If you’ve read any other of my flight sim reviews - you may detect a pattern here! Anyway - yet another of my boot sale buys - bought for the princely sum of 50p.
This game - dating from about 1993 was one I’d not heard of - though as it came on a CD-ROM complete with a printed manual it looked to be a good candidate to try and run under DOSBox. Being a completely DOS based game - it was not going to run under Windows XP as standard.
I won’t go into the DOSBox config in detail - but I used a CVS build of 0.63 and made the following changes:
The game would probably have installed under DOSBox - but I ran the installer under Windows XP and then just copied the installed directory into the directory which acts as my virtual C drive when running under DOSBox.
Luckily for me - the game fired up first time and apart from a small amount of sound drop out - it plays very well. There is a choice between normal and tall res screen modes. Normal mode is slightly faster and the improved graphics quality of the tall res one doesn’t really add to the game:
The picture above shows the normal mode and the picture below the same but in tall res. Either way - the resolution is still quite low and one of the hardest problems is distinguishing between friendly and enemy planes before they start shooting at you!
In both cases the ground detail is set quite low to try and improve frame rates.
As usual I’ve only really tried the quick dogfighting options. Whilst you don’t get a lot of upfront choice (apart from which air force to fly for) - the mission is actually quite configurable. For instance - all the highlighted words in the next screen expand into menus allowing a great deal of flexibility. This particularly appeals to me as it the same as used in Dawn Patrol.
Cockpit views are certainly adequate and don’t slow the game down particularly. Its even possible to look around the cockpit and out of the side windows.
By today’s standards - the selection of planes is relatively small - but the game does boast over 20 - including a favourite of mine the Me262.
Out of the box - the game is really quite easy - not least because you are invincible to enemy fire. I also tried making a forced landing whilst invincible - but the game lowers the undercarriage for you! Once the realism is increased it is all too easy to get shot down. I’ve not experimented with proper landings too much - but forced landings don’t seem to be possible and the plane just explodes on contact with the ground.
For a game designed to run on a 4MB 486SX - its really quite impressive. Graphically its not that much better than Spitfire 40 - but the game play is in a different league. Altogether good fun - even now.
Aces Over Europe was produced by Sierra/Dynamic (c)1993. This edition reviewed was the ‘SierraOriginals’ re-release on CD-ROM in 1994.
Review written June 2006