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Reviewed: Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: November 23rd 2000
Page: 2

Crimson Skies is set in an alternate reality: the year is 1935, and the United States of America no longer exists. Instead, the component states -- New York, Hawaii, Hollywood, Texas, etc. have all formed into their own nations. The railway and road systems were destroyed, so almost all international commerce is accomplished with zeppelins (that's blimps). That's where you come in. Just like with naval travel, there are pirates. These pirates make money hijacking shipments and selling them off, and occasionally taking on other pirate gangs in squabbles over loot. And now, the most important part of the story.

You get to play as the pirates.

The thing that made Tie Fighter, sometimes considered the best of the Star Wars games, is back. There's just something so fun about being the bad guys -- even if, on the side of things, you're more of a middle ground between the REALLY nasty, evil groups like the Black Hats and the hired security forces like Blake Aviation. The plotline of the game takes you all over the map, from Hawaii to New York, chasing old enemies, romancing an old girlfriend, and generally making a nuisance of yourself.

Hawaii -- what a gorgeous place.

A sunken treasure ship in a lagoon.

A beautiful waterfall, and your 
zeppelin -- the Pandora.

The first combat theater is Hawaii, and it's FUN. The location is breathtaking, and still looks great even if you're skimming the ground. This theater involves taking on the British repeatedly -- you've found an old sunken ship that was carrying gold and decided to take it (smart move). The British show up, as does a rival gang called the Medusas. Both try to kick you out of the islands, to take the gold themselves. After repeatedly thrashing your enemies, you're rewarded with a cool $10,000 -- enough to build your own plane.

Docking is easy.
Seems the British are up to something.
Your ship in dock -- protect her!

The rest of the theaters are equally challenging, not to mention fun. Particularly great are Hollywood and New York: in one, you get to rescue a starlet, steal the Spruce Goose, and fly a really crazy obstacle course -- only training, though for the REAL challenge: an obstacle challenge trying to follow a New York Cabbie. The controls of the game are up to it, but it's still an incredibly intense feeling to finally make it through any of those crazy courses.

Major airfield and a rescue to be made.
Am I nuts or just 
crazy, trying this stunt?
Steady, steady... a little more to the left...

A secondary treat in the game is building planes: pick your chassis, engine, guns (I recommend twin .70-cal's), how many missiles, and then customize the paint job including nose, tail, and wing decals. Make it good as you're going to have to look at this thing, most likely. The game allows 3 visual modes: a 3rd person "behind the tail" view, a 1st person view, and the 1st person view with a cockpit overlay holding the various indicators and instruments. Of the three, only the 3rd person mode is any good for stunt flying, as the other two make it nearly impossible to get a good idea of how much space the plane takes up in relation to the obstacle you're flying through.

Go To: [ Previous | Next | Home ] - Control/Interface, Graphics, and Sound
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Added:  Saturday, February 10, 2001
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Score:
Page: 2/5

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