Title Red Baron (Second Review) Game Type Flight Simulator Players 1 Compatibility All Amigas (WHDLoad patch available) HD Installable Yes Company Dynamix Submission Seppo Typpö (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review I remember buying this simulation when it appeared on Amiga back in 1992. Hailed by the PC press as the best flight sim ever, I expected no less from the Amiga version. To my shock and horror, it ran like a snail on my trusty A500. So I tossed the game into a closet, cursed my lost money and continued playing MicroProse's "Knights Of The Sky" which ran nice and fast on the 7.14 MHz 68000. Now thanks to JFF's excellent WHDLoad patch I am able to retrieve Red Baron from the closet and play it on my 50 MHz 68060 machine, and it feels like a whole new game. Red Baron was one of the first games which demanded more horsepower from the Amiga. Like Dynamix's other flight sim (A-10 Tank Killer) it really benefits from faster processors (68030 or higher). On the 060 (with the WHDLoad patch) you can set the high detail and 'expert' flight model and enjoy the bigger dogfights with several aircrafts from both sides as they should, with hardly any noticeable judder in the frame rate. The presentation in the Red Baron is quite excellent. 32-colour graphics are clear and detailed, the aircrafts especially look wonderful at close range. The sound has nice stereo effects - you can for example hear the engines and cannons of the other aircraft when they are close enough. The sim is highly configurable - practically every aspect of the mission can be altered and the realism menu offers some nice options like carburetor freezes at high altitude or pilot blackouts due to lack of oxygen. There are plenty of different mission on offer - single missions vary from historical to fictional ones, dogfights against famous aces are available as are missions against specific targets (like hunting down the mighty Zeppelins). The central focus of the sim is the career mode where the player can enlist on either side (British or German) and progress through the war, trying to survive while endeavouring to collect the decorations and promotions on offer. There's a multitude of fighter planes (scouts) on offer - in single missions these are freely selectable. In career mode a fighter is assigned to the player, but after reaching higher than the rank of captain it is possible to choose a personal fighter from available models and even paint it your preferred colour. Each plane has a distict characteristics - for example the Sopwith Camel is notoriously difficult to control while the famous Fokker Dr 1 offers tremendous climbing ability. It is up to the player to adapt his flying style to the machine he uses and also to take note of the behaviour of the enemy planes - in dogfights you have to know the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent in order to defeat him. For example, on one occasion I was challenged by Werner Voss. I met his Fokker Dr 1 with my Spad 7, which is quite a durable machine but has a horrible turning rate. I was unable to shake the more agile Fokker in close combat so my only choice was trying to use speed - dive and attack Voss, and use the high speed to break and return for another attack. I still lost the dogfight in the end but received a valuable lesson - never challenge the Dr 1 with the Spad 7. Now the Spad 13 I got later was a much better bet, fast and agile, and easier to control than the Camel. A shame Voss never challenged me again... Playing the career mode and surviving the war is extremely difficult, especially in the early phases of the war where the fighter models were quite poor and they were easily destroyed. The AI of the computer pilots did not help either - while in general they behave intelligently they sometimes have a bad habit of crashing into the player's plane. They also have a nasty tendency of ganging up against the human player, especially when you get a personal aircraft and are easily recognisable in your flight group. There are many ways to end the missions. The best one is to successfully complete it, but partial success is also nice. Failing the mission but returning to your home base is acceptable, but one can also end up in the hospital or prison camp. The worst option is to die, either from your wounds or by crashing into the ground. The game designers thoughtfully included an option to backup the pilot career to prevent frustration - it is very easy to die on a mission even if you try to do everything right - even the best aces cannot evade the kamikaze computer pilots on some missions, the odds are so heavily against the player it takes a miracle to survive the onslaught. The game has some strange quirks which sometimes show up during missions. For example, if you manage to complete the mission you will always return safely to your home airfield. It does not matter if you are mortally wounded, have just lost your engine, ran out of fuel or whatever - if the mission is complete and you choose 'return to base' from the menu that appears, all these problems are instantly erased and you are teleported safely back home. In one particular dogfight mission I was shot down early in the battle and was forced to make an emergency landing behind enemy lines. All I had to do was to sit in the plane and wait for the mission to end and hey presto - I was safely transported back to my home base and could continue my career as if nothing had happened. In conclusion, for those Amiga players who have invested in accelerators and extra memory Red Baron is a highly configurable and beautifully presented flight sim which offers addictive gameplay. Dogfight fans especially are in for a treat since very few Amiga sims can offer equally challenging close air combat. The wide choice of planes and opportunity to choose which side to fight greatly enhance the sim's lastability. Some people might complain about the missing two-player mode, but even with its faults Red Baron belongs to the highly exclusive 'Aces of Amiga Flight Sims' club.