Title Coala (Second Review) Game Type Flight Sim Players 1 ompany Empire Compatibility AGA Submission Richard Byrne Review Coala is a helecopter flight sim, like most others it puts you in command of a gunship and presents you with a number of missions, each with a different emphasis on the type of unit that you may encounter. You can choose your gunship, armament, map, time of day and scenario. Empire was given this game when it was mostly complete and left it much alone, but they really should have added a more rigid structure to the missions. You see in Coala you choose your start point (choose an eastern `copter, start on their base) as opposed to actually fixing an allegence, and are free to chose your side by shooting down whoever you want to be against first. Many reviewers at the time said that this made the game seem somewhat `thin`, and after a few days of consideration, I`d say that I agree. The game itself is nice, with no bugs that I can remember, all the (4) `copters have slight differences either in handling or speed. Weapons choice is made by selecting one of three preset configs, each with a certain kind of target in mind, but I find that the 16 Kedge/Hellfire one can be used for almost anything. In the battlefield there are an equal number of east and western forces, which set about each other with or without you untill one side's combatant units are eradicated. It was while watching the game play itself out using the F5 key to cycle the unit view, that I noticed the games biggest fault. The units of one side have an exact equivalent on the other, however although all the point values remain the same I can`t help but notice that the AI blatantly favours the west, making the game somewhat easier if you side with them. Other irritating parts include no collision detection between computer controlled units, missiles which just decide to miss despite a straight shot and a good lock, SAMs which cannot be decoyed, enemies with infinite fuel and shots, and poor shooting/targetting AI which will have two tanks try to shoot each other through a building till something intervenes, dogfights which consist entirely of planes flying continually in a circle trying to get behind each other (remember these are generally equal so they just lock into a pattern same as the tanks) and choosing the nearest target (ALWAYS a transport)as opposed to the nearest threat or important unit). There is also the UN, civs and ambulances to worry about in some missions, shooting them, or friendlies, will see you immediately on your own and an enemy to everyone. This means certain death as you are a target to all, and you have no base to get fixed or resupplied at. Graphically Coala is fast and functional, using textureless polygons for the units and most of the scenery, but it all moves smoothly on qulte a low spec machine, and tends to work well on exotic systems too. Worth mentioning is the view pan/zoom function of the RMB, used mostly to look around in the cockpit and aim your guns without changing the fight of the helecopter. The cockpit itself is all functioning lights, dials, guages and radar, although without texturing or labeling they will take a while to learn - I quite like the sparse minimal clutter approach. The sound is much as the graphics - nothing special, but a cut above the necessary. Quite where to rate Coala depends on what you expect or want/want from a game. If you`re after a GS2k style sim (I didn`t like it) then don`t bother, but if, like me, you would use it for a short term bit-better-than arcade distraction then get hold of a copy - there's plenty of missions (about 30 IIRC) and then you can throw any combination of units together using the custom scenaro generator.