head for the first mission – which begins with a briefing. Allied mission No. 1 is to patrol a battle zone over Europe. Yep, it’s going to be a dogfight right off the bat. The German plane heads straight for you, then banks sharply. You need fast reflexes to follow because if that plane gets behind you, your plane will start looking like Swiss cheese.

Keeping the enemy in site is a challenging prospect. Your guns can also jam, and you may be forced to fly hard until they clear. This is a game about the art of flying. Yes, the planes are ungainly, and you will find the mere prospect of tracking an enemy plane tough. This game seemingly has a terrific adaptable AI.

The game graphics are two-dimensional, but use perspective to render a 3D feel. Because there was no such thing as radar, you will need to key off your pilot. He will often look in the direction of the enemy, but if you have lost him, you are in big trouble.

Wings is a solid, well-designed game that most certainly will find a solid niche among GBA users. The game features solid animation, colorful and bright graphics, and great flight dynamics. The biplanes used in WWI were a far cry from the fighters of today, but the combat was more personal. That is actualized very well in this game. You won’t blow apart enemy planes from far away, but need to cozy up to them, and then riddle them with bullets.

This game captures that aspect of aerial combat very well.

Gameplay: 8.4
There are setup screens for each mission. Load times are not all that long, and once in a mission, the action is rapid and enjoyable.

Graphics: 8
The two-dimensional graphics are bright and colorful and the animation is very good. Because of the nature of the combat, and the limitations of the set-up, if you lose track of an enemy, it is hard to locate them again, in spite of the pilot looking in the general direction.

Sound: 7
This is merely average, but solid and offers nice support to the graphical elements.

Difficulty: Medium
Flying is not the difficulty, due to the easy set-up, but combat presents a different problem. This is a reflexive game that is somewhat hampered by the limitations of the console, and the AI is very good, which creates a solid challenge.

Concept: 8.5
The player interface is easy to work through, the setting is terrific and this game does a terrific job of creating the timeline and combat styles.

Multiplayer: N/A
This game will feature multiplayer gaming, but that option was not available at the time of this review.

Overall: 8
While the two-dimensional nature hampers the overall game experience, this is a challenging game that will test game players. The game is designed to be player friendly and delivers on the action end.


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