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. GameZone.com 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.