Flight-models in WWI flight-sims have advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately the advantages - being able to effortlessly take to the air, perform death-defying aerials, loops, and swoops and then glide in for a ten-point landing - outweigh the disadvantage of being easily picked off by an opposing plane's machine gun. It's the evasive, gymnastic maneuvers you have to pull off in biplane sims (such as the classic Red Baron) that add a new, visceral dimension to an otherwise dull simulation. Empire Interactive's latest WWI flying game, Flying Corps, treats you to all the gut-wrenching, dizzying excitement of participating in an air-battle over France circa the 1910s, putting you behind the controls of a variety of historical aircraft that made their mark in WWI.
The designers at Rowan have been hitting their history books. For players who are sticklers for accuracy, most of the physical idiosyncrasies of the original planes have been included in Flying Corps' flight models. For example, the infamous Sopwith Camel was said to have a tendency to tilt slightly to the right while performing certain maneuvers. Subtle details like this, as well as others particular to some of the other flight models, were not overlooked by the game's designers.
Everything from elemental physics to flight-model realism is included. But what is really exciting about the game is the fact that your CPU comrades and foes are autonomous. Many times you will fly up to a battle that is already in progress, cheering your far-off compatriots who successfully gun down or bomb the enemy, lamenting those who are struck down right before your eyes. You don't want to go turning just anybody's plane to splinters in this game: If you're not close enough to identify an aircraft, you may be attacking one of your friends.
Graphically, Flying Corps is topnotch. Every element, from the colorful aircraft fuselages to the rolling French countryside below, is texture-mapped to achieve the highest realism. And when you run the game under DOS, the frame rate is more than satisfactory.
Though Empire Interactive took the time to painstakingly outline the specs for each plane, because of the nature of the flight-models you're dealing with, this game has more of an arcade feel than most sims out there. But when it comes down to it, the simplicity is what makes Flying Corps so fun. There's nothing like the feeling of performing a daredevil roll to escape a trailing attacker only to swing around and begin taking his wings off. It's that kind of absorbing action that makes Flying Corps a satisfying gaming experience. If you enjoy the simplicity of WWI flight-sims such as Red Baron, you will certainly find Flying Corps satisfying - every stomach-turning, death-defying minute of it.