This was another game I had seen at my local cash’n’carry - but avoided it as it apparently wasn’t XP compatible and needed more processor power than my old Windows 95 machine had. However I ended up buying it 2nd hand from a local car boot sale so in the end gave it a try.
It didn’t work well on my Windows 95 machine at all - completely refusing to use the Voodoo 2 card under DirectX 8. The game does support software graphics rendering - but this was so slow the game was unplayable. Having nothing to loose - I tried it under XP suprisingly enough it works just fine - well almost and it took me a while to figure out where the incompatibilities lay. The only thing I can find is that the text on the various HUD and onscreen message is very hard to read. This may just be the FX5200 graphics card and if there are any genuine XP issues then I haven’t found them yet.
Its not a bad game either - but unfortunately there is little which makes it stand out from the crowd.
In its favour are good graphics and planes which are quite flyable. It also allows crash and wheels up landings.
What it lacks is flexibility. The outside views are better than some - but not as good as I would like.
By default the external views seem very distant - but this can be cured by changing the following line in the sdemons.ini from:
This is about right for single seat fighters - but if you plan on flying bigger aircraft then pick a slightly higher number.
The most annoying feature is the quick play (“Scramble”) missions. These give no choice on what planes or how many are involved. If you try a few you’ll find some you like - but if you just want to dogfight a Spitfire against a FW190 - then this game is not really set up for you. Also the “Scramble” missions have less than descriptive name and having played one you aren’t given the choice to replay it - but just get another apparently randomly selected one.
There is a patch available (1.5) - well worth having - not least because you then don’t need the CD in the drive. This feature on its own guarantees it has more playtime than the quality of the game itself might justify
The above review was done using the 1.5 patch. I have now investigated Fighter Squadron “Screamin’ Demons over Europe” (more normally referred to as SDOE) on the internet - and have found a lot of new patches. The 2 links below cover these very well and I’m currently experimenting with the 188.8.131.52 edition patched up with most of the standard additions. I haven’t figured everything out yet - but patching certainly looks worth doing. One ‘trick’ I discovered this was to experiment with graphics mode selected in the game. I’m not sure which works the best - but I’ve been able to fix the text corruption problem I was having - and the overall look is much improved on some settings.
A couple of web sites well worth looking at for details of the patches and more are:
As well as patches - there are also much bigger additions which I hope to try soon.
This link below is for a supplement called “The Last Days of the Reich” and adds many planes that might have flown in the war had it continued longer:
This next link is for a supplement that adds WWI planes to the game:
Fighter Squadron - “The Screamin’ Demons over Europe” was originally published by Activision (c)1999-2000. This review relates to the “budget” edition published by Focus Multimedia Ltd.
Reviewed October 2004