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MS-CFS [old review found]

 
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:19 am     Post subject: MS-CFS [old review found] Reply with quote

A review I wrote some time ago for a defunct French AW site, Thought I could post those ol'things here.

Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator

*********************************
System requirements:
CPU minimal P 266 Mhz
W95/W98/WME/WNT/W2000 /XP
W95/W98 minimal 32 Mb ram.
CD drive 4*
DX sound card
Super Vga (minimal 800*600, 16 bit color)
Mouse, keyboard, joystick, gamepad, supports force feedback.
Multiplayer minimal 28.8 modem or broadband, LAN support.
**********************************

I was never tempted to try out the MS 98 flight simulator, looks nice, but hell, no guns, no dogfights, not a game for me.
The MS combat flight simulator, that's another thing, as soon as I could I bought it. And never regret it.
The story is known, it's WWII, and you are supposed to fly, training missions, Battle of Brittain, D-Day, stuff enough. You can fly as RAF, USAAF or Luftwaffe. Dogfights, ground attacks, defend London or attack London, full single player or multiplayer.

As may expected from a MS product the install runs flawless, you get a choice between typical or custom install, best take the custom install and put everything on your harddisk, runs smoother.
The settings panel allows you to costumise every key on your keyboard, and there are some keys, plenty. A good working joystick is almost a must on this flightsimulator.
You also can determine the realisme setting of the game, better don't begin on a high setting, start on a lower setting for the training missions and work your way up to higher realisme once you learned the neccesary plane handling.

The AI of the opponents is good, don't suppose you can go in and do some brainless slaughter, I won't go so far to say that the AI is exceptional.
Is this a realistic flight simulator ? No idea, I have never flew a Spitfire or a P-51D, neither a FW190 or a Messerschmitt, and I never will. It is of no matter to me if it's a realistic flight simulator, it's a game. And if I start it up it's to have a good gaming experience, have a good time and enjoy it. If the game is too easy, it's getting boring. If the game is too hard, it's getting irritating. The CFS is a game who isn't too easy nor too hard, you can adjust the level in the settings, give your enemies the neccesary experience level, from rookies to aces, and the ingame hardness of the fights varies according.

The graphics are really good, certainly in 1998 when it was released, and still looks good owerdays. Every newer PC can handle the graphics on the highest settings. Even if the ground detail isn't very high, it's not disturbing as you are supposed to be airborn the whole time. The cockpits are highly detailled, the several gauges legible. If you want better graphics take a look at CFS2 or CFS3, the newer ones from MS. The debris and smoke when you hit on an enemy are detailled. The damage you gonna get in fight isn't very detailled, some holes in your windscreen, smoke coming out of your engine. You realise you are in trouble when your engine begins to stutter, making disturbing grinding noises, and when the needle of your oil temperature gauge is trying to go over the limit, time to jump and hopefully your parachute will open.
Some cut scenes are nice, but you soon will hit <ESC> to shut them down.

The sounds are pretty good in this game, the difference between machinegun and cannon is pronounced, every plane engine has it own sound. Flaps and landing gear sounds are distinct. Ground control radio traffic is worthless and more irritating, luckely you can shut that off. When you take hits you will hear the hammering on your fuselage, not a very assuring noise .

Let's take a look at the gameplay.
You will have to learn take-off and landing, in the campaigns you start on the ground. Only after the take-off you can use the 'jump to action' key who brings you directly on the hot spot. You can crash during take-off, so learn the procedure. Not that hard anyway. Being airborn, directly retract the landing gear, the game will bring you on the hotspot the same as you were when you use the jump key, flaps out? landing gear down? you all find it back, and it's not a good idea to go in a dogfight with your landing gear down.
Getting a good aim on your adversary with the realism settings set up high and the enemie skill as veteran or ace will demand that you have some extend training done.

