B-17 Flying Fortress has the distinction of being the only game of its kind. While there are scores of other sims allowing us to fly nimble fighter aircraft, B-17 Flying Fortress gives us the chance to fly one of the most famous bombers of World War II, the B-17 Flying Fortress, famous for its stamina, strength, and fortitude.
Microprose gives us the opportunity not only to fly this legendary beast, but to take part in other tasks, such as bombing, navigating, and gunnery. B-17 Flying Fortress gives you the opportunity to manage and control the whole crew of the B-17 Flying Fortress. This might seem a bit daunting to the usual flight sim enthusiast, who only has to worry about himself and his plane. There's no need to worry, however, because the game can handle itself quite nicely while you're not directly in control of any one station. Let's look at this in detail, shall we?
B-17 Flying Fortress models ten stations for your use, including the bombardier, navigator, engineer, radio operator, both pilots, and four gunners. This allows you to intervene personally when you think that your more experienced hand is needed. The game begins with you selecting your bomber's name and nose art, which are both quite important. Once those are selected, it's off to your first mission, which is described for you in the briefing.
In typical Microprose style, the mission briefings are presented in a virtual briefing room with a picture of your commander giving them to you. You might notice that, each time you begin a game, the missions might be a bit different. This is because the missions are randomly generated with each game, ensuring tons of replayability. Once you've read your briefing, it's off to the plane.
When you first get to your plane, you're greeted with the crew management screen. This gives you a cut-away layout of your bomber with each crew member in his station. It is from here that all of your crew management takes place, hence the name of the screen. You can jump to any of the ten positions from here, and you can move personnel around to cover for others who have been injured.
A word of warning: If you move a crew member away from a position, such as the top turret, you won't be able to access that station until it is manned again. The manual details your first mission and helps you through it in a tutorial. The manual, overall, is excellent, with great writing and lots of informative stuff.
The missions, of course, are where you'll spend the bulk of your time in the game. B-17 Flying Fortress challenges you to fly through a full twenty-five sortie campaign, which is what the actual bomber flyers from World War II had to go through. The missions start off simply but get harder and harder as the campaign goes on.
The final missions (supposing you're lucky/good enough to make it that far) take you right into the center of the German heartland, Berlin. These missions are some of the most tense and tough missions I've ever flown, with tons of flak, as well as several enemy aircraft, tying to prevent you from succeeding. It's the level of detail and fun Microprose put into these missions that make them a blast.
The graphics and sound effects for this game aren't too bad, given the time frame. Polygons and sprites rule the day, as this game was made when 3D acceleration was a pipe dream, at best. The game does have enough graphical and aural charm to lure one in, though, and the great game play will keep players there throughout their campaign, assuming they survive.
Overall, for being what most would consider a dry subject compared to its fighter cousins, this reviewer would have to say that B-17 Flying Fortress does exactly what it sets out to do. It gives us a detailed bomber simulation with enough spice, tension, and fun to keep us playing for a long time to come.
If you have any interest at all in this subject, or maybe you liked the movie Memphis Belle, then you'd be doing yourself a favor by finding a copy of this game.
Graphics: Great graphics for its day really draw the player into the period.
Sound: Decent music and sound effects.
Enjoyment: If air combat is your thing, this game is a refreshing change from the norm.
Replay Value: Each twenty-five sortie campaign is different.
B-17 Flying Fortress is a simulation of the legendary heavy bomber of World War II.
After customizing one's bomber with nose art and a name, one of several randomly assigned bombing missions into Germany must be flown. The game not only features actual flight simulation, but also crew management. Each of the 10 crew members has ratings for categories like piloting, bombing and gunnery. During a mission, crew members can be reassigned to other posts if needed because of injuries. Each position including the pilot seat, the guns and the bombing sight can of course also be controlled by the player.
A historically accurate number of 25 missions must be flown and survived to complete a tour of duty.
People who downloaded B-17 Flying Fortress have also downloaded:
B-17 Gunner: Air War Over Germany, Aces over Europe, Aces of The Pacific, Command Aces of The Deep, ATF: Advanced Tactical Fighters, Armored Fist, Aces of The Deep, Battle of Britain (from TalonSoft)
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