Unlike many of the other games featured on this site - Knights of the Sky was not one of my boot sales finds. Instead I actually paid the princely sum of £22.99 in 1992 which is when this game was released on the Atari ST. I think I would go as far to say it was the 1st proper flight simulator I owned.
I ought also to mention that the game was also available on the PC and Amiga and that the PC version was probably available from 1990.
I actually bought it the same time as ‘Their Finest Hour’ but whereas that hardly got played at all - I actually broke a joystick by playing Knights of the Sky too much!
I no longer have any Atari kit - but thanks to Steem (an Atari STE emulator for the PC) I can still play this game.
There is a campaign mode (World War 1 - which I’m not going to cover until I’ve played it a bit more) and a specific option to fly against an enemy ace - but most of the time I play it in the flight training mode. This still has a quick combat style option.
There are about 20 planes to choose from - though quite honestly the flight model seems pretty much the same for them all.
Also in the quick play modes you get to choose your airfield - and also if you have selected ‘Dogfight Encounters’ - which of 16 German aces to fly against. Curiously enough - even if you select a German plane you get to fly against German aces.
Cockpit graphics are good - and quite representative of the actual planes. Despite the low resolution - the gauges are useful too.
Outside the cockpit - this is truly a polygon based flight sim which was very novel for the time. The models are very simple - especially the polygon based smoke.
One thing I particularly like about this game is that your plane really feels part of a simulated world - not least because of the outside views.
Despite this the flight models are uninspiring and whilst the manual covers combat tactics quite well - I tend to end up in constantly turning dogfights. More complex manoeuvres are apparently possible - but it is very easy to stall.
The damage model is very simple and your plane can survive lots of damage - though performance degrades convincingly. Enemy planes usually have to be hit 2 or 3 times and then they fall smoking from the sky.
There are ground targets as well and you can carry bombs for bombing raids.
You do get an end of mission summary - though its nothing to write home about. Having said that many more modern games don’t provide anything more.
As well as a set of 3.5” floppies - the box comes with a decent manual (obviously written for the PC edition), an Atari ST key card, an Atari ST Technical Supplement, a map of the Flanders Front and a warranty registration card.
Knights of the Sky is (c)1990 by Microprose. The version reviewed is the boxed Atari ST edition published in 1992.
Reviewed January 2008