There are two main campaigns, Battle of Brittain and Battle over Europe, you can fligh for both sides, Allies or Axis. All the planes have their own behaviour, the most nervous is the Spitfire,it's also the most vulnerable. The P-51(mustang) is probably the most reliable one. Attacking the bombers demands some tactics, they are biting back, and biting back hard. Certainly if you fly an Axis fighter and have to take a B-17G ( flying fortress ) down, those carries a lot of machineguns firing at all angles. Trying to hit one of those with rockets is almost suicide, you need to closing in at short range, and the unguided rockets are difficult to aim right. Also the allies bombers have escorts, they watch over them as sheepdogs and defends them.
Two or more B-17's usually covers eachother, get trapped in their crossfire and your plane gonna get perforated. That was in fact a real problem in airwar, your armement isn't any better compared to the enemies armement, your .50's have the same range, your cannons even a shorter range, this problem was existing on both sides. If you have the enemy in range, they has you also in range, shit. No wonder the casualty percentage was so high. Ground attack isn't so easy, flying low, get the targets in your aim and keep them there while being under fire, or get on a bomb run, diving into enemy fire, sometimes on a moving target. Takes some experience to accomplish.

Besides the campaigns you can do some free flight, it's selfexplaining, you can sharpen your skills and do some areal acrobatics there.
Another gamemode is the quick action, with all possible settings, choose your side, plane, airfield, weather, opponents, whatever you can set in this mode. And go in, you are airborn in this gamemode, fly as long as you can, stay alive and shoot some foe's. The adversary is respawning here, if you set the enemie number as 3 planes, after shooting down those 3 planes, and if you are still alive, 3 new ones will respawn. This is one of the best methodes to sharpen your skills, learn how to approach bombers, what approach angle is the less selfdestructive, varies on the different bomber types.
Use also the quick action to sharpen your ground attack skills, several missons are ground attack types, certainly in the battle of Europ campaign. Hitting a moving locomotive isn't that easy, and they are usualy defended by AA guns mounted on flat-wagons. Learn to find your target, lock it and hit it with the guns/cannons, or dive-bomb them.

I think you get the picture by now, this is a huge game, several campaigns, single missions, a never ending quick action, free flight.
And it's not all, all sceneries and planes from MS Flight Simulator 98 are compatible with this game. You can import them all and use them, even if I don't see the real use arming an Airbus with guns and bombs, it is possible and fun for a short while. Still now there are thousands of files downloadable free on the internet, many websites are dedicated to this Combat Flight Simulator. Even if the spot on those sites is more and more leaning towards CFS2 and CFS3 the first CFS is still fully supported by those. You can really find everything to make this game as new, there are also full new campaigns for free, the Pacific theatre of war to name one, all kinds of extra WWII planes with full new artworks and cockpits.
That makes the replayability of this game high, certainly the fact that it runs steady on a XP PC (sometimes with W98 compability).

And what about the multiplayer ? Haven't say much t'll now for that. There is a reason, the cheats, you can cheat in multiplayer, lock your adversary and use the auto-follow mode, you can't loose. This cheat is active in multiplay and you can't shut it down, it spoils this whole game on internet multiplayer. That is a real shame, as far as I know there is never been released a patch that deals with this major flaw. CFS2 and CFS3 don't have this flaw. So in fact the only enjoyable multiplay is on LAN, where you meet your own friends, and can trust eachother. On LAN the COOP is really great, also if you divide yourselves into 2 groups and fight eachother, or one group defends the bombers, the other attacks them, simply great. CFS is one of the rare games I can enjoy in multiplay without COOP, dogfighting a friend is grandiose., certainly if your skills match up, take time, you will need it.

All by all this is a good game, neat graphics, great replayability, good single player and good LAN multiplayer. Still much support on different websites.

My personal quote is A
It doesn't get A+ because of the multiplayer cheat who stays active.

====================
Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios.
Developer : Microsoft Game Studios.
Platform : W95/W98/WME/WNT/W2K/WXP.
Released: 1998.
====================

Yeah, they bite back


My personal favorite fighter, the P-51D, mustang.


Whoopsy


P-47D Curtiss in action


Close encounter with a B-17G Flying Fortress


The Flying Fortress has a bad attitude, shit, I'm going down


Back on the Allies side then


Looping , some free flight training


Messerschmitt Bf-109 in action


Mission briefing


That P-47D Curtiss will get away


Argh, caught in crossfire, no escape, they gonna perforate me


Focke Wulf FW-190 firing rockets


This B-17G is mine, all machineguns and cannons covering him


Single missions at your choice, Allies or Axis side


Strafe on an Allied airfield, staying low and hitting on a bomber


One of the most frustrating targets to catch : V1's


You will see this picture many times
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